Monday, November 28, 2016

On the hunt

There's another new cafe in Rosanna called Hunter Lane - on the site of the former Byzantine restaurant which closed a little while ago.  I think a cafe's going to do a lot better at that site near Rosanna station and library.  I'm not sure how long the council offices are going to be there given the plans for a supermarket but I think it's timely that a cafe has landed there.  When I first moved to Rosanna over 8 years ago, there were no groovy cafes so I'm glad our sleepy suburb is slowly changing.
Image via Gumtree
A few quick things to mention today if you are on the hunt for Christmas presents, the Lightly Design VIP shopping Night is on tomorrow and I did buy Mr Rosanna a Willow Swallow made from recycled plates as a present last Christmas.  The Kris Kringle Night Markets at Northcote Town Hall also start this week while closer to home, the OLMC Twilight Community Market is on this Friday.
Image via The Big Design Market Melbourne
The Big Design Market is on at the Royal Exhibition Building from 2 - 4 December and some friends of mine go there every year to buy their presents.  Don't forget too that Star Wars Rogue One tickets went on sale today - we've already booked to go to see it at IMAX Melbourne on the big screen.
Image via State Library Victoria
On another note, the On Air: 40 years of RRR exhibition is currently on at the State Library.  It's been curated by my fellow Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board Member Angela Bailey - I love a bit of community radio at the best of times and still listen to both RRR and PBS.  Have a great week!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Local profile - Valentina Maxwell-Tansley

I've known Valentina a number of years now.  We first met as members of the Banyule Arts and Culture Advisory Committee and now as fellow Board members at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.  I've also seen Valentina's work in galleries given she wears a number of different hats!  She is one of the most dynamic people I know - someone who isn't afraid to step up and take on a leadership role, which I really admire.  Read on for more about the lovely Valentina...
Valentina Maxwell-Tansley photo by Janina Revill
Name: Valentina Maxwell-Tansley
Occupation: Artist, Designer and Creative Consultant
Lives/works: Thornbury 
How long have you lived/worked here? I first lived in Thornbury when I was a student at La Trobe in the late 1990s. After a stint working in the UK I ended up back in Thornbury and have been here now for 12 years.
Maxwell-Tansley artwork photo by Janina Revill
Describe yourself/what you do:
I started out as a musician and composer, however I was always the person who booked the gigs, designed the flyers and did the publicity. It’s no surprise that I ended up working in performing arts and venue management for over 15 years. During that time I worked on a lot of amazing projects, however after the arrival of my two boys it was time to take a step back.
Parallel photo by Janina Revill
Over the years I have dabbled in many creative pursuits, but it wasn’t until I was on maternity leave that I seriously started thinking about exploring my interest in the visual arts. Over the past few years I’ve been studying and practicing visual arts and design whilst juggling my freelance work as a Creative Consultant. I mainly work with government and creative businesses to develop strategies and business plans. I also sit on a number of arts advisory panels and am honoured to be the Chair of the Bundoora Homestead Arts Centre.  

Over the past year I’ve really immersed myself in printmaking, specifically monoprinting. I love the organised chaos that comes from monoprinting and my technique of using found objects creates really interesting results. I just staged an exhibition of my work at The Goodness Bureau and am already working on a couple of projects for next year.  

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east: 
I love the creative vibe of the northern suburbs. Where I live in Thornbury has really evolved over the past ten years, and I really like being able to do my shopping locally and support the local traders. There are so many great eateries opening up all the time, I just can’t keep up! It’s great to see the love returning to high street.

For more information: 

Thursday, November 24, 2016


This is the name of the new garden-inspired quilt exhibition by members of the Victorian Quilters Inc., that opened yesterday at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre with a special Garden Party Exhibition Launch this Saturday afternoon from 2 - 4 pm at the Homestead to celebrate both Regeneration and Verdant Garden.
Above: Susan Matthews Anigozanthos 5 (detail), 2015 Hand dyed cotton, linocut printing,
silk screen, ink, thread | 35 x 35cm Courtesy of the artist
It is an artistic week in that the 2017 Banyule Arts and Culture Program launch is being held tonight at Hatch Contemporary Arts Centre in Ivanhoe while its Alphington Open Studios this weekend along with it being the second weekend of the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios - there's lots going on.
Image via 2017 Banyule Arts & Culture Program Facebook page
If you're interested in starting your Christmas shopping, the first Heide Makers' Market is on this Saturday and I think would be a great market to go to as it's in collaboration with The Rose Street Artists Market.  It's been in the planning for a number of years now so I'm glad it's finally got off the ground.  Other markets on this weekend include the Sisters' Market in Brunswick along with the Guild Christmas Market at the Guild of Objects in North Melbourne.
Image via Heide Makers' Market Facebook page
If you're more interested in some exercise, the Family Bike Rally Day at Warringal Parklands in Heidelberg on Sunday sounds like fun (just watch out for the snakes!) - it includes a free sausage sizzle and there'll also be a coffee van at Possum Hollow.
L-R - MC Francis Leach, Dr Joanna Barbousas, John Marsden, Rosa Storelli & Professor Anthony McGrew
I'm a little weary after having run my final Bold Thinking Series lecture on the Education Revolution last night at the State Library followed by drinks and a bite to eat afterward with my team at Cookie on Swanston Street.  It was a packed event full of passionate and engaged teachers so the lecture itself went very fast and it was a real thrill to meet writer/teacher/school principal John Marsden who is still encouraging students to be subversive!  He stayed right until the very end and had a queue of people wanting him to sign their books and speak to him.
John Marsden and me - State Library Victoria
The lectures will be returning next year in what is going to be a big year at La Trobe which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary so a year of looking back but also a year of looking forward as it cements its reputation as an innovative university that produces career-ready graduates.  I may also be assisting the 50th Anniversary team promoting some of the launch events they have planned for early March so stay tuned.  I'll be back tomorrow with a local profile.

Nb: Miss Rosanna is a Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board member

Friday, November 18, 2016

By the light of the silvery moon

I'm not sure if you managed to see the full moon and 'supermoon' this week but it sure was spectacular.  It's the last time the moon will appear this close to Earth until 2034!  There is a magic to the moon light and night time has always had its own special appeal for the night owl in me.
Image via Night Noodle Markets Facebook page
Speaking of which, the Night Noodle Markets at Birrarung Marr opened last week and have been very popular with many of my work friends, who've visited not just once but a number of times to the Asian hawker-style markets.  It's a great idea for balmy Spring nights leading up to Summer finally starting next month here in Melbourne.  Also on this weekend is Broadsheet's Food and Design Weekend market behind the Spiegeltent in Collingwood.
Image via The 19th Australian National Northern Soul Weekender Facebook page
The 19th Australian Annual Northern Soul Weekender is being held from tonight at Thornbury Theatre and if I didn't have kids, this would be a fun one to go to.  Mr Rosanna and I have just finished bingeing on Netflix's Marvel Comic hero Luke Cage and loved seeing some of our favourite soul artists performing in the nightclub owned by the baddies.
Image via Artist Open Studios Facebook page
If you're interested in getting out and about the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios is on this weekend and next featuring the work of some of my favourite local artists and more.  The Annual Love Heide Dinner is also being held tomorrow night at the Sofitel to raise funds for Heide - I was lucky enough to go as a guest last year to this event where participating artists donate limited edition artwork for those who want to bid.  This year's work is by Melinda Harper.
Image via Banyule City Council
If you have children, you may be more interested in the Clifton Hill Primary School Fair being held tomorrow or the Malahang Community Festival being held this Sunday in West Heidelberg.  Sunday looks like being a cracker of a day so enjoy the weekend!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Keeping calm

It's a changed world political landscape since I last posted and while things feel uncertain, there's a lot to be said for staying calm and carrying on with normal life (as per Winston Churchill's famous war time words) while things are left to settle.  I do wonder what the world would be like if we had more female leaders but I also think leadership isn't an easy thing.  I've actually been asked to run a workshop at a leadership summit being held interstate next year so I will reveal more closer to the time.
David Hockney English 1937- Yosemite 1 October 16th 2011 (1059) iPad drawing Collection of the artist © David Hockney

Spring feels like it has definitely sprung today and I've been enjoying my time in the garden and pottering around my house.  There are a few things I wanted to mention in relation to this.  David Hockney has just opened at the NGV, and La Trobe University where I work, has a partnership with both the NGV and State Library Victoria.  A friend of mine went to the launch where 79 year old Hockney was present and his colourful landscapes and garden scenes are just beautiful.
Green Garden 2015 by Elizabeth Nelson image via Bundoora Homestead Art Centre
Verdant Garden opens at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre on Saturday 26 November drawing inspiration from the role of the garden on contemporary life and includes works by Mark Dober, Sarah Hendy, Penelope Hunt, Gina Kalabishis, Elizabeth Nelson, David O'Brien, Alice Wormald and more.  The Homestead itself has a heritage garden which is a lovely place to visit.
The Six Seasons of My Backyard image via Leanne Cole
I did catch Tim Ross' show on ABC 'Streets Of Your Town' on Tuesday night and got a thrill seeing the Rosanna Golf Links Estate (where family and friends still live) featured as some of the Merchant Builders homes have gardens by Ellis Stones.  Locally, fine art photographer Leanne Cole is holding her book launch of 'The Six Seasons of My Backyard' at the Old Shire Offices in Heidelberg on Thursday 24 November.  Regrettably I can't make it to Leanne's launch but will be interested in buying a copy of her book for Christmas and you can buy them directly from her if you are local.

Finally, the annual Strawberry Fair held at Rosanna Uniting Church at Arden Crescent is on tomorrow from 9.30 - 2.30 pm and if the weather is as sunny as today, it will be a great event to go to!  Have a good one.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is a Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board of Management member

Monday, November 7, 2016

Feeling Funkie

Funkie Brewster is the name of one of Rosanna's newest cafes housed in the former wetsuit shop on Davies Street.  It's a cute name for those of us who can remember the TV series Punky Brewster starring Soleil Moon Frye.  I also like the name of two young boys cafe in Greensborough - perhaps because I have two of my own!  I was also visiting East Ivanhoe Village shopping centre last week and walked past the relatively new Align Pilates Studio, which is great for those of you who practise pilates (or are interested in trying a class) - core strength becomes increasingly important as you get older.
Image via Align Pilates Studio
I had lunch plans today to visit Moroccan Deli-cacy in East Brunswick, which is unfortunately closed on Mondays, so ended up having a nice pub meal at the East Brunswick Hotel, which has been renovated since I lived in the area.  There's a lot of development going on (the hotel had a special tradies' lunch offer as much of their clientele at the moment is workmen!) and I'm kind of glad to no longer be living in such a built up area.  I wonder how I might have felt had I still been local.
Bundoora Nebula Residency image via Arts Access Victoria
On another more cultural note, Bundoora Homestead Art Centre is now seeking applications for 8 paid artists residencies in 2017. The Bundoora Nebula Residency consists of four one month residency periods; each pairing two artists (including one artist with a disability).  If you are a visual artist, performer or musician, then I encourage you to apply as creative opportunities like these are relatively rare.
Image via Sage x Clare Facebook page
If you're planning on hosting some summer lunches or dinner parties, you may also be interested in A Feast for Summer with Stephanie Alexander hosted by Eltham Bookshop and being held next Monday 14 November at St Helena Secondary College.  I love Stephanie's range of garden range and homewares which I think would make for some stylish and practical Christmas gifts.  Speaking of homewares, some of you may be interested in the Plyroom and Sage x Clare Warehouse Sale being held in Northcote this coming Saturday.  I really need to start my Christmas shopping...

Nb. Miss Rosanna is a Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board of Management member

Friday, November 4, 2016

Local profile - Jenni Mazaraki

Jenni and I first had dealings online with her role at Greenhills Neighbourhood House in Greensborough.  It was lovely to meet her in person at my Bold Thinking Series lecture 'Has Facebook killed the news?' last month at the State Library as she is currently studying communications at La Trobe University.  It's always fantastic to meet other local creative people and she is definitely one to watch.  Read on for more about Jenni...
Name: Jenni Mazaraki
Occupation: Like most creative people, I wear a few hats! I’m an artist, designer and writer. I’m interested in communication in its many forms. I work as a Communications Project Officer at Greenhills Neighbourhood House as well as working on my own projects such as the localstoryspace blog.
Lives/works: I live and work in Melbourne’s north east
How long have you lived/worked here? I’ve lived in the area for almost 7 years.
Describe yourself/what you do:
I often say that I bring words and pictures together. I essentially help people and organisations tell their stories with digital and print media. I write, draw, design, take photos and create audio and video to build a story.

I’ve recently started the localstoryspace blog where I’m writing articles about the amazing creative people in the local area. The blog is about art and culture and I’m particularly interested in the ways that women make time and space for creativity in their lives.

I have a background in fine art, visual communication and art therapy. I love art and design and want to support the local artists and craftspeople who diligently work in their studios, making art, running classes and running their businesses. I’m also particularly interested in community projects that bring people together through creativity. I love the way that local neighbourhood houses such as Greenhills Neighbourhood House run a range of programs to encourage the community to live creative, healthy and socially connected lives.

My design and writing work allows me to bring people’s creativity stories to a broader audience so that we can encourage, support and cheer each other on in whatever we may be doing.

I visit people in their creative space and chat about their creative projects. My recent interviews have been in a pottery studio, a shipping container art gallery and in a craft group in a friend’s home. My next interviews will be in a rambling garden and then in a home office of a certain local blogger (Miss Rosanna!). I have a couple of book projects on the go as well.

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east:
The most amazing thing about the north east is all of the wonderful down to earth people who are part of our lives.

For more information:
To read, listen and view creative stories:

To join a group or activity at Greenhills Neighbourhood House:

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Halloween hangover

I'm happy that the sun is starting to come out from behind the clouds although I still can't believe what a cold, wet and windy Spring it's been so far.  I'm glad it was such a beautiful day for any of you who went to Derby Day on Saturday.  We are suffering from Halloween hangover today after going to a neighbour's house party after trick or treating last night.  Halloween is big in our street and while I've felt a bit ambivalent about celebrating it, I think it comes second only to Christmas in terms of excitement for my kids and well, I don't mind a bit of dressing up!  I'm not the only one - the hands down winner this year was a school mum who came dressed as a zombie bride.
Me and my two ring wraiths
The past week seems to have gone by in a flash as I've had friends in town from Singapore and Granny Annie here from Queensland, on top of holding my second last Bold Thinking Series public lecture for the year last Thursday night, which was a fantastic event for those who came.  Both Shen Narayanasamy and Chris Berg were great speakers with a lot of presence and charisma - something you can't manufacture - while La Trobe legal academics Patrick Keyzer and Nicola Henry made up the rest of the extremely strong panel.
The Zombie Bride
The last lecture for the year will be on Education and I'll be excited to meet writer and school principal John Marsden, who is a bit of a hero of mine.  Joining him on the panel will be La Trobe academics Dr Joanna Barbousas and Rosa Storelli who will all talk about the Education Revolution and whether we are the clever country or not.
L-R: Dr Nicola Henry, Chris Berg, MC Francis Leach, Professor Patrick Keyzer, Shen Narayanasamy
& Professor Chris Mackie
The 20th Darebin Music Feast is currently on until 6 November and there are a number of local events celebrating David Bowie and Prince.  There's a Prince Bowie dance party at Preston's Fresh Hood this Friday night while the Thornbury Theatre is holding a Bowie Unzipped tribute concert early next year to celebrate what would have been Bowie's 70th birthday.
Image via Music Feast
The countdown is already on until Christmas and I can't believe my calendar is now full until December.  I thought the supermarkets and newsagencies were starting a bit early this year with Christmas food and Santa letterboxes out before the Spring Racing Carnival.  I've got a couple of local profiles to put up between now and the end of the year so stay tuned.