Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Getting a fix

How nice is it to have some rain today after an absolutely sweltering summer...we're shortly heading into festival season in Melbourne and I'll be posting later this week on some of the more exciting things happening in the north as of Friday.
Image via Melbourne Food and Wine Festival website
I was lucky enough to be shouted a coffee by one of my clients yesterday from Foxy Brown in Westgarth and it reminded me that there's a great event on for all my fellow coffee lovers at The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.  The Urban Coffee Farm & Brew Bar is a free event being held at Queensbridge Square in Southbank from this Friday to Sunday 17 March.  Melbourne's best baristas from some of our top cafes renowned for their coffee will be on hand serving up takeaway coffees and tasting flights for $3.  Coffee-based cocktails and food will be available during evenings.

You'll also be given the opportunity to experience coffee from seedling to coffee cup via the Urban Coffee Farm with 120 real coffee plants growing over an undulating hill.  Sounds like a caffeine lover's idea of heaven...

Friday, February 22, 2013

Jazzing it up

Singer songwriter Julia Messenger is performing tonight at Montsalvat's Barn Gallery.  Tickets are $25 / $20 on 9438 7712 or at the door.  Messenger has previously performed overseas as well as at Bennett's Lane and the Melbourne Recital Centre.  She'll be performing songs from singers such as Roberta Flack and Patsy Cline to Nina Simone and Edith Piaf as well as her own compositions.  Messenger is the first singer to perform as part of the jazz series at Monstalvat, and this will be the first time she has performed there.
Image via Montsalvat Facebook page
Speaking of live music, it's SLAM day on Saturday in Melbourne so if you get a chance to see some live music this weekend, all the better.  Some lucky friends of ours got to see Neil Finn and Paul Kelly in action at the Palais theatre earlier this week and I reckon their 'A day on the green' concert at All Saints Estate in Rutherglen next month would be pretty special.

A couple of markets also on this weekend including Monty and Preston Farmer's Markets.  It's going to be a hot one again - have a great weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

I want change

Don't we all....it's actually the name of a new exhibition that opens today at LUMA - La Trobe University Museum of Art and runs until 12 April.  The exhibition showcases the work of 14 different artists including Bindi Cole, Ash Keating and MEEK and celebrates two decades of Artistic Defiance, Disapproval and Dissent.  The exhibition provides a snapshot of political issues that have occupied artists and their practices over the past 15 years.  Opening hours are Mon - Fri from 10 am - 5 pm.  Entry is free.  Sounds like a good one for the rebel in all of us!
Meek, Begging for Change, spray-paint, 89.1 x 73.5cm.  Collection of the Artist.
I've been meaning to visit LUMA for a while as well as the relatively unknown La Trobe University Wildlife Sanctuary where you can buy indigenous plants as well as nesting boxes for our furry and feathered friends.  We've had resident possums at our place for a while now and I've heard that even if you do remove them, they end up finding their way back home so the best thing you can do is provide nesting boxes so you can all co-habit in peace!

If you're heading to Bundoora, don't forget there's also Bundoora Park for the kids and Bundoora Homestead Art Centre for the grown ups.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Short and sweet

Wow - it sure has been hot in good old Melbourne town.  I hope you've managed to get some relief either indoors or near some form of water.  I can't say I've been moving terribly fast these past few days...
A couple of markets on this weekend - the first Ivanhoe Makers Market is on tomorrow at The Livingstone Centre in Ivanhoe where some of my favourite local people sell their wares.  I did manage to get to the Christmas market there last year where I bought a number of gifts for friends and family.  My tip is to go first thing in the morning before the day heats up.
Ceramics by Lene Kuhl-Jakobsen -  Ivanhoe Makers Market
The Suitcase Rummage market is also on at The Thornbury Theatre on Sunday - I've been meaning to visit this one too especially since fellow blogger Emma from Frog, Goose & Bear has previously sold her lovely craft there.  I do love an old theatre.

Stay cool people!  And have a great weekend.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Mon coeur

So it's Valentine's Day tomorrow and if Mr Rosanna and I actually celebrated the occasion, I reckon the Valentine's Day Dinner at Heide would be a lovely one.  Reservations are essential if you can still get one.  It's on from 6 pm tomorrow night for $98 per person including a 4 course meal and sparkling on arrival.  Beautiful!
Miniature heart pendant image via Angus and Celeste website
I thought you might also like these heart shaped pendants from Melbourne creative duo Angus and Celeste for some more Valentine's Day inspiration (I've fallen in love with their bead necklaces and botanic bottles).  I've even managed to find a peackock-inspired one!

Like my very favourite Australian stylist, Pia Jane Bijkerk who has written a book called My heart wanders, I have realised I've also got a thing for heart-shaped items...at the last count I had a heart shaped jewellery box, a heart shaped paper weight, a couple of heart shaped crystal pendants and not one but two rings with heart designs...
Image via Murdoch Magazines website
For those of you who are celebrating tomorrow, I wish you a happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Peacock love

Kung Hei Fat Choy!  And welcome to the Year of the Snake.  I hope the next 12 months bring a more introspective, spiritual year full of yin (feminine) energy after the dramatic Year of the Dragon...perhaps a chance to consider and pay more attention to the detail of our daily modern life in 2013.
Funnily enough, we didn't spend Sunday having a family yum cha or traipsing into Chinatown.  Son number one is currently obsessed with peacocks (I do have to give him credit for being extremely imaginative) so we found ourselves in the gardens at Montsalvat in Eltham for Chinese New Year.
There are a number of resident peacocks (and the less glamorous peahens) at Montsalvat as well as some geese and chickens.  Despite two grumpy, tired kids and two grumpy, tired parents - we managed to enjoy the serenity.  Iced chocolates and french fries from The Meeting Pool restaurant definitely hit the spot for the kids while Mr Rosanna and I shared a wasabi-encrusted tuna carpaccio which was excellent.  We sat out in the courtyard and spied a big table enjoying what looked like an extended family special occasion as well as motorcyclists and other locals and day trippers enjoying the ambience - it does feel like stepping back in time.
Image via The Rug Company blog
Thomas was thrilled with the four peacock feathers (they molt at the end of each summer) we found to take home and there is something quite beautiful and magical about peacocks.  They have inspired artists for many years.  Given Valentine's Day is this Thursday, I thought you might also like this Matthew Williamson rug design (available in both dark and light versions) which incorporates both peacocks and love hearts - I want one in my house!  More tomorrow on local happenings...
Image via The Rug Company blog

Friday, February 8, 2013

Local profile - Jeanette Dyke

Besides Chinese New Year, Valentine's Day is also on its way so today's profile on jeweller Jeanette Dyke is fitting if you have something sparkly in mind to celebrate.  It's obvious that Jeanette also loves the Yarra Valley - something which I find apparent in many locals and artists who live and work in the area and probably not that unusual given the region's artistic heritage. Read on for more about Jeanette.
Jeanette in her Montsalvat workshop
Name: Jeanette Dyke
Occupation: Owner of Jeanette Dyke Gold + Silver at Montsalvat
Works: Montsalvat in Eltham
How long have you worked here?
I have lived and worked in the Nillumbik area for over 10 years, I came to visit Eltham one day and just fell in love with the place, in fact it gave me butterflies.
Flax Lily and Kangaroo Grass ring by Jeanette Dyke
Describe yourself/what you do:
Jeanette Dyke Gold + Silver aims to create unique jewellery for customers who have an eye for style and a love of all things different.  Using only precious metals, pearls and gemstones, I aim to make elegant jewellery that emanates soul, distinctive jewellery to the highest quality and timeless jewellery to make you feel beautiful.  These are works of art to posses forever as your own.  

Obsessed by learning, I have a wealth of skills and knowledge behind me including a Masters Degree in Gold and Silversmithing from the Royal College of Art in London. I have been creating jewellery for over 20 years in England and Australia and now design and craft from my studio in the artists colony of Montsalvat in Eltham.  Here I meticulously hand carve many tiny pieces of 18 carat gold and compose them to create an image that often evokes a scene, memory or a feeling.  They are then fused to the surface of silver, a delicate technique that is both challenging and almost impossible to emulate.  This technique gives my jewellery that unique creative edge and pieces are often one of a kind or custom made to order by the client to reflect their personal preferences.  These unique pieces of jewellery will last the ages and be desired by generations to come.

Best thing(s) about living and working in Melbourne’s north-east:  
The Yarra Valley is a special place where artists have gathered over the last hundred years, they have all been inspired, like me, by the innate energy of this area.  Some say it is one of the most beautiful places in Australia.  Only 30km from the city but surrounded by bush with the Yarra River and hills on your doorstep for inspiration, the Yarra Valley won me over many years ago, it is the only place in the world where I truly feel at home.

Four well-known art movements chose the Yarra Valley as their home; The Heidelberg School, the Heide Art movement, the Montsalvat Group and the Dunmoochin Artist’s Colony.  I came to Australia in 1996, having no family or connections here, I eventually ignited a connection with the arts of Nillumbik after moving from Brunswick to Eltham about 10 years ago. My connection with the arts grew from there on through my involvement with the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios, with Dunmoochin, first as an artist in resident and now as a member of the Board of Directors and my involvement with Montsalvat, establishing my workshop there over a year ago.  This connection has enabled me to put down roots and give me a feeling of belonging in a community that values the arts.  Many artists are still drawn to the area and many have been here all their lives, never moving away.  This is a special place where artists have both struggled and flourished for years and we will hopefully continue to flourish for many years to come.

For more information:
Mobile: 0403 852 444
Studio: Montsalvat, 7 Hillcrest Avenue, Eltham Vic 3095

Thursday, February 7, 2013

The Art of Food and Wine

Well the Year of the Dragon is slowly coming to an end and the Year of the Snake will soon be upon us.  For the Chinese, the new year or 'Spring Festival' means a lot of eating, drinking and catching up with friends and family.
Pears are not the only fruit by Kate Hudson
Speaking of food, the first exhibition for The Light Factory Gallery this year is The Art of Food and Wine - an enduring theme which has inspired artists since the renaissance from Leonardo Da Vinci to Andy Warhol.  This exciting exhibition opens today (with the official opening this Sunday from 2 - 4 pm) and also forms part of this year's Eltham Jazz, Food and Wine Festival being held in Eltham Town Square the weekend of 23 and 24 February.
Pears in sunlight by Vicki McInnes 
Leeks by Lisa Nolan
A number of associated events will be held at the Festival and also at the gallery including exclusive tastings of Nillumbik Estate wine on Sunday 3 March.  There's some exciting new work on show by artists including Jessica Page, Kate Hudson, Lisa Nolan, Ruth Allen and Jessie Pittard.
I hate people who are not serious about meals. It is so shallow of them'  - Oscar Wilde
Vulture watercolour and ink on paper - Jessica Page
Nb. Miss Rosanna is The Light Factory Gallery's freelance PR consultant

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Where the heart is

Home: Reframing Craft and Domesticity is a new exhibition coming to Banyule in March/April this year.  Expressions of interest by crafty, clever people out there wanting to be considered as exhibitors are now being taken and you can download forms from www.banyule.vic.gov.au or for more information call Claire Watson on 9457 9851 (Tues-Thurs) or email claire.watson@banyule.vic.gov.au  As a home-loving Cancerian, I'm looking forward to this one!
Ultrapilgrim 2012 Oil on linen painting by Juan Ford
Acclaimed Eltham-based artist Juan Ford is also giving a free talk at Montsalvat tomorrow night as part of their Red Chair artist event series.  You can find examples of Ford's work locally at La Trobe University and he will be exhibiting at Art Basel Hong Kong in May this year.  His talk is on at 7pm for a 7.30pm start with RSVPs essential on 9439 7712 or email montsalvat@montsalvat.com.au