Tuesday 29 May 2012

    Chandon Miniature Chairs


    Chandon Champagne and Living Edge have formed a great partnership to present Miniature Cork Chair Competitions in Australia. Numerous delicately crafted designs are the result of the competition being held in three cities over the past couple of years. The Brisbane display at In Design Live on the weekend was a highlight for me.

    Artists and architects are invited to fashion a miniature chair using two corks, wire cages and foils,with designs judged on their originality, wit, artistry and craftsmanship.

    The chairs featured below are from the Melbourne exhibition, with photos by Christian Mushenko.

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    Thursday 5 April 2012

    Akira, costume Romeo


    Legendary fashion designer Akira Isogawa designed more than 150 costumes for the Australian Ballet’s production of Romeo and Juliet. The Japanese-born, Australian based designer, spent 12 months working on the costumes.

    The costumes for Romeo and Juliet are some of the most beautiful and the most complicated that the Production Department of The Australian Ballet have ever made.

    Akira Isogawa uses material sourced from all over the world for his creations. The materials he uses are subjected to multiple dyeing techniques to give them a multi-layered look. This means that the ball gowns are actually quite lightweight and as you also saw very flowing. All the girls’ bodices are boned because they need to be tight fitting around the waist and instead of using flesh elastic shoulder straps to hold them up, the company now uses a stretch flesh-coloured net (for light and dark skin shades) that has the brand name of ‘Whalleys’. By the way, achieving a dark skin is now easy since there are a lot of tan tablets that worked effectively and safely. For instance, if you go to riotanningtablets.co.uk, you’ll learn about Rio tablets.

    Part of the ‘magic’ of theatre! Colin, Behind Ballet

     “I get inspired by movement … [and] it is in my nature, to feel the movement of the textile,” he says.

    “I guess I am choreographing the textile.”

    The Capulet ballroom, a glamorous and spiky affair, with stiffly splayed fingers and gowns in icy tones.

    … the heavy colours – the blood red and purple – represent the sinister and tragic symbolism that define the story’s tragectory. It’s a modern interpretation and he is designing it to “transcend time and place,” so despite the geographical references in delicate brocade, silk tulle and organza, it exists in no definable locale. The deft hands at play combine the colours and textures to create identifiable Akira signatures, but don’t overshadow and simply add to the ballet. No doubt why Murphy has consistently returned to him.

    There’s leather and metal that have been formed and forged into armour and breastplates, gold and silver beading, metallic’s in all shades, appliqué, screen-printing and metres of embroidered cloth waiting their turn. Suffice to say, the Montagues and Capulets won’t know what hit them.

    James Cameron, Broadsheet Melbourne Sept 2011

    20 full-time costumiers have worked on 300 costume pieces, 580 pairs of pointe shoes

    and sewed on 1000 Swarovski crystals and 2000 sequins.

    STUDIO ArtBreak, go behind the scenes into the cutting room to see the making of these incredible costumes ~ over 150 unique designs for 68 dancers. From customised sequins to handmade headpieces that will take your breath away, Akira’s costume designs are unique as he manages to meld fashion design with choreography.

    “Richly embellished fabrics echo Eastern influences, and I have great respect for their traditions.”

    Akira has collaborated with Graeme Murphy before, including works for the Sydney Dance Company, however this is his first work for The Australian Ballet, and his first time working on a production of this size. The designer moved to Australia in 1986 from Japan. He studied fashion design at the Sydney Institute of Technology and then went on to open a boutique store in Sydney. By 1998 Akira was showing his collections in Paris, and is now one of the most sought after designers in the world. STUDIO

    {Images: Photography by Lynette Wills for the Australian Ballet; last pic via The Design Files}


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    Wednesday 4 April 2012

    Choreographer :: Graeme Murphy ♥


    At the Romeo & Juliet gala, I had the great joy of meeting Graeme Murphy!

    I have been a Graeme Murphy fan for many years going back to his days at the Sydney Dance Company.

    Over 20 years ago I was inspired to write to him, and he wrote back!

    Over Easter I am penning him another letter, and this is why I think he is inspiration…

    The ballet, Romeo & Juliet debuted in Melbourne, September 2011 and provoked passionate reactions from critics and fans, who are split over its merits. Murphy sees this as a sign of success.

    “I don’t worry about not pleasing everybody,” he says.

    “It’s too easy to do something that people would be comfortable with.

    When people say, ‘It’s exactly how I imagined’, to me that is offensive.

    If my work is how they imagined then I would have failed.

    People put too much weight on perfection, which is not healthy.

    Flaws provoke thought.

    I knew I had to take people out of their memory base.” 

    The Courier Mail

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    Sunday 25 March 2012

    Wherefore art thou, Verona?


    Take your passport and experience time-travel when you see The Australian Ballet’s latest production of Romeo and Juliet, choreographed by Graeme Murphy.

    It starts in fair Verona with a sword fight and then travels the world ~ to an ice palace, a Buddhist temple for the wedding scene, moving on to an Indian bazaar and a finale in the desert with a bed of yellow skulls, where it is impossible for love to survive.

    “The audience is not stuck in Verona but will travel the world … they will enjoy the adventure,” he said.

    “I wanted to celebrate the timelessness of the story, because it belongs to all times and all societies.”

    A Graeme Murphy ballet will not play it safe and his bravery to reinvent classic ballets with modern twists, results in the creation of work that is adventurous and challenges convention as well as the audience.

    Murphy tackles Romeo and Juliet, retaining the bones of Shakespeare’s tragic tale and much of the Prokofiev score, but bravely shed any concrete allusions to time and place. {The Age}

     Lavish set design and and resplendent Akira Isogawa costumes, take us around the world.

    The Act 11 curtain rises on a gorgeous Indian market scene.

    {Images: Madeleine Eastoe and Kevin Jackson in Romeo and Juliet, 2011. Courtesy of the Australian Ballet}

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    Sunday 25 March 2012

    O Romeo, Romeo


    Wherefore Art Thou Romeo?

    A Love Story ~ The Australian Ballet’s Romeo & Juliet.

    For never was a story of more woe 

    Than this of Juliet and her Romeo.

    {Images: The Australian Ballet}

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    Friday 23 March 2012

    Love is a many-splendoured thing


    In fair Verona, where we lay our scene…

    one pair of star-crossed lovers; two feuding families ~ the Capulets and the Montagues;

    and a corrupt world where forbidden love blooms fast, burns bright and dies young.

    Romeo and Juliet

    I will be celebrating The Australian Ballet’s golden anniversary tonight

    at the gala performance of William Shakespeare’s romantic tragedy, Romeo & Juliet.

    The performance promises to be a visual feast with the choreography by the amazing Graeme Murphy who has “approached this classic ballet with an attitude of modernity”, and the “choreographer of textiles” Akira Isogawa designing the costumes.

    {Images: Madeleine Eastoe and Kevin Jackson in Romeo and Juliet, 2011. Photographer: Jeff Busby. Courtesy of the Australian Ballet}

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    Friday 6 January 2012

    folk music ♥


    The joy of festivals is experiencing musicians you love playing music live and discovering artists you’ve never heard off.

    My Woodford Folk Festival highlights were Buffy Sainte-Marie, Gotye, Skipping Girl Vinegar and Katie Nunnan.

    Buffy Sainte-Marie, Woodford Folk Festival 2011/12

    Buffy Sainte-Marie plays Woodford Folk Festival

    Buffy Sainte-Marie :: legendary!

    Academy Award winner and folk legend Buffy Sainte-Marie’s audacious attitude to life on and off the stage has inspired people around the world for over four decades. Buffy was accompanied by a rocking 3-piece all-Aboriginal band from Indian Reserves in Manitoba, Canada. WFF

    Inspirationally performing at 70, Buffy passionately uses her powerful voice to perform an astonishing fusion of hard rock, protest folk, country and pop songs. This Canadian Cree performer is an extraordinary concert artist, singer-songwriter, composer, pacifist, and social activist. Her singing and writing repertoire includes subjects of love, war, religion, and mysticism.

    Her haunting music, joyful spirit, and thought-provoking song writing has produced a rich catalogue of music including the Academy Award winning“Up Where We Belong” as well as her searing, political era-defining anthem “Universal Soldier” – a song that remains arguably the finest anti-war song ever. More of her most popular songs include “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” and the much-loved classic “Until It’s Time for You to Go”.  To read more, go here.

    Gotye :: amazing songwriting + percussion + sound! 

    Gotye took to the stage to enchant the thousands of punters gathered at the Amphitheatre at Woodford Folk Festival last night.  From the moment Wally De Backer took to the stage, the crowd hung on to his every word. Opening track Eyes Wide Open instantly had the crowd dancing and as they erupted into cheers of admiration as he greeted those gathered with “you’re looking very big.”

    Like a little kid at Christmas, his smile was infectious and it was evident throughout his entire set that there was nowhere else he would rather be. The crowd was in rapture by De Backer’s energised drum solo at the end of The Only Way. As De Backer worked through tracks from his latest album, Making Mirrors, each track was accompanied by quirky animations projected on a the three screens, behind and on each side of the stage. A half-man, half-bear clip accompanied Smoke and Mirrors, while an organ taking over a family complemented State of the Art, which he explained was about “recreational music culture.”

    He dipped into the back catalogue with Thanks for Your Time, before playing the ’60s song Seville which De Backer sampled for his acclaimed Somebody That I Used to Know. As the intro into Somebody That I Used to Know began he appealed to the audience, “You’re going to have to help us out because she (Kimbra) can’t be here tonight.”

    After a collective sigh of disappointment, it was a magical moment as thousands of voices sang in unison Kimbra’s part of the hottest song of the year.

    Gladstone Observer

     Katie Noonan and the Captains :: Elixir back at last! {I’m a George fan!}

    With Katie Noonan’s trio of 14 years Elixir about to release their long awaited second album First Seed Ripening, and in the wake of their recent national tour supporting the American jazz legend Ron Carter, the group performed fantastically at Woodford. via here

    Skipping Girl Vinegar :: I really enjoyed this Melbourne independent alt-acoustic pop four-piece band. Taking their name from the iconic Melbourne neon sign of Audrey the ‘Skipping Girl’ in Richmond, the band features Chris Helm, Mark Lang, Amanthi Lynch and Sare Lang.

    Skipping Girl Vinegar debut single ‘One Chance’

    {Images: 1 & 2 Buffy by max_wedge; 3&4 Woodford Folk Festival 5&6 google images}

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    Monday 12 December 2011

    Jeweller to the Lost :: Studio Christmas Sale


    I have started to get the Christmas spirit flowing with my annual pilgrimage

    to the stunning studio of Jeweller to the Lost.

    And another Bh treasure was added to my jewellery collection,

    a ring with an iridescent pāua shell set in silver,

    shimmering softly with the colors of the ocean ~ blues, greens, purples and yellows.

    The shell is soft to the touch from repeated tumbles in the sand and water. It has slight ripples on it like the patterns left in the sand as the waves lapse over it. Pāua or abalone shell represents love, beauty, gentleness, caring, comfort, peacefulness, delight, solace, sand, water ~ what beautiful qualities to carry with me.

    There were so many beautiful pieces that I loved,

    especially the Bh Signature necklaces similar to this Bib Gem Necklace.

    ”Often some of the best designs come from simply using components that are to hand. Ray Norman described my Signature Bracelets as having that ‘cobbled together’ style. I love the element of serendipitous contrast in form and texture, with some eclectic detail but never too much going on! These Signature Bib Gem necklets are large enough to dress things up but still lightweight enough to wear all day! The first one I made for myself with a surprise find of antique Jet beads from Barry Smith’s cache.”

    Barbara Heath – Jeweller to the Lost.

    I must start saving now for one of these pieces at the 2012 Studio visit!

    For more visit Jeweller to the Lost.

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    Wednesday 5 October 2011

    Easton Pearson tête-à-tête


    What a fab evening at Easton Pearson with Christie Nicolaides, who revealed the new collection and shared fabulous ways of dressing up/ dressing down the looks.

    Images: Marie Claire featured a gorgeous 50’s style shoot called ‘Love Me Tender’ photographed at Sydney restaurant, Porteno and starring pieces from the Easton Pearson AW11 and SS11 collections.  It featured the Vear Dress and the Kyon Coat.

    View the Love Me Tender editorial spread in my previous post.

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    Saturday 10 September 2011

    let the pages take you there


    Under beautiful blue spring skies, I am heading off to the Brisbane Writer’s Festival to join in the discussion as readers, writers and ideas-makers from all over the world share their stories.

    {Images and for more information go to Brisbane Writers Festival}


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