Friday, August 31, 2012

Local profile - Jacqueline Gwynne

Besides birds, I have a thing for elephants and I'm not the only one.  There are currently 50 fibreglass models of baby elephant Mali on show in the city to celebrate the zoo's 150th birthday.  A select group of artists were chosen to paint the sculptures with each one to be auctioned off for charity.  It's nice to know a local artist from Heidelberg was one of the chosen few...
Name: Jacqueline Gwynne
Occupation: Artist / Illustrator
Lives/works: Heidelberg
How long have you lived/worked here?: 1 year

Describe  yourself/what you do:
I'm a contemporary artist and illustrator working in pop art style.  I was recently involved in the Mali in the City public art project celebrating Melbourne Zoo's 150th birthday.  Mali is the baby elephant that was born at Melbourne Zoo, the first to be born in Australia.
My design was inspired by 'Composite Elephant' designs from 18th century Persia.  All of the animals pictured in my design are endangered or threatened species.  It relates to the interconnectedness of every living being in the universe.
My Mali entitled 'Neo-Composite' is sponsored by the Sofitel Hotel and can be found out the front of the hotel from now until 21 September.  From 21 September to 25 October, all Mali's will be on site at Melbourne Zoo.  On 25 October, an auction will be held at the Zoo to raise money to support local and international conservation projects and save endangered animals.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne's north-east:
Close to city but nice and quiet.  The surrounding environment is lush and green with beautiful walking tracks.

For more information:

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Spring Fever

While it may not feel like it today, Spring is only a couple of days away and there are a couple of events on this weekend to celebrate the new season.

For the larks out there, there is a Breakfast with the Birds this Saturday from 8  - 10.30 am at Warrandyte State Park as part of the Spring Outdoors program.  You're invited to meet at Pound Bend Picnic area and then walk along the river track for morning tea (provided) and back along the ridge - (a moderate walk of 3.5 km).  Bookings essential on 9840 9124.  Miss Rosanna is more of an owl so you probably won't see me there!
Image via Only Melbourne website
Eaglemont Village in Silverdale Road, Eaglemont is holding a Spring Festival for those of you looking for a day out on Saturday from 11 am - 4 pm.  For lovers of Art Deco and times past, The Centre Ivanhoe is also holding a Dinner Dance called 'Back to the Berg' next Saturday 8 September from 7 pm - 12 am to celebrate its 75th birthday.
Image via The Thornbury Theatre website
Finally, US singer Toni Childs is performing on Saturday at The Thornbury Theatre where you can actually catch dinner and her show.  Tickets were almost sold out when I last checked so be quick if you want to go.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

One for the blokes

Well it's Father's Day this weekend and there's an interesting exhibition by Brendan Lee called 'One of the blokes' opening next Thursday 6 September from 6 - 8 pm at LUMA (La Trobe University Museum of Art) which will be opened by Dr David Nichols, author of 'The Bogan Delusion' - it doesn't get any more Aussie than that!  The exhibition will run until 26 October and entry is free.  Gallery hours Monday - Friday from 10 am - 8 pm.  More at
Image via Brendan Lee website
Time Machine: Sue Ford also opens this Friday and runs until October 14 at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.  Sue Ford (1943-2010) was one of Australia's most important photographers and filmmakers.  She studied photography at RMIT and in 1974 was the first Australian photographer accorded a solo exhibition at the National Gallery of Victoria.
Sue Ford self portrait image via
On another note, it was nice to see Heidelberg eatery Vyve get a review in The Age M magazine on Sunday.  I've been there a number of times for coffee and meals (with the kids) as I knew the previous Brazilian chef and it's pretty big on Thursday and Friday nights with the after work crowd.

Friday, August 24, 2012

A touch of Spring

The lovely Rona - image via The Abbotsford Convent website
Local Montmorency artist Rona Green is part of a group exhibition showcasing work by Mercator Studios artists and designers called Industriousness which opens today at The Industrial School, Abbotsford Convent, 1 St Heliers Street Abbotsford.  The exhibition runs until 2 September and is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 11 am - 5 pm.  Entry is free and drinks with the artists and designers will by held on Sunday 2 September from 2 - 4.30 pm.

Mrs Peterson image via Etsy
Rona is a big fan of birds like me and these earrings by Mrs Peterson are on my wish list.  I haven't actually bought many brand new things this year as per my New Year's resolution (and limited budget!) but these are a little whimsical and remind me of Spring.
Image via Nancybird website
Another thing on my wish list is this Scarf Bag in grey by Nancybird.  Nancybird is actually having a 5 day online sale at the moment if you have some dollars to spend.  Lucky you!

Thursday, August 23, 2012


It's been a lovely day and with the sun out, I've been spending time outdoors and noticing how neglected my poor garden looks as well as the fact that our roof and gutters also need some love and attention.
Image via Banyule City Council website
There's actually a free sustainable gardening workshop on tonight from 6.15 - 9 pm at Montmorency Primary School in Rattray Road, Montmorency.  This workshop is part of the Sustainable Homes & Communities program.  You can register online at, call 8470 8373 or email:
Monty Farmers Market image via my markets website
Also a reminder that the Monty Farmers Market is on this Saturday from 9 am - 1 pm also at Montmorency Primary School.  Some of goodies available will include organic sourdough bread from Rustic Sourdough and spices and curry blends from Spice Fusion.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Up and comers

There are a couple of new-ish cafes located in Reservoir and Heidelberg Heights that I've been meaning to mention on my blog - these up and coming suburbs are slowly gentrifying as artists, professionals and young families move in.
Image via Lady Bower Kitchen blog
In Reservoir, there's Lady Bower Kitchen at 1A Marchant Avenue (right off Broadway as you head west to High Street) Ph: 9469 5851 from Tuesday to Sunday 8 am - 4 pm.  While in today's Age epicure, the 'nanna-inspired' Jam and Cream cafe run by Vivienne Toomey and her business partner Sue Burgess can be found at Shop 3, 1 Orr Street, Heidelberg Heights Ph: 9457 3356 from Tuesday to Sunday 8.30 am - 4.30 pm.  Think fluffy scones, knitted tea cosies, backyard chickens and a pink caravan to give you an idea of what this cafe is all about.  Its sensibility reminds me a little of Coral Lee cafe in Bright.
Jam and Cream cafe image courtesy Trish Hunter Finds blog 
I also talked about sneezing yesterday and yes, the annual Hurstbridge Wattle Festival is on this coming Sunday for those of you wanting to brave the crowds (and the wattle!).

Monday, August 20, 2012

Nearly there

I've been down and out with the flu the past week and it has surely been a long, cold winter.  The blossoms have started appearing on the trees, I've started sneezing and the days are a little lighter and sunnier so it's great to know Spring is nearly here.

Once again, Banyule, Manningham and Nillumbik Councils have come together for their combined Spring Outdoors 2012 program from August to November - brochures are available now and I will post on some of the more interesting events which form part of this.

Lightly butterflies via All Kinds of New blog
I have managed to stop in at Heide Museum of Modern Art in the past few days and their retail store is also looking beautiful.  Besides their gorgeous art books and children's toys, they also sell selected jewellery from e.g.etal, Aesop skin care and ceramics by local artist Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen.
Image via Bonnie and Neil website
Some of their newer additions include Lightly vases - I have actually recently met the very talented designer Cindy-Lee Davies through my friend Jules and have always loved her china butterflies.  Also on offer are wooden wares by Brunswick-based designers Bonnie and Neil and Clea Cregan's Miniscapes  - stunning miniature terrariums which would make wonderful housewarming or wedding gifts for people who live in small spaces. Bring on Spring!
Image via Miniscapes website

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Winter in Banyule

Yes, it definitely still feels like winter today even though Spring is only a few weeks away.  Although, there's nothing like a few Olympic gold medals to warm the heart - it was great to see both Sally Pearson and Anna Meares win their events (go girls!) yesterday.
Image via Banyule City Council website
The Winter in Banyule annual arts festival starts next Thursday 16 August and runs for 10 days across Banyule.  On offer will be events such as the 24 hour Emergency Art project at Banyule Arts Space, Eid Reading Hour in The Mall, Heidelberg West, 'Originals' by Waterdale Players (a series of short works by young performance makers) and New Work - an ephemeral art project.

This is your chance to see art up close in our local community, in particular intimate art works for small audiences.  For more information email or call Susan Doel on 9490 4222.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Animal Soup... the name of emerging artist Gail Willoughby's new exhibition at The Light Factory Gallery which runs from today until Sunday 2 September.  Her edgy style takes its inspiration from the animal world with a unique and humorous approach to her bold and colourful art - her creatures have attitude!
African image by Gail Willoughby, Animal Soup exhibition
Established local artist Ron Reynolds' exhibition Cezanne's mountain revisited also opens today at The Light Factory Gallery.  Reynolds has had a lifelong love affair with France, and in particular Cezanne's old stamping ground Aix en Provence.  The mountain that dominates this area Mont Saint-Victoire fascinated Cezanne and is Reynolds' sole inspiration for his latest exhibition.
View from Puyloubier image by Ron Reynolds, Cezanne's mountain revisited exhibition
Speaking of art, I have been dismayed to hear that La Trobe University is contemplating axing its Art History course - even more ironic given that it has its own Museum of Art and that numbers for its undergraduate and postgraduate courses have been relatively steady.  There is currently a petition to save Art History at La Trobe and there have already been public figures like Barry Humphries who have also expressed their concern.

Nb.  Miss Rosanna is The Light Factory Gallery's freelance PR consultant.

Miss Rosanna is also a member of Banyule Council's arts and cultural advisory committee (public art) which includes LUMA's (La Trobe University Museum of Art) Artistic Director Dr Vincent Alessi.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

I love blogs

Starting my blog has become something more than I ever thought it would be in the beginning.  It has always been a labour of love; a chronicle of my family life, a form of creative self-expression and the opportunity to share what's going on locally with other like-minded people in the community.

It's brought me many virtual friends who I have then met in real life (and vice versa); a client in The Light Factory Gallery and an opportunity to show the world who I am as a person, and as a writer.  I am hooked for life!
Banyule Youth Services & Express Media are launching a Youth Blog Project open to young people aged between 15 - 20 years old who enjoy writing and live, work, study or play in Banyule.  If you're interested in being on the editorial team of 12, you're invited to email Naomi Simmonds at by August 29th with your pitch - one paragraph on who you are and what you're passionate about, one paragraph on why you'd like to be part of Banyule's Youth Blog Project as well as submit a short piece of writing (300 words).

Monday, August 6, 2012

Olympic fever

While silver seems to be the dominant theme at this year's Olympics, I will always have a special fondness for the 1956 Summer Olympics (or 'Friendly Games' as they were known) held here in Melbourne.  My dad's dad came from Hong Kong as a sponsored chef especially for the games and ended up making his home here.  My auntie Grace's relative John Ian Wing was the young Chinese Australian boy who suggested to the Olympic Committee that all the athletes should mingle together (instead of marching as teams) as a symbol of global unity during the closing ceremony - a tradition that has been upheld ever since those games in Melbourne.
Image via
There are actually free tours of the 1956 Olympic Village in West Heidelberg led by the historian Robin Grow (President of the ADMS - Art Deco and Modernisn Society) this Saturday from 10 am.  Tours are approximately 30 - 40 minutes long and will leave on the hour from the Olympic Leisure Centre, 15 Alamein Road, West Heidelberg.  Places are limited so RSVP to Bec Olsen on 9457 9846 or 0411 151 686.
Image via
Robin will also be taking tours of The Centre Ivanhoe (which is celebrating its 75th birthday this year) later this year and I have already booked a place given I missed out last time.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Grand Designs

Like most Australians, I love looking at real estate at the best of times.  I was checking out the local pages in The Weekly Review earlier this week and these two houses have caught my eye.
Image via Our Properties website
Ashmead at 42 Grimshaw Street Greensborough is an English Revival manor built in the 1930s and home to the famous Melbourne Football Club Cordner family.  It's located down the quiet end of Grimshaw Street after the turn off to the Main Street shops.
Image via Domain website
The second house is Florrie's at 28 Diamond Street Eltham which was built by local designer/builder John Harcourt in the 1940s and then extended by Hamish Knox, the son of environmental architect Alistair Knox (he of the famous mud brick houses for which Eltham is renowned).

Think I might go and have a sticky beak one quiet weekend soon!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Less is More

Less is More: Minimal and Post-Minimal Art in Australia is the name of the exhibition which opens on Friday at Heide Museum's Central Galleries in Bulleen.  The exhibition looks at 1960s Melbourne and Sydney through a young generation of artists who explored Minimalism through abstract painting and sculpture and also looks at contemporary artists of today who use Minimal ideas across a range of media.  Over thirty Australian artists are featured as well as works from a number of key American artists.
Image via website
There are also tickets available to a Creative Women's Circle event on this Saturday 4 August at NorthCity4, 61 Weston Street, Brunswick featuring the five creative founders of art/jewellery design hub NorthCity4 including local Heidelberg West artist Caz Guiney.  The event is on from 2 - 4 pm (1.45 pm start).  Tickets are $11 for CWC & Craft Victoria Members and $16.50 for Subscribers & Non-members.
Image via website
Finally, I popped into Miss Marie for a quick coffee this morning and was chatting to Paul, the owner who told me he turned away 30 people from the cafe earlier this week because he couldn't fit them in.  Think they might have to think about bigger premises...or opening another cafe.