3May

Marni

Just next door to Maison Martin Margiela on Via Spiga is Marni. For Salone del Mobile, a collection of 100 chairs were made by Colombian ex-prisoners. Common chair shapes of armchairs, sunlounges & rockers were used: painted, woven & covered in multi-coloured PVC string (the same material French bistro chairs are made with). The project is in collaboration with creative, Francesco Jodice and the sale of the chairs raises monies for ICAM, Milan. Check out the Marni website for details.

2May

The Golden Horn: a quick history

I spent the afternoon on The Golden Horn, the body of water that stretches between Asia & Europe and provides access to The Black Sea. In ancient times, access was limited by a giant chain that stretched between the two lands, deterring undesirables from entering.

It became known as The Golden Horn when Zeus transformed his young pregnant lover Lo, into a white heifer to protect her from the wrath of his furious wife, Hera. Lo gave birth to daughter, Ceroessa on the banks of The Golden Horn, who was then reared into womanhood by water sprite, Semestra. Ceroessa hooked up with Poseidon, god of the seas, and had a baby boy, Byzas. He was raised by spring fairy, Bysias. Byzas became the founder of the Byzantium.

Who doesn’t love a story about gods, fairies, sprites & nymphs! And a little adultery for spice. Although the lands that edge The Golden Horn are no longer grassy hills perfect for grazing, they do show off some spectacular housing, perched precariously on its edge.

2May

Arrows

In my latest book, Bowerbird (due for release October 2012) I have moved on from the classic pointing hand as an indicator. I am now all about the arrows, the hand drawn arrow. We researched it extensively and here are some of my favourites, as well as other people who are lovers of the arrow.

Scout’s Honor Co.

Giles & Brother

As a youngster, I would go on holidays to Kangaroo Valley with my family. My favourite activity was archery with the leather arm guard, wooden bow, bulls eye target & of course, the feathered arrows. If you have not yet seen the latest Louis Vuitton windows in every country, try & check them out. Here is a peek of what fun to expect.

29Apr

Tomfoolery & Hooligans

I have been researching Sydney in the early part of the century. I have always been naturally fascinated by Australian history (I have a history degree from Sydney University) and this goes in hand with researching the area for a bar I have been co-designing with the talented Kelvin Ho of Akin Creative.

The bar is located in a brick vaulted basement that would have been constructed around the 1850s. On a visit to the Caroline Simpson Library to see librarians, Michael & Matt, I was shown Henry Percy Dove’s ‘Plans of Sydney’ which revealed the businesses, workshops, housing & building that existed at the time. Oyster saloons, taverns, yards, tinkers, smiths, merchants & traders, lawyers, surveyors, milliners and other old fashioned trades are listed & sited.

I have written about Mr G Rice before, but another shop on Pitt St, called Mrs Palmer & co., taxidermist & furrier holds just as much curios.

I have named this new bar, Palmer & co. and lined its walls with photographs of the small time crooks, petty thieves & peoples of interest found at the Police & Justice Museum (often very well dressed & quite good looking):

Pickpockets, confidence tricksters, peeping toms, midnight rovers, rogues, vagabonds, professional shape-shifters, fly-by-merchants, fraudster, hooligans, brawlers, cardsharpers, ruffians & troublemakers.

If this is as fascinating to you as it is to me, the below have provided me endless enjoyment and information:

Crooks Like Us by Peter Doyle – an archive of mug shots from the Justice & Police Museum outlining all the mischief the crooks got up to.

Small Trades by Irving Penn – a book of portraits by the amazing Irving Penn, capturing people who practice small trades. This book is beautiful.

Caroline Simpson Library – it is so resource rich I know that CSL will have something for me irrelevant of whether I’m hunting for seaweed albums for my next book, Bowerbird or pictures of Mrs Palmer’s husband.

Macleay Museum – I cannot count the number of hours I have spent here wandering and inspecting whatever is on show. This is where I found a tag, attached to a taxidermied animal foot inscribed with ‘Mrs Palmer & co’ and what started my knowledge hunt.

29Apr

Rope

A favourite product of mine. I never tire of rope in any of its incarnations. I was pleased to see others feel the same. You can often see my stamp through the entanglement of rope hanging through beams and holding up mirrors, in my shop or commercial interiors, props swing through the space, ships sail from the bannisters and you may even come across a couch hanging mid-air.

Although it is by no means a new fad, with the likes of The Ace installation in Palm Springs and the range by Christien Meindertsma for Thomas Eyck, it still rocks my world.

These are some new rope-y products hitting the scene ready to make your pirate ship or lighthouse keepers quarters all the more authentic! Some of my favs are: Missoni lights & rug, Christine Rackel ‘big bond’ rope light,  Tafarkitektkontor version of a fishermans float and Lindsey Adelman’s knotty bubble.

26Apr

Beach Shack

I planned a southbound roadtrip to scour the vintage & junk shop I had spotted down the south coast from Sydney. A nice combination of work & fun! I took the scenic turnoff from the highway toward Stanwell park which revealed some naïve ships in a bottle & other bits & bobs. Although not packed with shops, the road & scenery are easy on the eye and a stop at the Berry sourdough bakery off the main road for a lunch break (or coffee) is a must. The other main stops are Ulladulla & Milton with a highlight at Turnball Bros.

After a hard day of driving & shopping, the reward at the end was my very good friends beach shack to stay at for the night. His thriving fruit & vegetable patch rewarded us with tomatoes, basil, parsley, figs, passionfruit, cucumber and peppers.

The shack is the perfect combo of casual laid back sand-on-your-feet attitude, and sink-yourself-into lounges, put-your-feet-up furniture, pull-the-indoors-out style. Wicker, linen, oversized knits, shells, stripe-y terry towelling, coir, cane, painted wood and easy sweep wooden floors made for the most enjoyable stay- Thanks JH.

Look out  for my nautical fish-y props at The Fish Shop & Amateur Fishing Club at 22 Challis Ave Potts Point.