Claim your Northern Territory dome!

I love the orange and red hues of this dome; it reminds me so much of the bright, unique orange dirt you find all over the Northern Territory. I don’t know who gave me this one, but you did good!

John Kaldor, art patron and businessman said ‘collecting art is like a drug’. Take out the word ‘art’, and I am in love with his quote even more! I finally managed to see the most valuable gift ever given to an Australian gallery today. The Art Gallery of NSW converted their storage space (2 levels down) to exhibit John Kaldor’s family collection. And it takes on a special dimension as you view the likes of Christo, Sol LeWitt and Jeff Coons because you know each piece has been handpicked by this one man. I particularly loved Thomas Demand’s photography of paper recreations (even the friendly art minder didn’t want me to walk away thinking they were just photos of leaves). Demand created leaves from paper and photographed them in various lighting conditions.

The diversity within this $35 million collection – painting, photography, sculpture, light and video, just serves to magnify your respect for Kaldor’s open-minded vision. A worthy little excursion for when the weather turns!


Andie, Greenwich (UK), July 2010

I’m not really sure how, but a couple of months back I discovered Charlotte Farmer, an artist from the UK. I instantly fell in love with her illustrative style and as I perused her work, my eyes nearly popped out of my head when I found her snowdome prints and dome tea towels! It was not long before I was planning my next birthday gift from the Hubs. And this birthday-in-June gift (titled Around the world in 20 snowglobes with Elvis in a gold suit) arrived today! Should I call it 6 months early or 6 months late? Apologies for my bad i-pic, I’ll take a better one when there’s better light.

It is SO BEAUTIFUL with little goldleaf bits! I can’t wait to get it framed and up on the wall. Thanks Charlotte, I LOVE it!

The Hubs’ quote: “You’re so happy you look like you’re in pain!”

Thanks for holding it up Hubs!

Andie, Brussels (Belgium), Feb 2009

The colourful flowers on the base

For their 20th anniversary edition, Colors magazine compiled a collection of Collectors. This was the awesome little gift my lovely friend Cookie surprised me with on the weekend. 20 collectors, 108 pages, 111 photos, 11550 words and 147234 objects! And people think MY collection is weird. Check this out: a woman who collects her used tea bags, a man and his 600 handcuffs, 10000 banana labels, 2000 rolls of toilet paper, and wait for it, political memorabilia including a Bin Laden branded country stew! Now this obsessive nature is something I not only understand, but it seriously warms my heart. Wow, people like me! And when it has some hilarious quotes like ‘ordinary people usually think that we’re a little bit crazy, that we don’t have better things to do’, I have to admit, it’s moved up the ranks to become one of my favourite books.

Me, London (UK), Oct 2010

If you cast your mind back, I blogged about a £650 dome we saw in London’s Tate Modern gift shop late last year. I was so overwhelmed by the price tag that the somewhat familiar artist’s name faded into the background. For some strange reason that I can’t even begin to explain, it all clicked together today!

These domes were created by none other than Walter Martin and Paloma Muñoz, famous for their dystopian landscapes. These were two in a larger collection of snowdomes called ‘Travelers’ featuring dark, eerie frozen landscapes. What I would give to own one of these! I think my favourite is the Traveler that murders someone with a rock. Is that bad?

Travelers, 2001-2007, Installation view at PPOW Gallery, New York, 2003

Traveler 257 at Night, 2008

Traveler 132 at Night, 2004

The Well, 2004

Traveler 156 at Night, 2005

Images courtesy of


Shirley, Tokyo's 100 Yen Shop (Japan), Feb 2011

When you grow up in each others’ pockets and your fathers are best buddies, you might as well call each other family. So when I talk about Shirley, I always affectionately call her my cousin. Shirley has spent the last 3 years devoting herself to a scholarship masters degree at the Tokyo University of the Arts while living on carrot sticks, sultanas and occasionally some sake when she’s got the money.

She’s returned briefly with a suitcase full of artwork and more importantly, to be fattened up by her grandmother! On her last visit home, she asked friends to draw their dream spinning top on a postcard which would form the basis of a year-long project – the results now being exhibited at the Gaffa Gallery. The pieces are colourful, intricate and what I love is that each contributor (via their postcard) adds as much humour as the artist does. It’s a beautiful harmony of individual artwork and Shirley’s 3D interpretation. My favourite was the albino alpaca, which just needed a little bit of water to transform it into a spinning snowdome top. It’s definitely a lot of fun and she’s had an amazing response to it, so check it out. There’s even a little table filled with spinning tops so you can spin yourself out!

Unfortunately, I caught the tail end of the exhibition, so there are only a couple of days left. They stop spinning on Tuesday.

Shirley's The Spinning Top

'Albert the albino alpaca is dancing upon the spinning earth'

The Newfie's beauty inspired by a German postage stamp

A beautiful red skirted spin

A hovering UFO

Some more magical pieces

Spin yourself out!

Shake 318: A glass and a half

February 17, 2011

Ngoccie, Mayrhofen (Austria), 2010

The other side

Drunk-texting. That is always a mistake. Drunk-blogging? That should be banned too. When I drink, I get all warm and fuzzy and love everyone. Take the Cadbury girls (don’t ask why I call them the Cadburys, it makes no sense at all). Three gorgeous girls: one is intriguingly adventurous, trouble makes a concerted effort to seek out the second and the third is the best drinking buddy you could find. When I meet with these girls, it’s like the world is a beautiful place where no evil exists, so I’m always extremely grateful and can’t even begin to express what this special friendship means to me. Will I look on this piece of prose tomorrow and be horrified? I’m so afraid I will.

SF2011: Mirazozo

January 14, 2011

For some barefoot mood, ambience, colour and wonder, check out the Architects of Air’s Mirazozo on the Opera House forecourt. For small and big kids alike!

Thanks for an awesome harbourside day ladies.

On the Sydney Opera House forecourt

The Green Dome

The Centre Dome roof

The Tree

Cookie and Scrabble Girl reflect!

Cookie & Newfie, New Zealand (2008)

Coffee, macaroons and a bit of art. Could you ask for a sweeter day? With the launch of the biggest Biennale of Sydney yet, we made our way down to the MCA for a bit of inspiration today. But before we could feast with our eyes, we had to inspire our stomachs. Gazing at all the exquisitely beautiful handmade cakes, desserts and pastries at La Renaissance Café Patisserie, I began to understand why this is a favourite haunt of my mate – Scrabble Girl. One fluffy croissant down, it was impossible to resist the macaroons – my favourite was the salted caramel, but the blackcurrant ganache and fresh raspberry were undeniably enjoyable.

It was hard to tear ourselves away from the quaint courtyard, but art was calling. Amongst a range of interesting and confronting work, I found a gem in a trio of work by Swedish artist, Martin Jacobsen. Beautiful and surprising. I really need to get to Cockatoo Island next, the Biennale’s signature venue.

To celebrate my day with Cookie & Newfie, I am two domes up from the Museum of Sydney, yay!

Kaz, Spain, Year?

Tonight I was inspired by a wonderful, passionate Spanish artist/designer best known for his creation of the Barcelona Olympics mascot and his gorgeous illustrative style. Javier Mariscal suffered from dyslexia which meant he spent much of his youth drawing, so you can see where the love for his art and his rich personal language developed.

The Studio popped downtown to hear him speak about his latest project: Chico & Rita, an animated film mixing his graphics with Cuban jazz and plenty of salsa (expected release date of Nov 2010). Just from the snippets he showed, I felt like I’d been whisked away into the post-war 1950s which he described as his favourite decade: rich in colour, music, neon, cars, and an era when we felt immortal. Even through his broken English, there was no mistaking his passion for his work and music – sometimes he would just break into the groove mid-presentation. He was so cute!

So, a Spanish dome for a bit of Spanish flair tonight. Thanks Kaz… where are you?

Shake 15: Rants and Poms

April 19, 2010

Shiney, London (UK), 2008?

I love design and I love food, but tonight I chose the former. I missed the first episode of Masterchef Australia (Season 2) to hear some designers speak about their work, experiences and inspirations (get IQ I hear you say… I might consider it when tv becomes increasingly important, but right now I’d rather have a faster internet connection thanks). One group in particular had me really excited – Toko, a Dutch pair with beautiful design sense who have just recently moved to Sydney. This was the first time that the association held their industry event at the very new and cool Surry Hills Library, so I felt like I was hitting two birds with one dome – not only would I have the privilege of hearing some fantastic globally acclaimed designers, but would finally have the chance to see this gorgeous new space. What a disappointment – a technical problem ruined it. The sound system was so bad that we heard approximately ever second word that was spoken, even though the crowd repeatedly piped up and complained about it. I felt like I was ripped off, so my potentially high night was a bit of a low. That’s my rant for this week… and it’s only Monday!

Let’s move to a happier topic. What else eh?

Ten years ago, I packed my bags for a six week around-the-world tour with my very good friend Lea. A majority of our time was spent in Europe, but we unfortunately never hit the English shores. Considering we lived on free bread sticks from trattorias, stole tissues from hotel toilets and didn’t take the optional flight to Abu Simbal (one of the MUST-sees in Egypt), London was looking pretty pricey. I can’t believe it’s already been a decade, but it looks like I’ll finally get there this year to collect my own English dome. I am preparing by avoiding the word ‘heaps’ and conversations about ‘witches hats’.

Thanks to my jetsetter friend Shiney, who seems to be perennially on holidays. Shins, was it 2008?