Penland dreams turned reality

Penland! Never have I been to a place that is so lush and green! It was truly stunning, an amazing place to learn. As soon as I got there, I was like;
"This isn't real".
But it was!! I was fortunate enough to receive a full scholarship to attend Amber Cowan's flame working class. This meant full tuition, board and meals all covered. All I had to do was pay for the flight. It was mindblowingly generous. Without this generosity I would not have been able to attend.

The thing I really liked about Penland was that it was a whole bunch of different mediums thrown in together. So not just glass. As an Aussie glass traveller it is nice to branch out of your own medium. There was also people of all ages there. I made friends with a cute lil blue haired teen and a rockin lady named Joy in her 70's! Penland is in North Carolina kinda atop the mountains. I have never seen weather change so quickly. One minute it will be hot with the sun beating down the next the clouds will roll in, cracks of thunder and a torrential rain shower, then back to steamy sun. Nuts.

So I wanted to go because I was desperate to take a class with Amber Cowan. This chick is the business. She is balls to the wall awesome. She pretty much invented her way of working, figuring out how to flamework recycled glass and turn it into these gorgeous creations. And now she is willing to share all her secrets with you! I just found that phenomenal and to me it spoke of what a true artist is. She figured out how to manipulate the glass in a new way and instead of keeping it all to herself she wants to share it with you. She is so passionate about glass as a material and this shows in everything she does.

So for a glassblower I had a pretty steep learning curve. Everything I had learnt so far I had to pretty much not do! No flashing! No reheats! Madness! We worked hard. I was on that torch from 9am till 11pm. (I was usually done by 10:30, that was my peak so I pretty much just spun on my chair waiting for Arlie to finish...)

I went because i wanted to figure out how to lamp work furnace glass to incorporate into my hot shop made pieces. I think I made a good starting point. One of the other dudes teaching the goblet class, Granite Calimpong, teamed up with me to make a colab piece which we entilltled "turnip da beet".

Pretty funny right. So I then thought, how about if you blow me a bottle and I flamework the stopper. This way I could use boro and make it super detailed. I still haven't figured out all the joins properly but I still think it turned out pretty sweet. (It also helps that Granite is a fucking gun.)

I met some awesome people too. One of those is Arlie Towbridge. Man I had some fun with this chick. She is a super talented babe and I learnt so much from her. Her, me and Amber got on like a house on fire and a couple a nights we got to tear it up. I want both of them to come visit me! (Are you reading this you two??)

We got to hang out for a day in Ashville which was rad (when my hangover finally cleared, man it was a close call...) where we got to go "thrift" shopping and visit some studios. Gave me some mega inspiration for what I want in a studio. 

I also got to have some great conversations with Lisa and Boyd, two phenomenal glassblowers from seattle. I guess really it's just nice to step outside of your comfort zone. Switch off your brain to the everyday and submerge yourself in your craft. Such a special gift. I feel especially blessed as I was awarded a full scholarship to attend. Penland is a total gift and I can't speak highly enough of it. Everyone should apply! I was the only Aussie there that session which was a strange feeling too.

And OWLS!! I got to meet owls!! They brought them in for the life drawing class. Man did I leg it down there!! They were so amazing, they don't even look real, they look like puppets.

I feel incredibly lucky to have gone to Penland and I hope again to go back someday. I also feel excited as I just purchased my very own torch!! YEEEEEEWWW!!

My (Unsuccessful) Austco Application

(So this is a post I wrote whilst in the air travelling enroute to Penland to take an aweinspiring class with the fantastic Amber Cowan. I'm working on my wrap up but I thought I would still post this as I think it's a good one. I't also quite sassy about the budget cuts to arts funding but I think on the ground and not read 17 million feet up in the air it still stands.) (And yes I'm still pissed I didn't receive the much needed funding I applied to.)

Here we go again.
Travelling a billion miles across the ocean to learn some more about glass. You would be surprised how many of us do it. I think this winter there will be a mass exodus from the Adelaide glass community alone. Seems like everybody is taking a class.

I am travelling all the way to North Carolina. Yeehaw! I have been awarded a full scholarship to attend Amber Cowan’s flame working class. Now that I’m actually on the plane I can start to get excited. Was a mad rush to get here, but I did it so no more worrying about stuff you didn’t do or have to do when you get home.

I live an extrodinairy life. Well I reckon I do anyways. Being on the plane makes me think of all the fantastic trips I have taken and so many of them for glass.  I’m pretty good at beating myself up about things,  not doing enough, should be doing more, blah, blah, blah, man is that both tiring and boring. So let’s forget about that and think about all the good shit. Yeah.

I’ve been to Pilchuck in Seattle, I’ve been all the way to the pointy end of nowhere, Lybster, Scotland to do a residency, I’ve done a research residency in Japan and now I’m going to Penland in North Carolina. Seriously? That shit is awesome! I’ll tell you what’s not awesome though is the major funding cuts to the arts that have just been announced. Not awesome. I’d actually say brutally fucked up.

I just wrote and submitted (the day before I flew out) my strongest proposal for funding yet. It was to create works for my solo exhibition in 2016 at JamFactory. I had letters of support, I had the venue confirmed but most importantly I had the killer idea. Now I have just learnt that they won’t be taking submissions for that round. All my time and efforts wasted. The budget cuts for Australia council, the major funding body for artists is so severe. Austco grants were already as rare as hens teeth to get now I fear they will have gone the way of the unicorn….

This is not the first time I have had beef with Austco. I’ve had my voice heard don’t you worry about that, but now it seems more than one person has to speak up. I want to know how I (we) can let the fat cats above know that this is not cool. It’s fucking hard enough to make a living as an artist and by taking away opportunities such as these I feel like we are being told our contributions are not valid. My work is not important. I am replaceable. Well that’s just not true.

A life without art is not life.

I’m going to band together with my brothers and sisters and I want our voices to be heard. I know all about following the hard road and I won’t be stopped now. Even though I wrote a grant application that will never even see the light of day, it helped me to produce a clear and well thought out plan to be executed. It got me excited about making. So not all is lost, and I’m going to share it with you now to see what you think….

(It is an Austco application so it’s a little long winded. I won’t hold it against you if you speed read it…)

I Dream A Greenhouse”

I have been given the outstanding opportunity to exhibit works for a solo exhibition at JamFactory in gallery two, in Adelaide in 2016. This is a monumental event for me in my career as a glass artist. It was here that I completed my training as an associate designer in glass in 2009 and now seven years later to return for a solo exhibition is an excellent marker of my achievements. This is my first solo show in six years.

This show will be an accumulation of three years worth of work. During this time I have researched, travelled for classes and workshops and completed overseas residencies to develop this work. I now have the perfect venue to display these new works. My work to date has always revolved around the natural world. Plant life is a huge inspiration and a constant theme in my works. I am now looking to combine all my findings into an installation of works in glass for my 2016 solo show that revolves around ‘the garden’.

The proposed exhibition explores the idea of “the greenhouse”.  An intimate indoor space providing a fertile background for me to work with glass to cultivate, cross-pollinate and present exciting new works in a captivating environment. I have an affinity with plants; working with selected species, ideas of the real and the unreal – interests which manifest themselves aesthetically and conceptually my practice.

I propose to create an entire installation - a domestic garden environment with gardening equipment and props, creating a wonderland for viewers to interact with and discover the artworks nestled within. This installation and its attendant props (some found and some made) are an integral part of the exhibition – creating an immersive, engaging scene for audiences to explore, enabling the discovery of delightful vignettes of work.

Growing within this warm, greenhouse installation will be new works, ripe for harvest. Nestled in a wooden crates are luminous glass vegetables, quietly glowing with surreal, otherworldly beauty. Hanging baskets spill with long leafy foliage, on closer inspection revealing themselves to be finely lamp worked tendrils of leaves. Sprouting out of seedling pots is a series of golden blossoming dahlias.

Humans need nature to survive. We ourselves cannot grow and thrive without it.  It sustains us on so many levels be they practical, spiritual or psychological. It has been doing this for eons. I personally get great satisfaction from my own tiny corner of garden space. It gives me room to think, clean air to breath and a sense that I am growing and creating a tangible, living space for others to enjoy too. It helps me to find my place in a world that is expanding at a rapid rate and technology is eclipsing itself by the minute, the garden is where I find my solace. The notion of tending your garden is what I am hoping to achieve with this show.

I want to create works, which appeal to everyone. I think plant life is something we can all relate to. For me each plant evokes a memory. A giant stag fern will always remind me of my grand father. A nastersion leaf will bring to mind my nanna’s pool and its surroundings and now my first home. I like thinking about these tiny connections and I hope other viewers will start to think about their own experiences when they view the works. I am looking to create a garden themed installation in glass works that relate to plant life reconstructed from my own memory.

I envision creation an all-encompassing installation that will amaze and delight viewers regardless of age. I’m hoping these works will gently coerce people to reconnect with plants and celebrate the diversity and beauty of the plant world. I also want these works to conjure up memories of the past to make connections with plant life. I am looking to create the majority of the works in sculpted hot glass and combine these with found objects and ones from my own personal collection to form the installation. Gallery two in the JamFactory is what I believe, the perfect space for me to create my vision.

Gallery two is an intimate space where an installation can have maximum impact. It is an enclosed “U” space that will give the viewer the feeling of being surrounded by the works.

To bring this installation of works to fruition I will create works both in my own studio in Brunswick and travel to Adelaide to hire the hot studio at JamFactory. I will travel to Adelaide on 6 separate occasions to create the works in weeklong blocks. This will give me adequate time to develop the works. I am aiming to create new hot sculpted works in glass. I am not aiming to create identical representations in glass; I am aiming to create works, which evoke thoughts, memories and feelings towards the plant. For example to recreate a jacaranda tree I may just focus on the instantly recognisable purple flower. This is where memory comes into play and each viewer may interpret it differently. It may evoke a hidden memory to the viewer, which has been stirred by reflection and imagination.

To create these works, sessions will be spent in the hot shop experimenting with colour and texture. My initial sketches will guide me to make the works in glass. This is where my technical skills as a glass blower will be further developed as I prototype these works. I am excited to make my most detailed works yet. I intend to make hot sculpted works and to do this require to travel to and hire the hot shop facilities of JamFactory in Adelaide. I am also looking to invest in a smaller hot torch for flame working that I will be able to use in my own studio. This will allow me to create more detailed works that will be incorporated into the larger works.

I am giving myself ten months to create these works, as I want the work to be well thought out and executed to the highest detail. Over this time I will be able to create enough pieces to contribute to an installation. I will also use this time to source props that will be equally as valuable to this show, contributing to the feel of the greenhouse.  I will issue a callout to the public to contribute their own special garden related props to  use in the show and it is my hopes that together we will create a show of our shared memories.

As an artist I am very conscious of the era and world we live in. I believe now more than ever it is important to celebrate the small, appreciate the beauty in the everyday, to make the most of our surroundings and the materials we have. Small is precious, we need to create our own oases, our places of wonder, our own greenhouses.

End of an era

On Wednesday the  13th of May, team rock had their last blowing session together for I don’t know how long. Dani, Jaan and me have been blowing glass together for nearly 9 years. I guess I kinda knew we only had Jaan temporarily but I never thought too much about it. He seems like a permenant fixture in both Dani and my lives but now it’s time for him to go home to Canada.  I had to remind myself more than once, there’s no crying in glass blowing…

“Theres no crying in glass blowing”, that’s just one of the gems we have come up with over the years. Another personal favourite is, “Make what look like what to look like what?”, or “back in my day I we blew 16hrs a day 8 days a week” and who can forget the call and response “your’e good”  “and youre pretty”.We have built our own hilarious language together and I am going to miss that idiot so much.

Jaan and Dani started their associateship together and they came in my second year. Over this time we built a solid crew and they were my team everytime.  I remember one of the first times I absolutely busted his balls for rocking up late to a sand casting job, still drunk, with a coffee in his hand and a sheepish grin on his face. I was fucking seething! Furious! I wanted to go to that fucking free cointrau party too, but no, I knew we had work in the morning. So I was the only bozo to man up, call him out and send him home. Oh man did he feel it. After we finished the job I think I came back to my phone with like 5 missed calls and a voicemail appologie. (Little did he know if he had of rocked up with a coffee for me none of this would have happened…) Man, how things have changed.

We worked so hard but we laughed just as hard. In the last year I could rely on Jaan to make my work for me when I couldn’t get to Adelaide.  We formed a tight lil trio and I am sad to think we might not work together again. But you know, nothing lasts forever. We are always in a state of flux, that’s just how it is. It was amazing to be able to rely on him and I’ll miss his headbanging at the gh. This goon is loved by so many, there is going to be a huge Jaan shaped whole in the Adelaide glass community and in me and Dani’s little hearts.

So it turns out there is crying in glass blowing because man did I bawl like a baby when it came to say goodbye. Shit, I ever tear up a little just thinking about it now… At least I was there for the last party and we got to send him off right. We even got our team rock t-shirts that we had been talking about for about 5yrs. Polerock, Rockaby and Dzierock.

I sure do love you Jaan. I love you so much. You know Dani and I are coming to visit in Canada right??



So I had one of my lovely stockist ask me for some vases. Do you make vases? I sure do! I was a bit cheeky and just totally put it out there what I wanted to make, and do you know what? They said yes! (This is the crux of my career and the one rule I live by, you ready, here goes, this may be shocking;

Just ask! It's so simple. It is also what alot of people ask me, how did you get that? How did you get that colab with Gorman? How did you get that solo exhibition? How did you get your works in there?!
I just asked.
It is as simple as that. 
I asked and they said yes!
Not everyone says yes, but how are they going to have an opportunity to say yes if you never ask?
You just gotta put out there what you want and I believe 9 times out of 10 you get it.

So I wanted to make really simple vases in nice bright colours. Turns out the stockist wanted that too!

So before I delivered them I wanted to get a couple of nice shots while I had all the colours and sizes in stock. Maybe others might want them too? It was a little rushed but I think they should turn out nice. Being a florist is hard!

I can't wait to see the 'real' shots. Next time I am going to book my sister who is an actual florist and we are going to be unstoppable. BAM.

Autumn; King of the seasons

Goddamn look at these colours!! Autumn is my favourite time of year. Look at it, it is stunning. I can't believe that these colours are for real, it's ba-nay-nays. (Thats crazy in Adeventure time speak don't cha know?) 
These were taken at Mt. Lofty Botanic Gardens in Adelaide and at The Rhododendron Garden in Olinda. 
Everything about Autumn I love. The colors, the smell, the gorgeous grey days perfect for glass blowing and eating toast with grilled cheese and cups of tea, my kind of paradise. Good for wearing flannel, nice scarves and maybe a sweet jacket? I even like it that you don;t have to drive anywhere to see it, it's on every street. One day I am going to have my own stunning autumn garden. (I've made a start, I gots two maples.)

I also like it how Autumn starts to creep into my work.

Autumn; I love you.

Some stuffs

Just a quick image/brain dump before I dash off to an appointment. I gots 15 minutes, go!

(Me and Angry Cat)

So much has happened since I last wrote (sounds like an old time war letter..), the big news is that I was awarded a scholarship to go to Penland School of Craft in the states to take a class with flame worker Amber Cowan! And I leave at the end of May!! So, so pumped!! I can't believe my good fortune sometimes. It's not all popsicles and rainbows though, as my husband puts it, things seem to come to me when I need them most. It's a lonely thing working for yourself sometimes. I beaver away all by myself in the studio and sometimes I loose focus. I was sad that I didn't get a spot at Pilchuck this year (well I did, but not a scholarship so I couldn't afford it) and sometimes I feel like i just drift around. I think it is because I seem to work in batches. I drive to Adelaide and go balls to the wall for a week then I come home get that work sorted and spend three weeks putting things in play until the next balls to the wall period. Just adjusting thats all.

It does seem to work though. I make my orders, make a little extra stock to cover myself if I get any new requests for work then plan the next big adventure. Which by the way is going to be my very first solo show in nearly six years!! So while I was in Adelaide last I also managed to line up a solo at the Jam in gallery two. Gallery two is where it's at. I have wanted to be in that space ever since I first laid eyes on Tom Moore's show in there when I was an associate. I can remember Tom setting it up and he said I could come take a peek. I walked in to his other world and could not stop grinning like a loon! I think Tom said something like I'm glad you like it Amanda. It is a little self contained space, a 'U' shape that is perfect for an installation. The possibilities are endless. I'm going all out for this one. I've got a whole year to plan, scheme and make. Let's see what we can come up with.

One Golden Day

About a month ago I ventured back to Radelaide to go to the Aus Glass conference for 2015. I wasn't even going to go but then I found out my buddy Jeff was going to be there gaffing for Berlin Glass and I knew if I didn't go I would never hear the end of it.... Man oh man am I glad I did! I had the best time! It was so inspiring to be among your peeps. I had so many amazing conversations mostly with people I already knew but I felt like alot of good ideas were hatched and I feel like the majority of those were not pipe dreams. Like they have the ability to grow legs and become reality!
So I got to watch Tobias Mohl demo and hear him speak. He makes truly beautiful work and speaks so well. I could listen to that dream boat allllllll day....

I finally got to meet this amazing woman! Jess Dare! I have been following (stalking) Jess on instagram for sometime now and just been hanging out to meet her. Turns out she's an absolute peach! You know when you meet one of those types of people and you're kind of like why the flip haven't we met before?! She makes exquisite, delicate flameworked pieces and I was so pumped to see her demo. I have been banging on forever about learning some flameworking and I think this might be the way to do it. We got to chatting and she was lovely enough to invite me to her studio to chat. I think we might have hatched a plan to exhibit/work together that I am so excited about!! She also gave me the excellent tip off to visit the museum of economic botany in the botanic gardens. MIND BLOWN! Wowzers what a collection. I just loved it in there.

Lets see, what else? Saw some more demos, listened to some great talks, had a couple of hangovers...

And then, I had THE day. The ONE GOLDEN DAY where everything clicked and was amazing. It started with getting to luck out and assist Jeff for the Berlin Glass Demo. I was just kinda standing around, making sure he had everything he needed then before you know it, BAM!, I'm on the glass!! Just like old times. (My little heart was beating so fast!!)

And get this, here comes my crowning moment of glory; I had made this killer playlist for the Berlin Kids to work to (I wanted to introduce them with a mega phone ala-lets get ready to rumble style and have them walk out to back in black...) and at the exact time that we went to join the two pieces together Back in Black cranked up at the exact moment!! Bang on!

So after this little high, this led to the next win free fringe tickets!!

Which led to seeing a phenomenal (free!!) show where toned gentlemen performed acrobatics in bathtubs to Tool songs. Fine by me. Which led to espresso martinis and large swing rides with this champion.

I really did have the greatest time. One of my most favourite things was I got to spend so much time with one of my dearest mates. This girl is a total champ.

And this goon.
He's pretty alright too.

 I also got to meet a koala!!

So yeah, I guess Adelaides pretty kewl. I crammed 4 fringe shows in two days, sweated it out in 40 plus degree weather (at a glass conference, oh the irony), met a whole heap of new friends and got to blow some glass.

till next time Marmelaide.

The Power of a good Breakfast

For a little while now my friend and I have been meeting for breakfasts every now and again. I met this amazing creature when we both worked in the dark depths of retail. I love this woman, I think she is just so inspiring, a real creative soul and funny, man is this chick funny. I could laugh with that idiot all day. We bonded over terrible customer experiences and our wanting to cast off the shackles of the repressive 'man' that is a life in retail so our creative spirits could fly. Well that and a well poached egg it seems. And we even used to live on the same street!

So in 2014 our mantra was 'the year I turn pro' and I am so stoked to tell you that we both did it! I feel like we totally had each others back on this and gave each other the little prompts when we needed it. Probably without even knowing it, like today for instance, I did not really even feel like going into the studio today but after a delicious breaky and a chat with her I'm feelin good and ready to hit the studio again.

I also think it is pretty awesome that even though we don't work together anymore we still make the effort to catch up over our love of breakfasts (we are just two women eating our way through the north). That is one thing I do miss about work is not seeing those gorgeous women. That was the best thing about that job was the people hands down.

So I think it's a pretty special and rare thing (maybe just for me?) to make a chick friend like this, especially as I get older. (Why is it so much harder to make good friends when we are older?) and I think she is pretty rad. I mean look at her, whats not to love?!

So thanks Bing, I think your'e alright, and kid, I've got your back. 

(Ps. the second choice for a pic was the one where you cut and paste your own face onto some chick standing next to Richo. Gold.)

2014; The year I turned pro

It's happening.....Day two in and I'm feelin it....I don't know what to do with myself and I'm feelin the guilts! I am so terrible at not having a million things on at once. I knew this time was coming (thanks to all my careful planning) but I just have not adjusted yet. Seein as the studio shuts over December and Jan it's pretty much an enforced holiday. I just gotta figure out how to enjoy it I guess. I'm gonna do my yearly wrap up/count back/I'm a good guy at stuff list for 2014 to see if I can remind myself that I earnt my holiday. Here goes...

The last part of this year has been pretty incredible. I went from having a 'quiet' year with not much on, no residencies no real exhibitions planned to BAM, working full time for myself. AS A GLASS BLOWER!! What the?! I know right, I'm as shocked as you. In June I had a few bites on the horizon and decided to make the jump into full time self employment and say see ya to the part time retail world. (The retail world was making me a horrible dark demon who hated pretty much everyone and everything. (Oh the anger, oh the ragiest of rages!) I'm stubborn and I don't like being told what to do at the best of times let alone have ridiculous rules and protocol shoved down my throat. The company I worked for was going through some pretty big changes and I no longer felt like my individuality which they always prided themselves on having staff who could think for themselves, would rather have cookie cutter teenager robots who couldnt string two sentences together without being given the appropriate cue cards, but hey, whatevs, I had an amazing run. Oh and I also wanted to add, the location; Melbourne Central had a BIG part to play. That place is one of the seven circles of hell. Or as we like to refer to it, Melbourne Central; where souls come to be broken.)

So I quit. Weeeeeel, I kind of slunk out the back door, told them I wanted six weeks off and never came back. I know! I know! It was the cowards way out but I just didn't want to go out in a blaze of glory and I do love those gals that work there and I guess I just expected that I might have to go back one day. (I don't think I can ever go back. Too jaded, ie; pig headed.) So what did I do???? To me 2014 only really started in June (maybe I work in financial years??), so the first cab off the ranks was Life Instyle.

Oh man, good and bad. I felt like I went from one retail extreme to another. Bozos as far as the eye can see!! Four ball breaking days on the front line, good gawd never again... I did get some orders out of it and covered my costs but at what price?! The last day saw me hiding out in the employee lounge cramming burger rings in my mouth and watching jimmy fallon clips on my lap top crying hysterically...ahem.
So I got to work making my orders which is great because it meant my exit strategy to quit retail was working. I had created a source of income for myself. I also started to get some really good promo in some mags.
Then I started to get some pretty exciting emails. The first one being from the Australian juggernaut in the furniture world that is Jardan. Wow. I still pinch myself that this one really happened. Jardan approached me saying that they had seen my work at last years design files open house and yada yada yada, now I make a range of lighting AND homewares for them. I am so proud of this job and whats super fantastic about it is that it is ongoing AND has potential to really blow up (HAHAHHAHA, I saw what I did there, unconciously of course but just goes to show I live, eat, sleep and breathe glass blowing)

I think its fair to say that this job saw me give myself a whole new batch of grey hairs....oh man did i do some worryin, i had sleepless nights, i stressed myself silly. I feel like I have learnt something form every big job I did this year, and this job taught me to 'keep the faith'. To crush that little voice that says "you are a fraud, why are you doing this?" and to believe whole heartedly that you are good. Better than good even. Jardan are a dream to work with, they believe in me so why wouldn't I? 

My next big job was the dinos job. I got to make a line of work for a brand I have loved forever, Dinosaur Designs. Wow. I still pinch myself about this one. This one was sheer numbers. Man oh man did we make some numbers. I got to run a team and this job really let me work on my skills as a blower. 

This job also gave me a great opportunity to run in my brand new piece of equipment; my grinding wheel!
I just can not even fathom having to do that job without my own wheel. One of the best things I have ever bought. (Also one of the most expensive things i have ever bought. I spent so long deliberating whether I should buy it or not. I was tearing my hair out one night (as I like to do), had it on the brink of purchase, was about to back out, Brendan goes let me see and clicks "buy". What the fuck did you do?!! Agh, instant buyers remorse!!! Turns out to be the best thing ever, ha, who knew?

The next Big job of the year was my colab with Gorman. THE Gorman!!!

This was another project that saw me stress myself out beyond one point I thought I was going to have to pull the pin. I didn't think I could do it. What an idiot!! I am so proud of this project. Working with Lisa was amazing.

I pushed myself in this one and designed something I had never made before but wanted to learn, a flame worked swizzle stick. The launch was so much fun and looks incredible in their brand new driver lane store in the city. I'm one proud papa.

So this year has been pretty hectic. Actually the last five months have been off the hook crazy. But hey, thats the way I roll, I like crazy, I like busy, I like 5 things on the go at once. Here are some of my other achievements this year:

Exhibited in the Yerring Sculpture award with Elaine Miles.

Went to the Big Hearted Business Conference - AMAZING!

Took a pottery class with this goon.

Terrorised a small seaside town with these boobs.

Did a custom job for T2.

Drove to Adelaide solo more times than I would like to think about....

Got to meet Charli 2na!

Bought a freaking House!!!!

Made some sweet works for a Craft Vic group show.

Got a hot torch and taught myself a few things.

Worked with this goon all year.

Bought a ute!

Got on a billboard!!

More sweet promo!

Blew ALOT of glass.

So yeah. I did stuff. Turns out ALOT of stuff. So thank you if you are a new stockist, bought my work, promoted my work or maybe just gave me a hug when I was looking tired. This year was a total corker for me and saw me move into a great position for 2015. I look forward to all the new stuff on offer and I greet all opportunities with open arms. I feel very, VERY lucky to be able to do what I do. And now by counting all this back I do feel like I have earnt my summer break. A Summer for relaxin, hangin out with mates, cooking delicious things, working on new designs, lining things up for next year (stay tuned for a REALLY exciting collaboration I have in the works...!!!!!) and generally enjoying life.

Because at the end of the day I know, that I'm a good guy at stuff.

(And I make great head pieces)

Yerring Station

This is another exhibition that I was apart of this year. It's a collaborative piece for the Yerring Station Sculpture award with my friend Elaine Miles. I snapped these shots on my phone and I think they look so rad! We made this glass box that we set into the pond and flooded it with the water, our glass and plant life. The reflections are just off the hook! I could stare at them all day.

We didn't win but it was a fun project to work on and I felt that we learnt heaps from it, like ways to improve it next time. I also know that next year I will be applying for the "inside" pond....! I want to make some works that float but are tethered in place so they can't crash into the walls. The site is a winery which has the most beautiful gardens. I'm dying to go back for a fancy ass lunch there. Yesterday we went back to deinstall and the gardens had changed so much. 

Deinstall was less glamorous than the install...that is as glamorous as wading in a slimy pond can be. The algae had taken over quite a bit....ewwwww! I think next time the trick would be to flood the box with our own water that way we can control the environment. But it also was in full sun, I think thats why I would like the indoor site next time. Climate controlled could give the plants a better chance to grow. And next time if I entered such a competition I would go and check out the site beforehand. I find that I always get more inspiration from being outdoors and I should have taken advantage of that.

amanda dziedzic x gorman

I have had probably the busiest time of my LIFE in the last five months! (Is that even possible?!) It got so hairy there I thought I was going to totally flip my wig and melt into a puddle on the studio floor....My mantra became "Just concentrate on what you have to do today" which was paired very closely with "Just think, this time next week, this will be done!!" I knew I could do it, it just meant organising, planning and staying the course (no matter how stressful that might be), kind of like "If you book them, they will come".... I guess I also knew that the studios I work from kind of shut down for a couple of months so I had to make the dollars now you know? Make hay while the sun is shinning and all that jazz. So working like crazy now will ensure me with funds for the summer of AMANDA!! (So when you hear me whining that I don't have anything to do and freaking out (I'm one of those weirdos who has to be doing about five things at once and ALWAYS working to feel right) just remind me that I busted my lil keister so I can have a break in the Summer.)

This is probs one of my most exciting collaborations to date. I had the extreme pleasure of working with Mrs Gorman. THE Lisa Gorman. What the flip?! I know!! I got the opportunity to design some limited edition homewares for their brand new hometime collection. This was a colab that took place over months. At one point I really doubted that I could do it, I really pushed myself and there was a point that I actually thought I couldn't make it.....Let me just say to say that I am glad that I powered thorough is BEYOND and UNDERSTATEMENT!!! 

It was such a great experience. I can remember getting to meet Lisa and her awesome assistant Bonnie and being so nervous. (What a dork) When I got to meet them in their studios I thought my eyes were going to pop out of my little head! I was trying so hard to just concentrate on what they were saying but there were all these amazing Gorman clothes everywhere! NEW Gorman clothes!! I could barely contain myself. I got to see all the brand new summer styles before they were even released! SO, so EXCITED!!. 

So I designed these crazy pineapple carafes which I totally love. I think they fit the bill so well. The other story I went with was the lobster story. So, so cool. I made all the tumblers in a team of three which was super fun and I flameworked all the swizzle sticks. Flameworking is something I have always been interested in and I think there is great potential for my work so what I did was design something which would force me to learn. This proved to be both stroke of genius and tear our hair material. But the point is I got there and I am super stoked with the results. I think thats what I have learnt the last six months is that you gotta make these big jobs work for you. Yeah, they are a really important source of income but the value is really in what you learn from them. Each job gave me the opportunity to learn a new skill. I wanted to learn some flameworking so I designed a job that required it.

With the big dinos job I worked on I really got to work on my blowing skills and learn how to use my new cold working wheel. Win, win. One of my favourite parts of the Gorman job was.....the packaging!!! So, SO sweet! I am such a sucker for good packaging and Bonnie did an excellent job sourcing the tubes. (tubes, its the way of the future).

Did I mention how much I liked the packaging?
And a sticker with my name on it! So fance!

And heres my cute mum helping me to pack it all up! Man, oh man packing is a full time gig!! Took me hours, thank god for family the silent workforce of the artist.

You can check out the collection on line here or go and visit (buy) them in person at their amazing new store on driver lane in the city (melbs). So, SO FANCY!!

Studio Sale!

Hey Crew! I just wanted to let you know that I have decided to have my very first studio sale. (Seeing that a. I now have a studio and b. I am rapidly running out of space) So here are the deets:

When: Saturday November 29th
Where: My studio, 2 Ballarat Street, Brunswick
What time: 11am - 3pm (or until sold out)

So if you are in Melbs I would love to see you, maybe you can come do your christmas shopping?? There will be one offs and prototypes, seconds of production lines, swizzle sticks and what ever else I can find in that treasure trove. (There is one big wooden crate that has not been opened since I moved in....oooohhhh, the intrigue!)

And tonight I'm pretty darn excited to tell you that....My colab with GORMAN on a new HOMETIME range launches in their city store!! Holy crap how did this happen?! I've really busted my ass in the last three months and this is one of the projects that I am ridiculously excited for. I have loved Gorman for a long time and am pretty much beside myself that they would want to collaborate with me. ME!! I have LOVED making these works and I am STOKED with how they have turned out. Even the packaging is awesome! Gorman are such big wigs and I'm excited at what may come from this. 

I am a little nervous too.
What if people don't like them?
What if they dis them?
What am I going to wear?! (The only nice top I have is GORMAN. Is it a fashion faux par to wear Gorman to a Gorman launch? Oh man, I just know I am going to look like a nerd...)

So many questions!!

Anyways, I hope to see you on the 29th for the studio sale. All I wanna say is there are going to be some real gems up for sale and CHEAP! I am going to be RUTHLESS. I want a fresh start next year so I may have to let some of my FAVOURITE pieces go......

See you there!

All stations are go!

It has been crazier than ever round my way.
I have been working on some big jobs and still trying to navigate my way through. First cab off the ranks is lighting for the super impressive Jardan. Jardan are in my eyes, a fantastic Australian company. They produce ridiculously gorgeous furniture all made here and are proud ambassadors of Australian made. These lights are to be launched in their new flagship store in Richmond.

The next one was making vases for Dinosaur Designs. THE Dinosaur Designs!! Another amazing champion of the Australian made. I feel really lucky to be able to work with such big wigs of the Aussie made. I am pretty proud of myself to get them x100 units BEFORE the due date. I have loved Dinos for a looooong long time and knew I could give them works which would fit perfectly with their brand. This job also gave me the opportunity to run a small team of three which I absolutely love doing. This was my first team run in Melbs and I think we killed it.

My new wheel definitely got a good work out.

Lets see what else has been happening....
. studio flooded
. more jobs coming in
. working on some sweet exhibition stuff
. trying to keep my head above water....

Oh and we bought a house!!

More pics to come....(when i get out of cardboard county...)

So it has been an epic month and there is more on the way. I have loved getting to work on these jobs. It's so amazing to work production style. Even if the works are not my style I am learning something from every piece and I think my skills develop and make me a better glass blower. From the dinos job I learnt to interpret what the client wants and make work that represents who they are. Its interesting because it's not work that I would usually make but I still think it was a really successful job. 

I have become the queen of scheduling. Seriously, I am booked up a minimum of six weeks in advance. I feel like I look at my diary about 27 times a day. I'm not going to lie, I feel stressed! I gotta learn to deal with this shit a bit better. Even though I was exhausted and go to bed dead tired, as soon as my big boof head hit the pillow, those pesky worries just crept in and started going round and round. They wouldn't stop. I think I need to have more confidence in my work and know that it is good. Some days I feel like a total hack, like a fraud and other days I feel like a real glass blower. I gotta nip that shit in the bud and get it under wraps. I think its ok to say you are proud of yourself and essentially telling yourself:
"you are a good guy at stuff".

I thought working for myself full time would be the best thing in the world. It may be the best, but that doesn't mean its easy. Infact this is probably one of the hardest things I have ever done. At the moment, and maybe because I'm fighting a bogus cold, I just feel wrecked. I'm just a little ball of stress and not enjoying it. I feel the weight of all these jobs on my back and I know its me that wanted this, I just got to make it work for me. I want to remind myself that this is the dream. Think how fortunate I am to be working in my field of choice. I want to enjoy it and I want to work hard but I also want my one life to be balanced. I want to get out more and see stuff. It's so important for inspiration and well being.

Now heres my favourite pic from this week, here is a picture of my cat creeping on me in the bath.

In the words of Marvin Gaye...."Whats goin' on"

It has been so busy around these parts I don't even know where to begin! You know all those lines I had in? All those little nibbles waiting ever so patiently? Well as luck would have it.....ALL the bites are in!! It's bananas! I thought I would be lucky to get just one. Surprise, it's all the bites!

AND on top of that I got orders to make from Life Instyle. One could say its on like donkey kong. (Man Life Instyle was a beast all unto itself if you know what I mean, thats another blog post all in itself....the term 'ball breaker' comes to mind as does the vivid memory of me hiding in the employee lounge cramming burger rings in my mouth and watching kirsten wiig clips while laughing hysterically with tears streaming down my face, but, ahem, like I said, a story for another blog post..)

But that being said, Life Instyle wasn't all self imposed Chinese burns and fits of hysteria. I made some good pals, got me some sweet connections and orders to make. It did though make me realise even more so that I am not cut out for the retail gig. I am a maker dammit, not a sales monkey. Which brings me to my next point, I am now proud to announce I quit my day job. I said adios to retail hell and hello to being a full time glassy! It's still quite terrifying and I think thats why I took so long to tell anyone about it, I just didn't want to set myself up for a fall I guess. Whose to say I won't need a part time job again in 6 months time? I know now to embrace change and I know what i do want out of employment be it part time or full.

Ultimately I just want to be valued as much as I give. I don't want to be another number. I work hard in whatever it is I do and I'm down for that, I just want it to be recognised. After one particularly hellish day in the retail gig it became painfully obvious that I was just a casual. No matter how you sugar coat it thats what it boiled down to. It didn't matter what I did, I guess I was under the illusion I was special. But as a company evolves I just felt unhappy with how they were moving and so here we are. Change is inevitable but if the changes are not are fit for you its ok to bloody well say so and make changes of your own. (No matter how terrifying these are.) I work for me. I am my own boss lady and that feels pretty good.

I gotta say working for yourself has its own set of curly problems to tackle. Everyday i feel as though I learn some lesson. It is still taking me time to adjust. At first I really missed the girls at work who had become my friends but as Brendan put it, you can't go back to work there just because you miss your mates. Fair point. I also thought working for yourself you would get all this time to take better care of yourself, exercise more, eat well....hah! Most days I don't even stop for lunch! What the flip is that about?!! I have to try and create my own routine now otherwise I just drift in a sea of work. 

But don't cry for me though Argentina, I'm liven the dream!

Look, I even employed this guy to cold work for me!

And this gal! I employ her too!

And this! This magnificent beast is my very first piece of machinery. A grinding wheel!

As my good friend Lisa would say "its all coming up mil house'.

(And of course if everything fails miserably, I've always got this handsome devil to scowl at me.)

All the colours of the rainbow

Working for yourself is a funny thing. Maybe I just need some time to adjust? I am not in the zone, thats for sure. I feel like I have a million things on but they are all just hanging in the balance. They are (supposedly) on tight deadlines but not signed off on yet. Enter Amanda's rising stress levels.... But this is out of my hands yeah? not my beef? WRONG! I don't know if clients understand the time constraints I work under. I try to explain and gently push, but again I think its that little fish/big fish thing. Not really their problem? Unfortunately I don't have a glass studio in my back yard and I have to go to great lengths to try and slot in with other peoples studios. Sometimes I think it would be ace to just get up in the morning, look at my list of what I have to make and get to it!

So now I drift around waiting....always with the waiting. I would love to be able to produce work, BAM, just like that, but the reality is, it goes a little something like this....

Order colour, can take around a week or two to arrive, depending where its coming from.
Book sessions, either here or Adelaide, both have their delicacies to try and orchestrate...
Now see if this plan fits with your assistant/s. Sometimes I wish I could make the work by myself but thats only from an organisational point of view!! I love my assistants I just wish I could be selfish or have the money to employ them full time then I could have them at my backing call...(mwhahahaha...)
Drive to studios with all your tools, colour, boxes, snacks.
Make the work.
Drive back the next day to collect.
Cold work.
Pack and send.

Easy right?

I think having my own grinding wheel will help. I also think the problem is I like to be organised. Maybe I need to let it go a little? If the time constraints don't work, they don't work. My problem is I believe you should say yes to everything! You never know where it may lead. 

So today I am about to set up for my very first trade fair. I think I'm nervous.... It's times like these I wish I was a duo. I gotta go bump in my stuff in a couple of hours and then I have four full days manning a stall. Four. What in the flip have I got myself into? Sometimes the 'fear' grips me. What if no one wants to place an order? Is this a waste of $? What if peeps don't like the work? How do I deal with negative feedback? The 'fear' sometimes grips me while I'm working too. Little thoughts like "You are a hack, you can't make this" try to creep in and it's a constant battle to push them aside. I don't know where they come from. Lets hope they stay away for this trade fair...

So here we go. It's time to put pants on. It's time to get your shit together. Get in the shower. Get out the door. 

Get. It. On.


Fishing for bites and working cycles...

It is totally apparent to me that I don't blog nearly as much as I used to but let me assure you STUFF has been join on. Or STUFF is maybe going to happen. I feel like I go around in these working cycles. Sometimes you are heavy on the "making cycle" (which is my favourite cycle. It's the one where I work myself to the bone, I'm usually tired, dirty and smokey smelling and I sleep good at night.) Sometimes you are heavy on the "computery cycle". This one is sometimes my not so favourite cycle. It means lots of trawling the net, lots of emailing, lots of on line applications, lots of resizing images (sorry b train). All in all the computer cycle makes me feel like I am not really achieving anything and not much of a glass blower but at the end of the day I know it is a necessary cycle for success as it leads me to the next cycle; "the all lines in the water waiting for a bite cycle" which leads me to our present.

The "all lines in the water waiting for a bite" cycle can be a tricky one. It's where you have some awesome opportunities come your way but nothing is a solid. No contracts have been drawn, no deposit paid. The horrible part is that these opportunities still have the potential to not even eventuate. (Major soul crushing blow) They all kind of drift around, just out of your reach, and its tough because at the end of the day it's out of your hands and theres nothing more you can do. I think what makes it real hard is how excited you get. Lately I've had some really interesting emails come my way from what I like to think of as "Big Fish". Problem is I get way too excited as these really are just "nibbles" and what I need is a "bite". A big meaty, latched on, swallow the bait bite and real them in bite. Thats what I'm talking about.

And these nibbles they are not even induced by me throwing any burly out!! Thats what really cheeses me! THEY emailed ME! Yet somehow it takes them maybe two months to solidify something!! But you know what?, this is teaching me some valuable lessons when dealing with "Big Fish". When dealing with Big Fish you are not even a little fish yet! You are perhaps at best some potentially tasty seaweed that might be floating around on the sea bed of life. I guess unlike me where these things are a big deal, in reality for a big company this is just a minor glitch. But, that being said all is not lost. I think persistence is the key AND having many lines in the water at once. Don't rely on having just one thing on the go have many!! And this may backfire, you may have to give something up to do something else but at the end of the day, choice is a luxury. I very recently had to give up a residency. It was one of the hardest decisions I have ever made and I still don't know if it was the right decision but I feel that for the longevity of my practice it was the right thing to do. I have decided to pour all my efforts into the trade fair Life Instyle which runs at the end of July in the hopes that it will set my practice up for the following year. Oh yeah, forward thinking baby.

So as I sit here on Facebook, instagram and all other internetty things watching friends and colleagues doing all fun glassy things (Pilchuck, residencies, overseas classes) I feel a little sad but then I remind myself of all the nibbles I have been getting lately and something in me thinks that the time is now for me to be here in Melbourne working my little heart out, growing my business. (As much as I would love to be sculpting glass, drinking beers and generally having a good time at Pilchuck)

So lets hope that all my nibbles turn into bites and that brings us into the beloved sweet spot that is the "Making Cycle".

Big Hearted Business and my crush on Clare Bowditch (just like the 499 others in the room) and trying NOT to cry in front of 500

This weekend I was fortunate enough to attend a little thing called "Big Hearted Business", an "un-conference" for artistic minded people who want to know more about business. It's a not so strange concept when you think about it and it is led by the awe inspiring Clare Bowditch. After this I think its pretty safe to say that these women (and it was predominantly women I saw and met there, maybe like 10 dudes) will now follow that woman to the end of the world and back. She is that big of a deal.

So what makes Clare so special? Her capacity for generosity knows no boundaries. Heres a woman who has gone I am an artist, I have worked ridiculously hard to get where I am, I am successful but thats not enough. I want to SHARE what I have learnt and HELP other like minded individuals to achieve their dreams to live a creative life. I am want to make the CHOICE to live a generous life. Now all typed up like that with a bunch of capitals it may look a bit wanky, but spend five minutes with Clare and you will know she is the real deal. I think it is because she is honest and you trust her. What you see is what you get. She wants you to succeed.

So I decided a couple of months back that I would bite the bullet and shell out my hard earned clams (for me it was a lot of money, nearly $600 clams) and take a punt. I didn't know if it would be for me and I was pretty sure I would be the only one of my kind there. When I got there I made the decision to (try) and leave my cynicism at the door, try not to be the little smart mouth dark cloud saying pfft all the time and rolling my eyes. (I think I did very well at this and it was only on the last day in the final hours that it started to creep in...) I wanted to meet as many people as I could, be supportive and mention that I was a glass blower to anyone that was listening (you never know who might be listening).

Never had I been in a place where people are so friendly! You could just start up a conversation, Hi! I'm Amanda! Easy. I guess everyone there is going for the same reason. I did have some success and met some interior designers, architects, even landscape designers. But really I was there to hear the speakers. Some of them I knew, some I had no idea who the hell they were. One of my favourites was designer Beci Orpin. Man do I love that woman! So talented and just plain awesome. Her talk really resonated with me because I guess she was telling me things I already knew. Be different (only glass blower in the room), get involved - do stuff who knows where it will lead, say yes to everything, be flexible, reward yourself for the wins, keen learning, collaborate, listen to your instincts, be nice and work hard. I know all these things. I do all these things. But it was nice hearing one of your idols telling you that they do them too.

I started to get that feeling as I listened to them speak, that I was doing the right things. A dude from Australia Council came to talk about writing a good grant application. At question time I didn't even have to raise my hand, I knew all those things! I got a couple of good tips from the editor of Frankie magazine about submissions and I got to listen to Pip talk about blogging. One speaker who was ridiculously captivating was Danielle Laporte. Don't worry, I had no idea who this chick was either, but man she is one fiery woman and man does she have a cult like following. That bit I'm not so keen on, but hey each to her own. I guess she's kind of like an inspirational speaker (at one point she did that squat to listen at a question thing and my dark cloud was just like, see? fuck this we are out of here, but i subdued her with a gummy bear and we listened) She kinda had that american (even though she's canadian) self help-y thing about her but she was pretty raw and she swore a lot so I liked her. My favourite though was a woman called Fabian Dattner.

Fabian was captivating like no other woman I had ever met. She was also celebrating her 60th birthday on that very day! To me Fabian was like the Ruth's of Clare's I had met. A total force to be reckoned with, a powerhouse of everything a woman should be and a fantastic role model. So as I listened to all these amazing women speak I just felt a sense of what i was doing was right. Those before me had walked very similar paths. And I know it all comes down to money. EVERYTHING revolves around money its just that simple. But as I started to listen more this started to slip away. Now I totally had a moment, and it may have been that residual espresso martini creeping in from the night before that I should NOT have had, but you and try to keep your wits intact as you stand amongst 500 others harmonising in unison, singing, as Clare Bowditch rips over the top telling you YOU are somebody and fuck the others who tell you you can't. I welled up like a baby.

So thats what i want to take away.

I am somebody.

My contribution is valid.

I am important.

I think it was that feeling of connection. All these creative people striving together to achieve what they want in life but helping each other along the way. And for me it's happiness. Thats what I want. Thats what I choose.

Adelaide wrap up yo

These are a few snaps from my last trip to Adelaide. I can't remember if I talked about this or not.....I'm going to go with not. This was my very first solo drive over in my very new ute, Stevie Nicks. I am very proud to say we made it over in one piece and lil Stevie kept me safe, even in torrential rain. My husband had his doubts about me driving alone and rightly so seeing as I seem to turn into Rip Van Winkle as soon as we have pulled out of the driveway.... but I did it. Next time I think a pal to keep me company on the drive home would be best, that bit I was real tired and it felt a whole lot longer.

I got to hang out with my family which is always awesome. I always wish it is for longer. There is nothing like being home. The sights and smells are so familiar. Only thing that would make it better was if my sister was there too. And a dog. I think my parents should get a dog....

This magnificent lagoon is my nan and pa's pool. 

And this gorgeous creature is my very dear friend Lisa. Lis is such a champion. I miss her all the time. Lucky for me she is coming to visit next week!!! I can't wait.

And the Fringe was on while I was home so I totally lucked out! Adelaide fringe is incredible. 

But lets not forget why i was in town, to puff some glass damnit! And puff glass I did. Me and my trusty team of Dani and Jaan also with the additional sub of Georgie. I just love working with those guys. They are such skilled makers and they just make my entire session a dream to work. Not only are they my mates, they work ridiculously hard for me. And Dani lets me stay with her! I sure do love them a whole bunch. If only I could get them to move to Melbs....

I feel so torn at the moment. I love Adelaide and all it has for me. Family, friends, work, but I love Melbourne for all it's potential and opportunities. I feel like in Melbourne I am back to being a little fish in a big pond. It's tough out there when you run your own business. I just feel like I need a little break, some inspiration, a little silver lining to my cloud. Sometime I feel Melbs is just too cool for me and I get sick of the hype and the hunt for the next big thing. You know, the cool factor, I'm over that. I just want to be happy with what i make and have avenues for it to flourish. I'm a hard little worker bee and I enjoy working hard but I just need some ease to be injected into that work life, I can't have the struggle all the time.

This is taken from one of my very favourite places, Hillside Herbs, a giant succulent and herb farm. So beautiful and every species under the sun. 

And these are some new pieces I have been playing around with.

I'm not exactly sure why I keep this blog, I think it must be just for me? I know people read but I'm curious as to why no one really comments. Must be just for me. Good job me, your'e a good guy at stuff, chin up kid. (Thats what I would comment anyway..)

The epic T2 job

So fresh off the back of a big Adelaide trip I can finally show you what all the fuss was about. I had the pleasure of designing and making glass works for the new fit out of T2's flagship store on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy.

So I have been working at T2 on and off for, ooh, like, over three years now. I started out managing the  very first Adelaide store in Rundle St for a year then when we moved to Melbs I just snagged a spot as a casual at the Melb Central store. I have been a big fan of T2 way, way before I worked for them. Huge tea drinker and I can remember whenever we came over to Melbs I would ALWAYS stock up on tea at T2. T2 is so essentially Melbourne to me. I love the story behind them and I love that 18years ago two sisters started up a little tea shop on Brunswick Street that I'm sure they had no idea just what an iconic brand they would be creating.

T2 is more than just a brand, it's a culture. I think they are such an interesting company who really value their staff. They have such great vision and they are just expanding at a rapid speed. But what i really love about T2 is the caliber of women that work for them. T2 really is about strong, intelligent driven women and this is something that resonates really deeply with me. These ladies? They know whats what.

  So after three years of weaseling it seems i have finally weaseled my way into the brand myself. It's only now that it's really sinking in the opportunity that has been given to me. So Fitzy is the mothership. It's the very first store, it's Maryanne's baby. And after 18 years, Fitzy is getting a makeover. The pressure riding on this alone must have been incredible. How to retain her integrity but give her the spruce she needs? They wanted something special from me so I designed and made for them 17 "smell domes".

The smell domes are a take on the bell jar and scent bottles. What they do is display the tea on offer and trap the scents beautifully. The beauty is that the glass houses the scent so perfectly. It means that a customer doesn't have to stick their beak in the tea, they can just hold the glass up and take a whiff. How dainty! I'm so stoked! This could be my most successful design yet! Not only aesthetically pleasing but it does the job. Yeah boi! Self high five.

So yeah, its been challenging and lessons have been learnt....but ultimately I am happy with the end results and ridiculously excited at the possibilities that may come. 
Now to celebrate, here's a picture of me with a donkey. (His name is ok-dokey)


Today is the day......The day for.......


Can you believe it?! A techno weenie such as myself being a big wig on the interwizzle with her own site! HA!
A big, big thanks must go to my very talented husband who worked to tirelessly on this to make it the beautiful thing it is. Isn't he clever? 

So please head on over to, ahem:

(under lined and everything, must be legit.)

Anyone might think this is the year for going pro........