On my last trip to Japan, I had in my possession a book ‘Old Japan’ by Diane Durston, which lead me to stay at the homes of traditional merchants and craftspeople, or machiya, as they are named. A love of Japanese tradition and architecture lead Alex Kerr, one of the three partners of Iori, to salvage beautiful old merchant homes in Kyoto and transform them into places to stay. After staying in one of Iroi’s salvaged mansions last year, we decided to visit another one that overlooked a 75-year-old obi workshop. The workshops are generally located underneath the old homes that include an indigo dyer, a broom maker and a tatami mat weaver alongside incense, lanterns, stationary, umbrellas and everything in-between.
I highly recommend this type of accommodation when visiting Kyoto as the traditional sleeping on tatami matting, shoji screens and noren fabric blinds give you a heightened sense of the local communities living now and in the past. Make sure to request a bicycle upon arrival so as to easily get around this flat city.
On my last trip to Japan I saw a painted canvas bag in a window that I loved, and after a year of tracking them down, was given the opportunity to visit Yoshimi & Makoto at their Superior Labor Co. HQ in the mountains of Okayama.
After a train ride from Kyoto, and an hour through windy mountain roads saw us arrive at Nap Inc. The HQ is built around a cluster of buildings including Yoshimi & Makoto’s home, an outdoor shop, a café, a workshop, a sewing room and even a Canadian Cabin that was delivered flat packed.
The workroom displays the workmanship and process of their product of canvas bags that are painted and stencilled, as well as small leather goods. Old sewing machines sit alongside leather branding and canvas painting paraphernalia.
We sit down for lunch in the café with cheeses from the famous cheese maker down the road, local smoked river trout and other European alfresco inspired food all in the setting of checked table cloths, wooden plates and other loveliness. What a marvellous day!
Recently, The Society Inc. hosted a cocktail party for New York pair Confetti Systems. It was a freezing & windy night, but, at the aid of new Sydney-sider duo Chris and Byron from Trolley’d, our bellies & hearts were warmed by delicious cocktails!
Trolley’d is a native, organic & recycled mobile bar fleet. Their mission is to show the world that you can still party without impacting the environment. Byron & Chris use recycled Ansett Airline trolleys that bring the party to you!
I was recently asked by Friends of the Australian Ballet to put my own spin on the classic pointe ballet shoe. I have always been amazed with the beauty of ballet and ballerinas, however, the behind the scenes of the art has fascinated me even more. My ballet shoe is somewhat of a celebration and depiction of behind the scenes of dancers studios, rehearsal halls, backstage dressing rooms and set and costume makers.
The private moments of those involved in the art, the parts of the ballet world that we don’t see, is the inspiration of which I have drawn from to create my shoe. The materials I have used include linen, lead and leather. I prefer to represent the trades and materials of days gone by, to a time where expertise and skill was created by hand, not machine, and to pay homage to honest and functional materials. I wanted to purvey the real and gritty life behind the beauty. By utilising honest materials in my shoe, I have represented the building of sets, the pulling of ropes to lift curtains, the needle and thread to sew the ribbons and all the elements behind the scenes that eventually create the beauty onstage.
Below are a few snaps of the final product.
To celebrate Rainford Street Social’s 1st birthday, Executive Chef Benjamin Orpwood and I teamed up to create a special adjunct menu. I worked closely alongside Ben to create this special offering which evokes some of my favourite winter food memories.
Each dish will be available throughout the month of August, and a percentage of proceeds from each of the dishes will be donated to Rainford Street Social’s charity partner, Oz Harvest.
My menu consists of:
Chicken broth, garden vegetables & homemade cornbread
Shepherd’s pie with braised lamb shoulder, tomato & polenta
Chocolate & chestnut torte & burnt buttermilk ice cream
Drop into Rainford Street Social, 500 Crown Street, Surry Hills and warm up with my delicious winter menu.
I jumped off the boat at Hamilton Island Marina to spend a luxurious night at the famed Qualia. I was so looking forward to chilling out, but was not expecting the fabulous-ness in store for me. All rooms booked but the Beach House!
The Beach House is beautifully spanned over a rocky foreshore looking out to the Whitsunday Islands, layered in front with an infinity pool with its very own guest house that sits in the garden, that could house a great party of its own!
I checked into the spa for some downtime and then whiled the days away exploring in my golf buggy, swimming, lounging around, and eating delicious snacks that were generously delivered to my house.
Thanks for having me Qualia!