Shopping for Art

In my opinion, it’s not until you put some art up on the walls that a house truly becomes a home. Until then a space can look bare and unloved.

Entry view from the top of the stairs

Entry view from the top of the stairs

These days it’s not so hard to find some great artworks that either tug at your heart strings or work beautifully with your decor. It’s such an individual thing. Some people love art and others know they should have something so opt for a piece that suits their home and colour scheme. There’s no right or wrong when it comes to selecting artworks.

Let It Go by Robyn Kennedy

Let It Go by Robyn Kennedy

Our friend, textile artist Robyn Kennedy has recently opened an online shop over at Etsy. You will find a range of artworks starting at $90.

Eyes On Mariko by Roby Kennedy

Eyes On Mariko by Roby Kennedy

Do pop over and view Robyn’s work and see if something tugs at your heart strings.

If you would like assistance making your house a home, contact us for an online or in-person consultation.

Where to buy Art

Red and Gold Asian Artwork One of the last items to go into a home makeover is usually art pieces and other wall decoration. Sometimes the client already has a collection of pieces they have acquired over the years and they may choose to use them (hanging them in a different location or having them reframed) or perhaps new pieces are required.

Original artwork I find art a very personal item and therefore don’t tend to get too involved in the selection when assisting clients decorate the home in which they will live. However, over the years I’ve collected a vast array of websites and stores which specialise in artworks and I usually steer my clients towards them to make their own choices. Some of these are more decorator pieces to coordinate with the decor and colour scheme of a room. Many times that’s all a client requires, just something to fill a space and create some interest.

Blue and Yellow artwork Art galleries and dealers can be very helpful when looking for original artworks. You don’t have to pay a King’s Ransom to own original art either. There are many affordable artworks on the market. A dealer can help locate the perfect piece to suit your budget. Many local schools and charities hold Art Shows to raise funds and these too can be a great source of works.

Red and Orange Artwork However, I still feel the artwork needs to speak to the occupants of the home and be their selection. I would hate for any of my clients to tell their friends that “it’s there because the decorator said so”. A house has to reflect the personality and styles of the client to be truly comfortable. Choosing artworks can be a very lengthy process. Only purchase something when you are positive that you will be happy looking at it every day of the week.

Brown and Blue Bedroom Some of my “go to” places for sourcing artworks are listed below. Check them out for yourself. And don’t forget if you need some assistance putting the final touches onto your home renovation or make-over, contact us for a consultation.

Seaside Canvas

Botany Bay Art

La Grolla

Designer Boys

Smart Art Direct

Gallery Oscar

Soho Art Gallery

Dalozzo Art Gallery

Robyn Kennedy

Karen Benton

Urban Road


What does Gotye and Florence Broadhurst have in common?

Are you familiar with the art of Emma Hack? I first noticed Emma’s work at the Affordable Art Fair in Sydney in 2009. How could you not notice? What looked like Florence Broadhurst wallpapers suddenly started moving. A body (usually of a woman) suddenly came in to view as they were painted in the same pattern. They seemed to be floating infront of the canvas. And if you’ve been following my blog, you know I am a HUGE fan of the Florence Broadhurst patterns.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 5.08.41 PM Emma’s work featured in the award winning Goyte film clip ‘Somebody I used To Know’. Emma is ‘Popping Up’ at Signature Prints in the coming weeks to showcase her new release of Limited Edition Art! The artist explains “… merging the human body with the wallpaper designs of Florence Broadhurst results in an illusory, stunning image of nude humanity on natural, stylish patterns”.


This Pop Up exhibition marks the exciting release of two new designs from the Florence Broadhurst Archive featuring Emma’s muse camouflaged into the wallpaper environment. Emma explains that her “… choices ‘Fans’ and Phoenix’ are bold, oriental designs that are quite different from past works… in lower editions so very collectable”.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 5.08.02 PM The exhibition is open at the Signature Prints Studio 2, 1-5 Hayes Road, Rosebery this weekend.
Friday 29th November: 9am – 5pm
Saturday 30th November: 10am – 4pm
Sunday 1st December: 11am – 4pm

And on Saturday 30th November, Emma Hack will be doing a meet and greet, 11am at Signature Prints. The artist will explain the process she goes through when creating her unique pieces, how she came to collaborate with Signature Prints and what she finds so intriguing about Florence Broadhursts’ designs.

Screen Shot 2013-11-28 at 5.08.26 PM If you would like assistance adding art to your home, contact us for an appointment.

How to create a plate wall

Back in the early ’90’s I started buying interesting and bread and butter sized plates. Mostly they were blue plates and reminded me of a day trip or a holiday. I always think it’s nice to buy something special when you are away as that piece brings back so many happy memories.


So when I renovated my Queensland Workers Cottage in Brisbane I had a Mexican Plate rack made for the kitchen. All my plates were lined up on the rack and it added colour to my all white kitchen.

Brisbane Worker's Cottage

Brisbane Worker’s Cottage

Those plates have been in storage for the last 15 years as we’ve moved around the world and pending our home renovations.

Renovations underway

Renovations underway

A few years ago I stumbled across Lisa Congdon’s kitchen and loved how she displayed her plates on the wall. So for the past 12 months I’ve been scheming as to which wall I could use to display my collection.

Lisa Congdon's Plate Wall

Lisa Congdon’s Plate Wall

To me, the most natural location for a plate wall is in the kitchen. After all that’s where you use plates! There is one skinny wall between the bifold doors and the kitchen sink so I chose that wall.

Wall between the bifolds and kitchen sink

Wall between the bifolds and kitchen sink

I pulled all my plates out and measured the wall. I lay the plates on the kitchen table but it wasn’t wide enough to really work out how it would look. So I made templates of each and every plate. (Fortunately I didn’t have as many as Lisa) Now that I had the sizes I started to blutac the paper templates on to the wall. But I realised I wouldn’t know which was which with all white paper circles. So I drew an image of the plate onto the templates.

Plate Templates

Plate Templates

Now I could stick them up on the wall and for about a week I would move the paper plates around until I was happy with the layout. I wanted a “sweep” layout. You know, as if  someone was standing infront of the wall and throwing the plates up and they would stick. Bang, bang, bang. That’s how I wanted it to look.

Finally I was happy with it all and was ready to hang the actual plates. But wait. I needed to make sure the colours were evenly dispersed and didn’t end up with all the blue and yellow plates being together. So a couple of final tweaks and it was ready.

I used plate wires, which I’d bought at Bunnings, to hang them all. So it was just a matter of measuring where the hook would go in relation to the rim of the plate, banging it into the wall, pulling off the paper template and hanging the plate.

Plate Wires

Plate Wires

Now it’s a great talking point and makes the house look more like a home.

Finished Plate Wall

Finished Plate Wall

If you would like assistance with making your house a home, contact me for an online or in-person consultation.


My Mum the Artist

Ever since I can remember, my Mum has painted. My grandmother used to have a painting in her lounge room of Peter Pan which Mum had painted at the age of 7. She won an art competition with that very painting.

The Cloche -Art Deco painting incorporating textiles and embellishments as a phone case

The Cloche -Art Deco painting incorporating textiles and embellishments as a phone case

In my early years, I remember her going to Chinese Painting classes and has often said that medium gave her discipline with her brush strokes. Over the years she has studied with some of the greatest contemporary Australian artists and has used their styles and methods but changed it to suit the way she paints. Her work has always evolved.

Print of Carnevale original painting by Dulcie Clegg

Print of Carnevale original painting by Dulcie Clegg

I have no doubt my eye for colour and design stems from being surrounded by art and colour all my life. Mum has an uncanny knack of seeming to know the latest colour or trend. Many a time I’ve returned from trade fairs and rung her to say there was a profusion of dragonflies or purple or art deco at the fair only for her to tell me that she had just completed a painting with that colour or motif.

Taking Flight by Dulcie Clegg as an iPad Skin

Taking Flight by Dulcie Clegg as an iPad Skin

Mum’s just been down in Sydney from her home in Brisbane. I took the opportunity to load some of her artworks onto Society 6. This website will provide giclee prints, ipod and phone cases as well as cushions from her artwork. It’s very exciting seeing her paintings transformed into cushions and other medium.

Enchanted Garden by Dulcie Clegg as a cushion

Enchanted Garden by Dulcie Clegg as a cushion

I feel very fortunate to have such a talented mother. Contact me if you would like further details of her work.



Fairy Tales for Hope

I can’t think of anything worse than losing a child. I don’t think it would matter what age you or the child were. It’s just not the way it should be that the child goes before the parent.

The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling

With all our medical knowledge there are still many families being affected by stillbirth. One such family was Melbourne parents Simon and Sally Heppleston who after a healthy 40 week pregnancy had to face a future without their baby and without the fairy tales they had planned on reading to her.

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp

Aladdin and the Wonderful Lamp

Melbourne Graphic artist Tonia Composto, a family friend of the Heppleston’s, decided to create a limited edition of prints to fund stillbirth research. The Fairy Tales for Hope project, which has already sold nearly 2000 prints and raised almost $40,000 for the Stillbirth Foundation Australia, has a set of new illustrations celebrating various dates in the calendar. The original release of fairy tale artwork is still available and would look great in a child’s bedroom. And what a good cause your purchase would be supporting!

Three Billy Goats Gruff

Three Billy Goats Gruff

Sadly, six families in Australia suffer this devastating fate each day, with more than 2000 babies stillborn each year. “I still can’t believe this happens to people daily,” said Ms Composto. The grief, the sorrow, the injustice of it breaks me down. Sally never hid her grief and has fought for Hope’s memory since the day she lost her.”



Art and About

Remember the beautiful designs of Bethany Linz?

Coloured Floral Woodblock

Her solo exhibition is currently on at Balmain and has the official opening tomorrow.

I’m sure Bethany would love to see you. Make sure you tell her I sent you. Enjoy your weekend.


Mixed Media Artist – Robyn Kennedy

Many years ago there was a cute little homewares store in Cammeray called The Ginger Jar. Whenever my mother visited from Brisbane we would head out to a different area and visit all the shops. One such time, we stumbled upon The Ginger Jar and I fell instantly in love with an artwork by Robyn Kennedy. I had never seen anything like it before and it was made from gorgeous Asian textiles. I just knew the artwork would be a great addition to my collection of Asian furniture and decorator pieces that we had collected during our three years living in Hong Kong. So I bought it!

A few years later, I came across Robyn’s name again and visited her solo exhibition in Woollahra. Mum was down from Brisbane and we were both in awe of Robyn’s exquisite pieces. So much work involved in every single piece! Since then I’ve kept in touch with Robyn and am delighted that she has agreed to answer my questions on her life and art. I hope you enjoy this interview.

Can you tell me a little bit about your background and what led you to the beautiful textile artworks you create?

For many years I’ve had an interest in interior design and the decorative arts. In the early 90’s I worked for an interior design company as their CAD operator….I think quite good training for the intricate work I do now!

The samples library the designers used for selecting materials and finishes for their projects was well overdue for a major cleanup and luckily I worked that weekend! As the designers added to the pile of “rubbish” I promptly removed pieces that I found attractive, particularly the textiles and timber veneers. I couldn’t believe all the gorgeous materials that, once admired, were now destined for the tip as “discontinued stock”.  I knew that if I could, I would create something beautiful with them, to let them live on and be admired once again.

The next few years saw a flurry of creativity coming from my dining room – hours spent experimenting with different techniques mixing textiles, papers, photographs and timber veneers with beautiful found objects from nature, and then weaving metallic thread and other embellishments into the work. All of these pieces were “miniature art” and perfect for the then very popular handmade card market, when cards were not only a beautiful message but also a gift to frame.

After returning from a year overseas I was keen to get creative again, but on a much larger scale! The first larger works I created were two Japanese style Kimono figures made from antique pieces of Indian textiles (collected on my travels), contemporary textiles, gold leaf and metallic thread…they were very gorgeous, aged in appearance and they caught the light beautifully. This style of work developed over time into a series of exotic women, inspired by the women and textiles from Japan, China, Africa, Turkey and Uzbekistan. This was the starting point for my life as an artist – that was 1998.

Where do you find your inspiration?

The obvious and most immediate inspiration usually comes to me from a piece of fabric I particularly love, and more recently photographs I’ve taken on my travels. However, I do find inspiration everywhere – flowers, butterfly wings, exotic birds, sea shells, rock pools, autumn leaves, light, shadows, reflections, expressions of love, dreams, the female form, fashion, jewelry, art, architecture, interiors, Japanese style….and heaps more!

You use gorgeous textiles in your artworks, where do you find them?

 As mentioned earlier, the start of my collection was in the early 90’s with textiles from the Interior Design industry. I found that many of the large fabric wholesalers were keen to give away boxes and boxes of old textiles – heaven!

I’ve also discovered the beauty in antique hand stitched textiles from India (Rajasthan wedding gowns), Turkey and Uzbekistan. Travelling to these countries is not so frequent, so I make sure I buy plenty whenever I’m there.  

 I also adore the wonderful selection of Japanese antique and contemporary textiles from Edo Arts in Sydney, and for contemporary fashion textiles I usually go to Tessuti Fabrics in Sydney.

Can you briefly explain your design process?

In general it’s quite a spontaneous process which starts with a gorgeous piece of textile or more recently a photograph. I try to visualize what would enhance this “feature piece, the focal point”. I’m thinking colour, pattern, texture, what shapes I’m going to use, will I introduce sheer fabrics and the like. Having selected the materials I then build the image layer by layer using acid free adhesives. Finally I apply all the embellishments – I particularly love this part of the process as this is when it all comes together and it starts to sparkle and speak to me!

Do you have an all time favourite piece that you have created?

It’s always the piece I’m working on, although a number of the works pictured are my favourites.

Is there an artist (or artists) that you love right now?

Australian artists Shannon Crees, for her beautiful street art (I have one!) and Emma Hack for her exquisite body painting/photography images (would love one). I also love Wendy Arnold’s works.

What’s next for Robyn Kennedy?

Although the ‘exotic women’ series are still very popular, I do enjoy experimenting with many other styles and techniques. In my most recent exhibition, I introduced photographic collage using photographs from my travels which were overlaid with sheer textiles and embellishments. I plan to explore the ‘photographic collage’ in more detail, seeing what I can create in a smaller format using photography,  textiles and papers…. and of course intricate detail. My next solo exhibition (date still to be decided) will be a series of small works.

In March  2013 I will be exhibiting at the Balmain Watchhouse with 2 good friends, Karen Visser who captures beautiful imagery through photography and Grazyna Wollman who creates the most amazing kaleidoscope of gorgeous patterns and colors. My works in this exhibition will be current and past works, so it’s a good opportunity to see the development of my art over a number of years.

If you are interested in embarking on a journey of textile art, Robyn runs workshops at her home in Sydney.  Contact Robyn for more details.

Textile Designer Bethany Linz

Artist and Designer Bethany Linz spent five years in the Mokum Studio as Senior Textile Designer. She is responsible for many of Mokum’s more exquisite and embellished designs. Recently Bethany has decided to go it alone and spend more time on her craft and in particular, printmaking and embossing. I spoke with Bethany to gain a little insight into her world.


Can you tell me a little bit about your background and what led you to creating exquisite designs?

Since I was four I knew I wanted to be an artist and, with the help of my creative mother and Steiner school education, I was lucky to fuel that dream. After my school education I studied art in Newcastle, where I was very fortunate to have acclaimed artists such as Michael Bell and John Morris as teachers. I have also been very lucky to have travelled a lot and experienced different cultures. I think having such a creative up-bringing and then designing in the Mokum studio helped push me that little bit more and helped to make me the artist/ designer that I am today.


Where do you find your inspiration and how do you transfer that to a design?

Like most artists/designers, inspiration can hit me at any moment – to me it doesn’t even have to be visual, I can be inspired by smell, music and novels. When I’m feeling a little lost for inspiration though, I know I’ll always find it in the Gallery of New South Wales in the Australian section.  It’s not just the artworks that inspire me, it’s the artists that never gave up on their dream and defied the odds and became part of our history.

Floral Woodblock

When you create your designs, do you have an end use or product in mind?

Having worked in the Mokum studio for five years, I learnt how to forecast trends and design textiles for specific applications, for example upholstery or feature cushions, so naturally with my art I also keep interiors in mind. I make lots of my embossings very neutral but, because I love colour,  I like to create some that are a little more ‘out there’,  just to please myself and if they never sell, I’ll be happy to hang them on my own walls.

Coloured Floral Woodblock

What is your favourite part of designing?

I really enjoy the researching at the beginning of the process, I love history and I find that art has always been at the heart of it and documented better than any other form of history. I also find at the end of the whole process the most rewarding part of being an artist/designer is looking at the finished product – after all the hard work that’s both physically and emotionally exhausting – and being satisfied.

Art Deco

Is colour an important part of your design or is texture more important?

Years ago, when I was walking through a gallery with one of my mother’s friends, she asked me what artworks I was drawn to.  After observing my choices, we both discovered it was colour that drew me to each one, not necessarily the subject matter. With my own work I love to apply different colours to the same design and see how dramatically the colour can change the mood.  It’s amazing how colour can make a design look completely different.

Dancing Crane

Who is your design idol?

William Morris for design and Henri Matisse for his incredible use of colour.

William Morris’ Trellis Wallpaper Design

What does a typical day at the office involve for you?

Every day I need to divide my time up so I can spread myself across my work evenly. I’m currently finalising my embossings for my forthcoming solo exhibition in Sydney (at the “breathing colours” art gallery, Balmain from 25 September to 6 October 2012).  I’m also illustrating my second children’s book , which I must admit is extremely challenging, but can be very rewarding.

Bethany Linz

What’s next for Bethany Linz?

I would love to establish myself more as an artist and keep creating more embossings. In the near future I would also love to create a wallpaper collection that ties back to my art, but at the moment it’s just a dream.


You can follow Bethany on her blog, Bethany Linz. And don’t forget to pop in to “breathing colours” between September 25 and October 6.

Designer Artworks

Do you remember those lovable boys from series 1 of The Block? After appearing on the show in 2003, Gavin Atkins and Warren Sonin were highly sought after for their interior design and property styling skills and established Designer Boys Interior Design. After almost a decade of assisting clients Gavin and Warren followed their creative talents and built a wholesale art business that provides original designs and exceptional service to interior designers, architects, decorators, hotels and specialty retail stores.

The Block Team Series 1

The boys recently launched their new catalogue full of gorgeous pieces. I asked the duo a few questions about their inspiration for this collection.

Who is your design idol?

It’s Mother Nature of course! We are constantly inspired by her magnificent work and beauty all around us. Living in the Byron Bay hinterland we are constantly reminded about the beauty of nature & how the palette changes with the seasons. One of the biggest reasons is when you sit in a beautiful natural setting, like a rainforest, you feel uplifted, calm & exhilarated all at the same time. This is a true sign of great design – energetically it changes the way you feel in a very positive way! Mother nature will always be our idol & it’s ashamed that so many people are losing touch or even frightened of nature.

Leaf Motif III from Central Park Collection

What is your top tip for buying artworks?

We love to purchase artworks that are textural & with a touch of nature – it helps reconnect you to nature & you feel very grounded. When you view an artwork it should make you feel good inside. It should have nothing to do with the price tag… It could be an emerging artist or a decorative piece that you personally admire. It’s in the eye of the beholder…

Landmark I from the Print Collection

What is your favourite room in your current home?

Now that’s hard one! We’ve just finished building our home & it’s an 1880’s farmhouse which we have extended and made contemporary for today’s living – so many rooms are our favourite – it was custom to all of our needs. The living room is particularly special with large windows overlooking a magnificent valley – wherever you sit in this room you can see the rolling green hills, the cows grazing & the sky. At night we light our oversized stone fireplace. It sets the ambience for the entire room.

Indigo Coral – also comes in Charcoal and Rubine Red

How does living in the Byron Bay Hinterland influence your designs?

We live on 60 acres & surrounded by nature everyday. It’s truly inspiring for us. We are at our happiest & most creative when we have time out from our busy lives just to recharge ourselves on our hinterland property. It’s what we define as our new luxury – having the space & the solitude to reenergise our creativity – that’s priceless. This luxury has nothing to do with money or expensive labels. It’s all about taking time out with nature, to be mesmerised by it’s beauty. So many of artworks have been inspired by the beauty around us. The textures in particular!

Fern Motif III is embellished with luminous mother of pearl shell and elegant beading

Your art collections are very textural. Is texture something that needs to be included in a room design?

We love mixing textures in our own interiors and we did for a long time when we doing interior design & decorating for clients. On the mood board, clients would often question why we use so much textures in our design palette & with many of them clashing. We would always say that you will need to trust us & of course, the finished product would always be a proud moment, when clients would often ask why they feel so good in their rooms we create for them. Our secret is the use of texture, symmetry & balance in all of our designs. All of artworks are about the use of textural materials made from natures and showing them their best.

Message Sticks – raw organic beads

Your latest collection includes a range of colourful prints. Is there a reason you’ve introduced so much colour into your range?

Weaving colour into any ones life is true magic – it makes you feel good, but not too much. Some designers can go over the top with colour and it can make you feel uneasy. We like using a splash of colour in our designs to uplift the spirit and to create a focal point in a room. In this art collection we’ve introduced the beauty of colour through sophisticated water colours. The reaction has been overwhelming and we must agree colour is the NEW black!

Feather Abstract Print

What’s your favourite piece from your new collection?

Everyone has a favourite Designer Boys artwork and we’ve created our art collection to meet the diverse range of tastes from our clients. However, the Lexington Collection is one that stands out. It is a strong geometric design that is made from soft cow hide, silver foiling & mother of pearl shell. It is all handcrafted and designed by us. It’s very sophisticated and was a big seller at Decoration & Design in Melbourne.

Geometric Hide Motif 1 from The Lexington Collection

I’m sure you will agree the pieces are just gorgeous and I can’t wait to use them in my next interior. Thank you Gavin and Warren for providing such beautiful artworks and answering my questions.

If you would like to include one of these pieces in your home, contact us for details.

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