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Furry felines and deluxe digs with Where They Purr author Paul Barbera

Photographer Paul Barbera’s showcase of enviable interiors and the enigmatic cats who call these places home is one of a kind. From a heritage-listed Victorian terrace to an art-filled inner-city warehouse, Where They Purr uncovers a range of cheeky cat’s domains and their predilection for sunlit nooks, mid-century furniture or rooms with a view.

We spoke to Paul about how his talents for photography were first recognised, what sparked the Where They Purr project and a few challenges he encountered along the way.

What led you to the world of interiors and lifestyle photography?

I would say it chose me more than I chose it, at least with interiors photography. In my early twenties, I did a small furniture shoot that got shown to Karen McCartney. At the time, Karen was head of Marie Clare Lifestyle and booked me for my first editorial job almost straight away. It sort of went on from there and wasn’t something that I had necessarily set out to do. At the time, I was too young to appreciate beautiful interiors and spaces and could barely afford them. A well designed space is a natural extension of yourself and what you see, and goes back and forwards between the way you like to live and what you like to photograph.

Your work has been featured publications like Elle Decor Italy, Vogue Living Australia and Grazia France and you have worked with incredible advertising clients like Marriot Hotel & Resorts, Samsung, Amazon and Starbucks. Can you tell us a bit about your commissioned work?

I am lucky that many of my clients book me for what I do rather than just providing a specific brief that requires me to morph what I do. I often collaborate with brands on the creative or art direction. I get to do a range of jobs including high production shoots all the way down to instances where it is just me and a camera doing a portrait for a magazine.

Photography: Paul Barbera

How does Where They Purr continue on from your first two books Where They Create and Where They Create: Japan?

Where They Create and Where They Create: Japan evolved from my already existing website, blog, Instagram and Facebook page capturing me shooting studios. Where They Create was a topical and unqiue collaboration with Frame and was a zeitgeist of the moment. I’m not the first or last photographer to shoot creative spaces but I put my own spin on it. With all three of my books, I have discovered a casualness which I don’t have when I’m on a commissioned shoot. The connection I would draw between Where They Create and Where They Purr is a very relaxed approach to shooting formal spaces.

Photography: Paul Barbera

What have you learnt about the relationship between furry felines and beautiful homes over the process of bringing this project to life?

I learnt that shooting interiors has nothing to do with cats and shooting cats has nothing to do with interiors. It took a very delicate balancing act between trying to capture detail in a space with limited light and a cat jumping and moving quickly through the space in an unpredictable and almost Olympian fashion.

I also realised the accuracy of Jean Cocteau quote that says ‘a cat becomes a home’s visible soul.’ You rarely find a cat that doesn’t match the interior, and I don’t think that is because they’re chosen that way but because they become a reflection of the space. I’ve never met a cat that didn’t feel natural in the space [I am shooting] – besides one, but I’m going to leave that one alone because the cat wasn’t necessarily a full-time occupant of the house. I’ll leave people to guess which cat that might have been.

Photography: Paul Barbera

Did you encounter many challenges during shooting?

I had three cameras running to enable me to pop in out depending on what the cat was doing. I discovered that treats don’t really work, but equally a full cat is a chill cat. I also found that you really need owners to help wrangle their cats while you try to balance semi-styling and curating the space and positioning the cat in the spot that you have set up. Challenging to say the least!

Do you have a favourite cat from the book?

There’s something special about all of the cats. Pud, who is Broderick of B.E Architecture’s cat, was as velvety and rich as the interior I was shooting. As I reflected I realised that Pud was a reflection of Broderick and this made him a favourite for me. Esmerelda was eccentric as was the Sue Carr house I shot her in. Raphael and Fellini were so in sync with each other which made them a pleasure to photograph and their space by Tamsin Johnson Interior Design was beautiful. Winston Fluffybum was another favourite – just a beautiful silhouette in her Robson Rak Architects home. I also enjoyed photographing Gus and Freddie in their incredible Arent&Pyke space. Molly was a little bit absent, but her lack of care made her fun to photograph. Carol, Luther and Harvey Crafty were wonderful too.

Where They Purr is available now. Text by Paul Barbera and Queenie Chan and design by Evi O and Nicole Ho.

AU$ 65.00


Posted on October 14, 2021
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A Redfern Oasis from The City Gardener

In The City Gardener, Richard Unsworth takes us on a journey through urban spaces that are lush and blooming with creative expression. As our concrete jungles continue to grow in both size and density, the cultivation of green sanctuaries inside city limits has never been more important. In this extract, Unsworth showcases the innovative design and immaculate execution of a garden in the inner-city suburb of Redfern.

Photography: Nicholas Watt

Redfern is an exciting and diverse suburb sitting at the southern end of Sydney’s CBD. Like other inner-city suburbs, it has a working-class history. However, over the years it has become gentrified as property prices have grown and young professionals flocked there, wanting to live within walking distance of the city. I bought my first house in this colourful suburb and, after leaving Darlinghurst, Garden Life had its second home here on busy Cleveland Street for more than eight years.

Its densely packed terrace houses have mostly been renovated to provide their owners with modern conveniences and better connections to their rear garden spaces, which, like those of Paddington and other inner-city areas, can be rather small and confined.

This project was no exception. The traditional cottage was originally a small single-level dwelling just 4 metres wide. Beyond the original frontage, the renovation by BKH architects added another level and a single large room at the rear of the house, which connects beautifully to the rear garden.

Photography: Nicholas Watt

The client is a prominent Sydney florist and he approached us to help him with his garden renovation. Working with flowers all day long is his life, so when we first started talking about the garden, the subject of blooms was way down the list. Overall, our brief was simple. He was keen to see greenery, lots of it, in all different forms, as well as grow some herbs, hang out his washing and keep a few fish. Apart from that, he left the direction to us. We discussed creating a ‘jungle madness’ of contrasting planting. I’ve always been drawn to a rainforest environment and love the stillness that comes with being surrounded by dense greenery, moisture, coolness and fresh, oxygenating leaves. 

When designing a garden in a confined space, we usually exercise restraint. We are careful not to overcrowd and work to avoid appearing cluttered. But the client wanted absolute abundance, so we had the opportunity to play with all kinds of textures and foliage forms without being concerned it would look too crammed. We put constraint to one side and started to think about what we could pack into a space measuring just 9 by 4 metres.

In terms of structure, we inherited minimalist polished concrete that flows seamlessly from inside the house out into the small rear yard. The same material continues up into wide steps connecting the upper level, which is only marginally larger than the lower. On the upper level, we needed to create a practical floor that you could stand or sit on, but wanted something soft and unobtrusive when viewed from the lower level. We went with large amoebic-shaped bluestone pavers, mass planted with kidney weed and native violets to grow over all the edges.

Photography: Nicholas Watt

The three boundary walls needed to disappear to create a feeling of more space, so these were painted in a deep charcoal colour. Dark boundary walls always help bring planting into the foreground and the plant colours are intensified as a result. The light conditions in the little garden are very mixed. Much of it is in shade for a lot of the time from surrounding trees and neighbouring foliage, although some parts are open to the hot western sun in summer. The planting we selected had to be shade tolerant and very adaptable to hot sun when necessary.

While the garden was to be densely planted, it was still important that the form of each individual plant could be seen. So we made sure that we didn’t put similar foliage types together, but rather created contrast. For example, we placed tall, ribbon-like leaves of iris behind small, round forms of silver plectranthus. A large stainless steel tray was submerged at the rear of the garden and filled with water plants and fish. We added a small fountain and submersible light.

Our client liked the idea of mirrors to visually expand the space. They can work well in small gardens to trick the eye, help bounce light around and reflect foliage, but it’s important to consider what they are reflecting. It needs to be something worthwhile rather than simply an opposing wall. We designed a large mirror that consisted of a grid of smaller panes and placed it at the back of the garden so that it would reflect the foliage and water surrounding it. Mirrors are most effective when the edges disappear into the planting. Climbers work well in softening the edges, whether they are loose and twining on wires or attaching themselves tightly to the surrounding walls. What’s important is to have a mirror bedded into greenery.

Photography: Nicholas Watt

When it came to planting, we wanted interesting foliage that worked well together, creating a cohesive feel and addressing practical concerns. Privacy was an issue from adjacent houses so we added a clumping bamboo sitting next to the mirror at the rear and subtropical foliage such as elephant ears, philodendron and dwarf cardamom. 

On the walls we planted creeping fig and star jasmine to green up the boundaries, as well as huge staghorn ferns. Cactus and succulent forms were included in the planting mix and they sit surprisingly well with the more subtropical plants, giving the garden a certain edge. Some of these sun-lovers work well in shady, dry gardens, including foxtail agave, orchid cactus and variegated snake plant. 

Over the years, when our store was around the corner, our client curated a collection of interesting vintage pots and vessels. It was a good opportunity to fill some of these with quirky specimens and place them around the perimeter. Their strong forms add personality and character, and softly define the spaces around the foliage.

Photography: Nicholas Watt

This garden works because there is a pleasing balance of both hard and soft landscape. The wonderful minimalism and clean lines of the raw concrete and the wide stairs stretch out the width of the yard and contrast with the abundance of greenery. The negative space of the built form is just as important as the foliage, as it provides the structure. When viewed from inside, the surround of the bifold doors acts like a frame for the artwork of the garden beyond. The finishing touch is a mirror ball hanging high above the dining table in a flowering gumtree, ensuring that every day is a disco, come rain, hail or shine.

Photography: Nicholas Watt

The City Gardener is available now. Text by Richard Unsworth and photography by Nicholas Watt.

AU$ 49.99


Posted on October 11, 2021
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Our favourite works from Richard Travers’s Hilda

Born in Ballarat, Victoria, Hilda Rix Nicholas held her first solo exhibition in Paris in 1912. On sale were drawings made in Morocco earlier that year. The French state bought one of them, Grand Marché, Tanger, for display in the Musée National du Luxembourg. Hilda’s career was launched. She was twenty-eight years old.

Hilda: The Life of Hilda Rix Nicholas champions the Australian artist’s life and work. Even more significantly, this fascinating book illustrates a wonderful truth: out of adversity can come great beauty.

Below we share some of our favourite artworks in a gallery exclusive to T&H subscribers.

Une Australienne, 1926. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

Picardy Girl, n.d. Private Collection.

Moroccan Loggia, 1912-1914. National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.

Two Women in the Market Place, Tangier, 1912-1914. Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.

The Monaro Pioneer, 1922. Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide.

The Studio, Paris. n.d. Private Collection.

Howard Ashton, 1948. National Library of Australia, Canberra.

Hilda: The Life of Hilda Rix Nicholas is available now. Text by Richard Travers, artworks © The Estate of Hilda Rix Nicholas 2021 and design by Jenny Zimmer and Jenny Bolis.

AU$ 65.00


Posted on October 1, 2021
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Six myths about vaccination – and why they’re wrong: an extract from The Conversation’s new book

No, You’re Not Entitled to Your Opinion is the ten-year anniversary collection of essays that put The Conversation on the map. Together, these fascinating essays chart the course of the world over the past decade. 

In the extract below, Post-doctoral Fellow Rachael Dunlop discusses and dissects six common myths about vaccination.

Recently released government figures show levels of childhood vaccination have fallen to dangerously low levels in some areas of Australia, resulting in some corners of the media claiming reignition of ‘the vaccine debate’.

Well, scientifically, there’s no debate. In combination with clean water and sanitation, vaccines are one of the most effective public health measures ever introduced, saving millions of lives every year.

Those who claim there is a ‘debate’ will cite a series of canards designed to scare people away from vaccinating, but if you’re not familiar with their claims, you could easily be convinced by anti-vaccine rhetoric.

What is true and what is not? Let’s address just a few of the common vaccine myths and explain why they’re wrong.

1. Vaccines cause autism

The myth that vaccines are somehow linked to autism is an unsinkable rubber duck. Initiated in 1998 following the publication of the now notorious Lancet paper, (not-a-Dr) Andrew Wakefield was the first to suggest that the measles mumps rubella (MMR) vaccine might be linked to autism.

What he didn’t reveal was that he had multiple conflicts of interest, including that he was being paid by lawyers assembling a class action against the manufacturers of MMR, and that he himself had submitted an application for a patent for a single measles vaccine.

It eventually unravelled for Wakefield when the paper was retracted in 2010. He was struck from the medical register for behaviour classified as ‘dishonest, unethical and callous’ and the British Medical Journal accused him of deliberate fraud.

But once the idea was floated, scientists were compelled to investigate, particularly when it stood to impact public health so dramatically. One of the most powerful pieces of evidence to show there is no link between vaccines and autism comes from Japan, where the MMR was replaced with single vaccines mid-1993. (See ‘Japanese study is more evidence that MMR does not cause autism’ by Andrew Cole.) Guess what happened? Autism continued to rise.

After this door closed, anti-vaxxers shifted the blame to thiomersal, a mercury-containing component (not be confused with the scary type that accumulates in the body). Small amounts of thiomersal were used as a preservative in some vaccines, but this never included MMR.

Thiomersal, or ethyl-mercury, was removed from all scheduled childhood vaccines in 2000, so if it were contributing to rising cases of autism, you would expect a dramatic drop following its removal. Instead, like with the MMR in Japan, the opposite happened, and autism continues to rise.

Further evidence comes from a recently published exhaustive review examining 12,000 research articles covering eight different vaccines, which also concluded there was no link between vaccines and autism. (See Adverse Effects of Vaccines: Evidence and Causality, editors Kathleen Stratton et al.)

Yet, the myth persists and probably for several reasons, one being that the time of diagnosis for autism coincides with kids receiving several vaccinations and, also, we currently don’t know what causes autism. But we do know what doesn’t, and that’s vaccines.

2. Smallpox and polio have disappeared so there’s no need to vaccinate anymore

It’s precisely because of vaccines that diseases such as smallpox have disappeared.

India recently experienced two years without a single case of polio because of a concerted vaccination campaign.

Australia was declared measles-free in 2005 by the World Health Organization (WHO) – before we stopped being so vigilant about vaccinating and outbreaks began to reappear.

The impact of vaccine complacency can be observed in the current measles epidemic in Wales, where there are now over 800 cases and has been one death, and many people presenting are of the age who missed out on MMR vaccination following the Wakefield scare.

In many ways, vaccines are a victim of their own success, leading us to forget just how debilitating preventable diseases can be – not seeing kids in calipers or hospital wards full of iron lungs means we forget just how serious these diseases can be.

3. More vaccinated people get the disease than the unvaccinated

Although this sounds counterintuitive, it’s actually true, but it doesn’t mean that vaccines don’t work, as anti-vaxxers will conflate it. Remember that no vaccine is 100 per cent effective and vaccines are not a forcefield. So, while it’s still possible to get the disease you’ve been vaccinated against, disease severity and duration will be reduced.

With pertussis (whooping cough), for example, severe complications such as pneumonia and encephalitis (brain inflammation) occur almost exclusively in the unvaccinated.

Therefore, since the majority of the population is vaccinated, it follows that most people who get a particular disease will be vaccinated, but, critically, they will suffer fewer complications and long-term effects than those who are completely unprotected.

4. My unvaccinated child should be of no concern to your vaccinated one

Vaccination is not just a personal issue, it’s a community responsibility, largely because of a concept known as ‘community immunity’. This describes a level of vaccination that prevents epidemics or outbreaks from taking hold and spreading.

Some people question the validity of this concept, sometimes referred to as herd immunity, but the impact of it breaking down can be easily observed in places where vaccination levels fall dangerously low – take the current measles outbreak in Wales, for example.

The other important factor about community immunity is it protects those who, for whatever reason, can’t be vaccinated or are not fully vaccinated. This includes very young children, immunocompromised people (such as cancer sufferers) and elderly people.

5. Vaccines contain toxins

A cursory search of Google for vaccine ingredients pulls up a mishmash of scary-sounding ingredients that to the uninitiated can sound like ‘franken-science’.

Some of these claims are patently untrue (there is no anti-freeze in vaccines) or are simple scaremongering (regarding the rumour of aborted foetuses, in the 1960s some cells were extracted from a foetus to establish a cell line that is still used in labs today). Some of the claimed chemicals (and, remember, everything is made of chemicals) are present, but are at such low levels as to never reach toxicity. The simple thing to remember is the poison is in the dose – in high enough doses, even water can kill you. And there’s fifty times more formaldehyde in a pear than in a vaccine.

Also, if you ever read the claim that ‘vaccines are injected directly into the blood stream’ (they’re not), be sceptical of any other claims the writer is making.

6. Vaccines will overwhelm kids’ undeveloped immune systems

The concept of ‘too many too soon’ was recently examined in a detailed analysis of the US childhood immunisation schedule by the Institute of Medicine (see The Childhood Immunization Schedule and Safety: Stakeholder Concerns, Scientific Evidence, and Future Studies). Experts specifically looked for evidence that vaccination was linked to ‘autoimmune diseases, asthma, hypersensitivity, seizures, child developmental disorders, learning or developmental disorders, or attention deficit or disruptive disorders’, including autism. The researchers confirmed the childhood vaccination schedule was safe.

The number of immune challenges (between 2000 to 6000) that children fight every day in the environment is significantly greater than the number of antigens or reactive particles in all their vaccinations combined (about 150 for the entire vaccination schedule).

The next time you hear these myths about vaccination, you’ll hopefully have some evidence up your sleeve to debunk them.

This is an extract from No, You’re Not Entitled to Your Opinion, edited by Alexandra Hansen and available now. Text by Rachael Dunlop, Post-doctoral Fellow at the University of Technology Sydney. Originally published on 26 April 2013.

AU$ 29.99


Posted on September 30, 2021
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A slice of Southwestern France with Sara Silm

Australian stylist, cook and journalist Sara Silm spent much of her life travelling the world before buying the dream-like Chateau Montfort in 2015. Through a lens of colour, texture and flavour, she brings us a taste of life in the French countryside in her bright new book How to French Country.

We spoke to Sara about her life of wanderlust, what readers can expect from the book and some tips on living your dream.

You grew up in Sydney, worked in the Middle East and South Africa, lived in Russia and Kazakhstan before eventually purchasing Chateau Montfort in Southwestern France. What inspired you to travel and experience the world the way you have? 

I think it was my first trip overseas. My father was a great hiker and managed to organise a six-week expedition to base camp of Mount Everest (by fax) when I was just 11 years old. This was well before the internet and organised group trekking, so we did it as a family with yaks at altitude, and lower down, with porters. We eventually walked out into India and celebrated in a beautiful old British Raj hotel set amidst the tea plantations of Darjeeling. That trek opened my eyes to a world that was ripe for adventure; a fascinating temptation that demanded to be explored. There was no going back at that point, I was hooked.

I think what really intrigues me about living in other cultures, though, is the thrill of being outside of your comfort zone: of being confronted with new smells, tastes, cultures, languages, sounds and sensations, so strange and wondrous that you’re forced to engage all your senses and truly live in the moment. I think I learnt from a very early age that I wasn’t very good at existing in a predictable environment. It felt like living life in a constant circle. I’m more a linear kind of person. I’m captured by the thrill of what lies beyond the ridge or around the bend.

What do you find most rewarding: writing, cooking or styling?

It’s probably photography actually, closely followed by writing. There’s not a single day I don’t have a camera in my hand. Nothing gives me more pleasure than capturing light, colour and the beauty of everyday life in a lens, whether it’s on my big professional camera or simply an iPhone. It’s a kind of obsession if I’m honest; a bit like a mad stamp collector or an entomologist collecting insects in a net. The thrill of fishing through images at the end of the day is honestly one of my favourite things in life. You just never know what might be waiting for you. It’s those unexpected split seconds that managed to find their way into the frame: the purity of emotion captured in the that precious moment when laughter or doubt or wonder registered in the subject’s face. When light weaves itself through the grass like ribbons on a maypole or when you capture the whimsy of an everyday object that would otherwise remain unseen and unappreciated.

As for writing, it’s something I don’t ever choose to do. It just happens, daily. I can remember writing and illustrating my own little books when I was very small, and it’s continued in one form or another throughout my life. The actual typing of it at the computer is such a small part of the process. The bulk of my writing happens in my head when I’m walking the dogs, or in the garden, or in the car… which might explain why my children often complain that they need to ask me the same thing two or three times. I’m constantly in my own little world!

Photography: Sara Silm
Photography: Sara Silm

Tell us about a day in your life at Chateau Montfort.

I can’t pretend that life here at Chateau Montfort isn’t filled with the same all-consuming logistics that determine the routine in most family homes; there’s no escaping that. But a typical day here is very much dictated by the season; more so than in other places I’ve lived. I love to watch the sunrise which is the best way of knowing what month you’re in — it can be early or it can require a rather long wait in the dark. Most days start with a walk along the old Roman road that hugs the ridge behind Montfort. It’s a kind of mental meandering through the tasks for the day as well as through the landscape which, like us, changes in subtle ways from day to day. Some days the Pyrenees poke their snow-capped peaks through a blanket of soft cloud. Other days they stand proud in a clear blue sky. In autumn there are chestnuts to be gathered from the forest floor and roasted on the fire at night; ceps to be foraged and sauteed in butter and garlic. In summer there are fields of wild mint for making refreshing iced tea and wild blackberries — something my dogs delight in snacking on as we meander along the track. They’re truly French dogs!

Most days I’m in the garden tending to the potager, the perennial beds, the chickens and the goats (they’re always escaping) and collecting flowers, herbs & foliage for the house — there are always fresh flowers in the house, even in the depths of winter. I adore the farmer’s markets, so depending on the day (each day the market is in a different village) I’ll be sipping coffee at a little bar somewhere with the other early risers out to bag the freshest produce before the lazy ones make their way at a more respectable hour.

The AGA is generally laden with pots bubbling away with jam and chutney and inevitably a daube or casserole in the simmering oven. I’m almost always restoring a piece of furniture, and nearly six years on, the house renovations continue. I’m currently decorating both my son’s rooms. One is at university, and the other has just started at boarding school in Dublin so I’m finally reclaiming these teen-dens and making them my own, or at least more hospitable for any future girlfriends!

Photography: Sara Silm
Photography: Sara Silm

Your new book, How to French Country, is the ultimate guide to surrounding yourself with French country style no matter where you are in the world – a welcome delight for Australians itching to travel! What can readers expect from the book?

It’s a book that’s intended to be very much a handbook. It’s both a lifestyle and regional guide that might inspire a future trip to this beautiful but largely lesser-known part of France. If travel isn’t an option, it’s also a way of bringing home a little bit of France, be it via a recipe, colour palette or décor option, no matter where you live. I know how hard it can be to make a home feel authentic, especially if you don’t know where to start or where to find materials that express the way you want to feel, so I included a chapter that charts the course of our little stone barn. It’s essentially a mini house, so it formed a perfect vignette that allows readers to see how each room developed in real-time (it was renovated and shot by me over the course of nearly two years). Essentially, it’s a book that provides the perfect escape from the four walls that have defined our lives for these past months, and years in some cases. A way of reassessing what’s important to us and the way we want to live going forward.

Photography: Sara Silm

It seems to us that you are living the dream – do you have any tips for readers looking to do the same?

I think the pandemic has been an incredible opportunity to refocus on dreams — both personal and those in the interest of our planet. Life is so fragile and so short, there’s no time to waste. Dreams remain just that if action isn’t taken, so my advice has always been to move ahead and make them a reality, no matter how big or small. There are always obstacles, especially when you throw in foreign countries and ancient buildings, but if you break a dream down, be realistic about your expectations and take one day at a time, you will get there. Dreams take grit and determination and sometimes many years in the making, but the reality is thrilling. Far more thrilling than the alternative of doing nothing and allowing them to simply exist in your mind.

What’s next for you?

I’m very excited about my upcoming collection of wallpapers with Sandberg, one of my favourite Swedish wallpaper companies. There’s a wonderful historical link between Sweden and the Béarn, so we’re developing some beautiful designs with this in mind. As the world gradually re-opens, I’m also starting to develop some new travel guides for my website and a wonderful series of inspiring interviews with creatives who are living their bliss. Esther, my Nubian goat doesn’t like the rain and has asked for an indoor hay manger in her maison so there’s that…and perhaps a new rose bed. You can never have enough roses!

How to French Country is available now. Text and photography by Sara Silm and design by Daniel New.

AU$ 59.99


Posted on September 28, 2021
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Landscapes of our Hearts has won a prestigious prize at the NSW Premier’s History Awards

Landscapes of our Hearts was one of our most significant releases of 2020; it changed our perception of Australian history in a big way. From award-winning writer and ecologist Matthew Colloff, the book explores the history of our relationship to this ancient continent, offering the possibility that a renewed connection to the landscape and each other could pave the way towards reconciliation.

Earlier this month, Landscapes of our Hearts took home the NSW Community and Regional History Prize for the 2021 NSW Premier’s History Awards. The award recognises a significant contribution to understanding of any aspect of the history of New South Wales. We are so proud of Matthew and our team for this huge accomplishment.

Congratulations to all of the recipients of this year’s awards – check out the full list here.

Landscapes of our Hearts: Reconciling People and Environment is available now. Text by Matthew Colloff, cover image by Louise Denton and cover design by Allisa Dinallo.

AU$ 34.99


Posted on September 28, 2021
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Three nurturing recipes for your emotions, mind and spirit

Did you know that medicinal plants can work wonders for your emotional health? In her revolutionary new guide The Plant Clinic, Erin Lovell Verinder says that ‘plants have a phenomenal ability to adapt their medicinal offerings to the needs of the people. They hold space for our process, bringing ease and comfort, lifting the proverbial storm clouds within us, calming the nervous system and assuring us with a warm embrace.’

Read on for three of Erin’s incredible recipes to help support your journey to better mental health and wellbeing.


Calm Candies

Who doesn’t love candy? These rose-dusted, ‘clean’ candies, infused with a synergistic quintet of calming plants, are sweetened only with honey. They are always a hit with the kids. Savour these nectarous, golden-hued jewels, to bring on an instant dose of peacefulness.

Photography: Georgia Blackie

Herbal Ingredients

  • 2 teaspoons dried passionflower leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried lemon balm leaf
  • 2 teaspoons dried chamomile flowers
  • 2 teaspoons dried skullcap leaf
  • rose petal powder (to dust)

Method

First, make 1/4 cup of strong medicinal tea infusion with the herbal ingredients, brewing the tea for at least 20 minutes before straining through a fine-mesh sieve. Add the infused tea base and 1 cup of honey to a heavy-bottomed saucepan and simmer over medium to high heat. It’s
best to use a candy thermometer here, as the mix needs to get to around 150°C (300°F). This will take around 25–30 minutes. If you do not have a thermometer, you can test if the candy is ready by dropping a little of the mixture into ice cold water. If the mixture is ready, it will harden instantly! Do be very careful, though, as hot sugar burns can be very serious and very sore.

Once ready, pour your candy mixture into small silicon moulds (any mould will do, but the candies are much easier to remove from silicon) and allow to cool completely. Remove from the moulds and dust with your herbal powder of choice (such as the rose petal powder in the Calm Candies remedy recipe, p. 278). You can roll each candy in baking paper for freshness and portability, or store sealed in an airtight container for 2–4 weeks. If you live in a warmer climate, keep these in the fridge!


Floral Bath

Sometimes the simplest interventions feel entirely luxurious, and this herbal practice is one of them. Floating in a bath of warm water scattered with precious petals is a treat for the mind, body and spirit. This remedy is perfect for when you may be feeling weary, fatigued, compressed, low and a little lacklustre. When choosing the floral plant portion of the recipe, consider aromatic herbs such as lavender and rose to inspire relaxation and rejuvenation.

Photography: Georgia Blackie

Herbal Ingredients

  • 1/2 – 1 cup fresh or dried medicinal flowers (e.g. lavender, calendula, chamomile, rose and rosemary)

Method

Mix the flowers and plant material directly into the running bath water – they will float and bob around merrily.

Soak up the serenity for 20 or so minutes.


Lion’s Mane Tonic

For those sluggish mornings or slumpy afternoons where you might find yourself in the thick of fogginess and in need of motivation. This warming blend lights up neurological powers and vitality – in part due to the awesomeness of the medicinal mushroom, lion’s mane, which is paired with chai spice tones and adaptogenic maca root. Implement this sustaining treat to renew your capacity for focused endurance.

Photography: Georgia Blackie

Herbal Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon lion’s mane mushroom powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger rhizome powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon maca root powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon lucuma powder
  • a pinch of ground black pepper
  • a dash of raw honey or sweetener of choice

Method

To make a warm mylk tonic, add the herbal ingredients and 1 cup plant mylk together in a milk frother and set to ‘warm’, or heat gently in a saucepan. If adding raw honey as a sweetener, ensure that your tonic is not boiling hot, as excess heat will degrade the honey’s beneficial enzymes. Once warm, pour into your favourite mug, dust with a little cinnamon, sip slowly and savour the warmth.

To make a cold mylk tonic, add the herbal ingredients and 1 cup plant mylk together in a milk frother set to ‘cool’, or blitz in a blender. Then simply pour into a tall glass over ice, sprinkle with edible petals and enjoy.

The Plant Clinic is available now. Text by Erin Lovell Verinder, photography by Georgia Blackie and design by Noah Harper Checkle.

AU$39.99


Posted on September 14, 2021
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Inside Christine Yahya’s Body Wonderland

Welcome to the greatest, most inclusive, 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle you ever did see.

Christine Yahya is the joyful Armenian-Australian graphic designer and illustrator behind Pink Bits, created in 2016 to provide representation for realistic and diverse bodies rarely shown in mainstream media.

Fittingly, Christine has channeled her work into one our most exciting projects yet, Pink Bits on Body Inclusivity. This puzzle invites you to look beyond clothes and embrace a world of stretch marks, scars, stoma bags, body hair, mastectomies, vitiligo and asymmetrical boobs, where people of all abilities and identities can find joy and feel safe. Follow the path that leads to Mount Everbreast, toss a coin into the Let it Flow fountain, borrow a book from the community library or simply sit and watch the ducklings.

Want to find out more? Watch as Christine chats through her favourite parts of this game changing puzzle in the video below.

Pink Bits on Body Inclusivity is available now. Illustrations by Christine Yahya and design by Casey Schuurman.

AU $29.99


Posted on September 14, 2021
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Welcome to The Plant Clinic, a love letter to living vibrantly

Last year we were blown away by the love we received for herbalist and nutritionist Erin Lovell Verinder’s debut title, Plants for the People. So many readers had been seeking a modern approach to using complementary medicine and Erin expertly answered their calls with an evolution of herbal-medicine books of the past.

Erin’s new venture The Plant Clinic is a revolutionary guide that delves deeper into the restorative potential of plant medicine, helping to manage and diagnose over 100 health concerns. The book features 150 recipes for teas, tinctures, syrups, salves, vinegars that promote healing across vitality, immunity, detoxification, the gut, hormone health, mums and bubs, hair and skin, emotions, mind and spirit. Erin’s empowering words are underscored by herbal wisdom and amplified by Georgia Blackie’s ethereal photography.

Get a feel for this essential guide with the introduction to the book, extracted exclusively for our Thames & Hudson community.

Photography: Georgia Blackie

Healing is no joke. It can be uncomfortable, messy and all-consuming, and it is certainly a nonlinear undertaking. The journey of healing is much like the metaphor of peeling an onion: healing lies within every layer, and as we peel each one back, we get closer to the heart. In uncovering the layers, we begin to change our perceptions and expressions of ill health. We awaken to see the patterns, the stories, the feelings held within ourselves.

As a clinical practitioner I witness all sorts of presentations, revelations, breakdowns and breakthroughs. Throughout any given week in clinic, there will always be a myriad of lovely clients sitting in front of me sharing their health stories, ranging from longstanding chronic conditions to acute complaints. I have learnt that my own health challenges and experiences have shaped me as a practitioner, and my ability to understand, guide and hold the space for others moving through their health challenges stems directly from my own experiences.

Years ago, I personally went through a terrifying chapter of burnout. I had been moving fast in many aspects of my life; emotionally I was frayed, physically I was weary. Changes needed to be made in my life. I felt the nudge of a physical symptom, yet I did not fully listen in. I have learnt the hard way that we often do this; as a coping mechanism, we ignore the messages of our bodies. Perhaps we cannot quite look at it or we aren’t quite ready to hear it. We look away, wipe our hands of it, dust ourselves off and keep going. For me, this was a grave misstep.

Photography: Georgia Blackie

My physical symptoms hit me like a bus. Literal waves of panic shook my body, yet my mind was still. Waves of anxiety washed through me. I was feeling out of my body, sped up and shaky. Cortisol rushes consumed me, and I really could not do much to keep them at bay. I went down allopathic treatment paths, with no answers and no solutions. I had no choice but to listen to my body, to make changes and to allow myself the space to heal.

Although the six Pillars to Thrive (p. 16) are age-old essentials, this is when I truly grasped the importance of these practices. In my own darkest moments, I dived headfirst into these practices to heal my body. I drank the water it was thirsty for. I balanced my blood sugar with nourishing food, eating with determined consistency to anchor my body. I connected to nature and let her fill me up everyday, swinging in my hammock under the trees and sitting in my garden. I moved my body ever so gently when I was able. I listened to my internal self-talk, adjusting each self-limiting thought with nothing but love and gentleness. And I rested. I rested so much; I cleared my calendar. It was not easy, but I knew I needed to. Healing demands a level of surrender, and surrender takes a whole new shape when you really face the true meaning of the word.

Photography: Georgia Blackie

I leant heavily on plant medicine during this time, following my own plant protocols morning, day and night. Adaptogenic-rich herbals such as ashwagandha and rehmannia reshaped my internal stress response. Nervine-rich herbals such as passionflower, oat straw and skullcap helped to ground my nervous system. They were potent calmers of the cortisol rushes. They brought the light of hope with swift improvements and feelings of resilience returning. I got better very quickly. Within three months. This may seem like a long time, but when you are at rock bottom, a return to full vitality within three months is its own kind of radical.

While this experience truly brought me to my knees, it also offered me incredible insights and cracked open my life in a really wonderful way. I set a new pace, I now honour rest and know my limits lovingly, I lead with my heart and have learnt to not overextend myself. The whole breaking down to break through concept is quite literally the epitome of my (albeit messy) dance with burnout. Working with the plants allowed me to get to the very root of the issue. There was no shortcut or quick fix. I was worn so thin that I had to build from the ground up. This was deep healing.

Photography: Georgia Blackie

In the Clinic

Unsurprisingly, I work with many burnt-out people. It is a natural side effect of our times, a modern epidemic of sorts. We have strayed far from the rhythms of nature, from a time when the simple rising of the sun and the setting of the moon were our compass. Instead, we wake to alarms and live our lives with various forms of technology dictating our daily movements and schedules. How can we all keep up?!

It’s an incredible thing to watch clients return from the brink of brutal burnout with the assistance of restorative herbs and the Pillars to Thrive (p. 16). Often, one particular symptom, like poor energy, for example, improves with gentle interventions (such as herbs and rest), meaning fewer energy dips in the day; then sleep deepens, and gradually vitality is regained. This is the process of healing; one element affects another, and the pieces of your inner puzzle unite.

One client had been dealing with chronic bloating for a long time. She had tried every diet, had seen all sorts of medical specialists and undertaken invasive investigations with no results or improvements. After years, she turned to the plants. We discovered that her chronic digestive bloating was more a reflection of her internal emotional landscapes. Her response to stress was an inability to digest, a classic irritable bowel syndrome–like symptom. Once we had set up a herbal treatment plan – such as the Bloating Protocol on page 148 – to lean on, incorporating digestive herbs such as chamomile, lemon balm and fennel to calm her belly and her stress response, we had an incredible breakthrough. When her awareness shifted to working with plants to support her process, she transformed her bloating woes.

Photography: Georgia Blackie

My own plant path has been an example of science and spirit finding their way back to each other. I am a Bachelor-level herbalist. My training was heavily clinical and science-based – involving the study of botany, anatomy and physiology, pharmacology, symptomatology, pathology and biochemistry of the body – alongside the sweet song of herbalism. However, when I embarked on the path of natural medicine as an eager teenager, my first learnt system of healing was energetic healing, with its esoteric view of health. Since then, I have also dedicated years to my nutritional medicine studies, learning about the therapeutic benefits of food and the power in edible nourishment. I have merged my years of study and training with my years of clinical experiences, witnessing countless breakthroughs in my clients’ ill health, working with them in restoring true health. What I am most certain of, is that you deserve to hold all of the tools that are needed to decode the messages being sent by your body and being.

Choosing the plant path takes us deep into the riches of traditional folk medicine and ancestral herbal therapeutics. We return to the old ways, marrying time-honoured approaches with contemporary practices and forging new ways to work with plants to heal our bodies and beings. The roots of herbalism run deep, and it is about time we found our way back to working with the plants to heal.

This book is not intended to replace individualised professional advice on healthcare and wellbeing, nor is it is intended to treat, diagnose or cure. It is recommended that you consult your naturopathic practitioner, herbalist or GP when seeking healthcare support; health runs deep, and there is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach. As such, when working with plant medicine, it is advisable to consult a herbal materia medica to become familiar with any cautions or contradictions which may be applicable to your situation. Please be aware that some pharmaceutical drugs and plant medicines can interact in unintended ways, so it is essential that you gain advice from your health care professional if you are already taking any prescribed medications.

This is an edited extract from The Plant Clinic, available now. Text by Erin Lovell Verinder, photography by Georgia Blackie and design by Noah Harper Checkle.

AU$39.99


Posted on August 29, 2021
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The dazzling world of Fiorina & Francesca Golotta

In her latest book A Room of Her Own, author and photographer Robyn Lea captures the hearts and homes of twenty extraordinary women around the globe. Whether they be artists, designers, makers or curators, these women have a common ground when it comes to new ways of thinking, and of course, daring to lead creative lives.

In this extract, we put the spotlight on two of our Melbourne-based favourites from the book: jewellery designer Fiorina Golotta and photographer Francesca Golotta. Read on for their chapter and find out how you can win a copy of the book and a pair of Fiorina Jewellery’s coveted logo earrings.

Photography: Robyn Lea

Ensconced in her bedroom in suburban Melbourne, threading shark’s teeth and shells onto string to make herself a necklace, seven-year-old Fiorina Golotta embarked on a small creative project that marked the beginning of her life’s work. Two years later, while accompanying her father, Tony, on a trip to his native Italy, the fate of her subsequent creative career was effectively sealed. The European history, architecture, art and jewellery she saw there made a profound impression, and the wildly contrasting aesthetic she found at Bangkok airport en route – ‘Everything was shiny: mirrored beads, gold flowers and jewellery … it was phenomenal’ – was equally intoxicating. By her tenth birthday she was fully accessorised in her own jewellery designs.

Not long after, Fiorina’s younger sister Francesca had her own creative epiphany. On his forty-fifth birthday, Tony was given a coffee-table book, Italia Mia, featuring photographs by 1950s film-star-turned-photographer Gina Lollobrigida. Francesca pored over its pages of Italian street scenes and interiors and, encouraged by Fiorina, was soon experimenting with photography.

Photography: Robyn Lea

As Fiorina grew older, her creative work became inextricably linked to her sense of self. The handcrafted jewellery and talismans she made were not just objects of beauty and self-expression, but also tools of resistance. Tony, raised in poverty in conservative postwar southern Italy, wanted his children to pursue academic paths and corporate careers. So he saw his elder daughter’s creative impulses as an expression of rebellion. Fiorina agreed. ‘To be creative was a point of rebellion, an escape, an expression and  a statement,’ she explains. ‘Jewellery made me feel uplifted, and it gave me an identity and an immediate shield.’ It also exposed her to other ethnicities and cultures beyond the scope of her traditional upbringing, such as Native American groups, whose wisdom  and protection she sought.

Fiorina left home at eighteen, a decision her parents did not welcome. Armed with freedom and independence for the first time, she discovered a different side of Melbourne, though was soon ready to move further afield. After throwing herself into a world of diverse ideologies and the underground music scene in New York City for a year, she returned to Australia and settled in the village of Kuranda in far-northern Queensland. There, she lost herself in a cathartic period of experimentation and self-development. Her new routine included working in an African bead shop, which offered her an informal education in tribal jewellery. ‘African beads are not just decorative – they have a deeper cultural value. They are also religious, and some of them contain prayers,’ she explains.

With a new sense of confidence in her creative needs and direction, fostered by several years of travel and exploration, she returned to Melbourne to study jewellery-making and started sharing a workshop in Little Collins Street. It was around this time that the sisters’ parents divorced. ‘It led us all to new paths,’ says Francesca, ‘and forged instant freedom. It meant we were no longer as engaged in the deep-rooted traditions of the Italian community.’

In 2003, when their father was terminally ill with cancer, Fiorina and her work were featured in a prominent magazine. A family friend visiting the bedridden Tony  presented him with a laminated copy of the story. It was a defining moment of public recognition of Fiorina’s work that made him incredibly proud. Similarly, the night before the hanging of Francesca and their brother Maurice’s joint exhibition in 2002, they felt their father’s enthusiasm. Francesca remembers: ‘We were decorating these little icon frames we had made and nailing coins onto them that Fiorina had given us. Dad was going through chemotherapy at the time and feeling very unwell, and suddenly he came alive and insisted on showing us how we should do it.’ As the exhibition opened, another chapter was coming to an end. There was not only new-found peace between Tony and his daughters but a celebration of all they had created.

Photography: Robyn Lea

In 2008, Fiorina and Francesca triumphantly opened Fiorina Jewellery on High Street Armadale. Its ornate golden doors open to an interior dotted with velvet chairs and antique mirrors, interspersed with polished cabinets displaying a magical array of handmade pieces. The walls feature Maurice’s artwork and Francesca’s photography.  The workshop upstairs is the heart of the atelier, where all the jewellery is made. Tiny drawers are filled with a kaleidoscope of coloured gems and stones, and the collage-style decor includes evidence of Fiorina’s travels, influences and interests.

Francesca’s ability to be both the creative sounding board and the practical voice in the business continues to guide her sister, and Fiorina believes the differences between them are as important as their similarities. ‘We’re different people, and that’s probably why it works,’ she explains. ‘Franca is a true Renaissance woman, she’s romantic. I’m very fiery in comparison, and I learn from my mistakes afterwards. My aesthetic is more tribal and rustic, hers is more elegant and refined.’

Photography: Robyn Lea

These days, working with specific stones and materials continues to feed Fiorina’s sense of wellbeing. ‘The stones have power,’ she says. ‘It’s about finding something that elevates you, something that helps you get through the day, the month, the year, the decade.’ She finds the properties of stones potent: ‘They give me the clarity needed to have the right thoughts, which lead to the right actions.’

Colour is also a significant driver in her life and work: ‘I am attracted to certain colours for specific reasons. It’s something I instinctively draw upon.’ Turquoise is one example. ‘Since my teens, I have been drawn to the traditional culture of people from those Native American nations that wear their hair long and employ turquoise jewellery, feathers and breastplates in their traditional dress, which gives them power and protection.’ Similarly, the jewellery of the ancient Etruscan, Greek, Byzantine and Moghul cultures and traditional Art Deco aesthetics fascinate Fiorina. Her spiritual life is fed by these ancient cultures as well as Buddhism, mysticism and Rastafarianism. ‘An appreciation of alternative ideologies has allowed me to embrace different ways of life, giving me creative freedom and providing  a path forward.’

Looking back, Fiorina is philosophical about her upbringing: ‘I believe you come into your family for a reason. My reason was about empowering and protecting people through what I do – through my jewellery.’ Along with her prolific creative output, her rebellious tendencies also prepared her well for tackling the sometimes ruthless world of business.

Together, the sisters have created much more than a jewellery store. It is a focal point for like-minded women, a place they can go to feel inspired, adorned and understood. It has also provided Fiorina with an anchor: ‘I think rebellion has been a curse and a blessing in the same breath. It steered the ship for a long time. The joy of creating and the response from my community, family and friends are now the primary driving forces in my life.’

This is an extract from A Room of Her Own, available now. Text and photography by Robyn Lea, design by Ashlea O’Neill.

AU$65.00


Win a fabulous A Room of Her Own prize pack!

Images © Robyn Lea photography and Fiorina Jewellery

To get into the Spring spirit, we’re giving away a copy of Robyn Lea’s beautiful interiors book ‘A Room of Her Own’ as well as a pair of logo earrings from beloved Melbourne jewellery store (headed by two of the inspirational women featured in the book), Fiorina Jewellery.

Simply click here to enter the competition and agree to sign up to our e-newsletter for your chance to go into the draw to win this prize pack.

Competition closes Wednesday 15 September. Open to AU and NZ residents only.


Posted on August 27, 2021
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Father’s Day: 2021 Gift Guide

Explore a captivating collection of gift ideas for your loved one this Father’s Day.

Discover personal Australian stories, plan an activity or journey through iconic art and architectural design.

Whatever their interest, we have something for everyone this Father’s Day.

Compelling Non-Fiction

Recipe for a Kinder Life

Annie Smithers

Part meditation, part memoir, Annie Smithers offers practical advice and wisdom gleaned from a life dedicated to seasonal food and living sustainably with the land.

Learn more ➔

Design: Building on Country

Alison Page and Paul Memmott

The second book in the First Knowledges series, Design: Building on Country issues a challenge for a new Australian design ethos, one that truly responds to the essence of Country and its people.

Explore ➔

Activities to enjoy together

Day Trip Sydney

Evi O and Andrew Grune

Plan a mini break with these 52 nature adventures, all within 120 kilometres from Sydney’s city centre.

Discover ➔

Dinner with Monet

Illustrated by Iratxe López de Munáin

Piece together the artists, artworks and surroundings that bring Claude Monet’s world to life in this exuberant 1000-piece puzzle.

Read more ➔

Art outside the gallery

Still Life

Amber Creswell Bell

A rich survey of the work of more than forty still life artists, which presents the genre in a uniquely Australian light.

Learn more ➔

Ken Done

Amber Creswell Bell

A comprehensive and extensively illustrated monograph on the art and design of Ken Done, celebrating the man, his life’s work and his legacy.

Explore ➔

Australian Architecture

Kerstin Thompson Architects

Leon van Schaik

This monograph of celebrated architect Kerstin Thompson’s work provides a deep insight into not only what architects do – the buildings they make – but also why and how they design.

Discover➔

MMXX

Cameron Bruhn

A survey of the most influential, innovative and exciting Australian architecture of the past 20 years.

Learn more ➔

Garden Inspiration

Living Outside

Sharon Mackay and Diana Snape

A collection of residential gardens representing the most ambitious and inspiring contemporary interpretations of mid-century Australian design.

Explore ➔

The Garden State

Richard Allen

From Mildura to the lush rolling hills of Gippsland, this is a comprehensive survey of the best private Victorian gardens across one of the most diverse Australian topographies.

Read more ➔


Posted on August 11, 2021
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In conversation with trailblazing Victorian chef Annie Smithers

Annie Smithers is often described as a bit of a local legend in the Australian food scene. If you’ve ever wanted to experience the true meaning of farm-to-table dining, or drool at the thought of classic French farmhouse dishes, Annie’s Trentham restaurant du Fermier should be high on your bucket list.

Annie’s new book Recipe for a Kinder Life is more than just the story of du Fermier, though. Part-meditation, part-memoir, it is a generous account of life on the land and in the kitchen. At its heart, Recipe for a Kinder Life is Annie’s guide to living more gently and sustainably.

We were lucky enough to chat to Annie about her journey to owning one of the country’s most celebrated restaurants, her favourite spots to eat when she’s not at du Fermier and what she hopes readers will take away from the book.

Photography: Sandy Scheltema

Tell us a bit about your path to becoming one of Australia’s most highly regarded chefs. At what stage in your career did you know you wanted to be running your own restaurant?

I decided late into my secondary education that I wanted to be a cook. After finishing my HSC, off I went to look for a job. After nearly forty years of cooking, I still think that I love it more each day than I did the day before, so some may say that I found my vocation. As to when I discovered I wanted to have my own restaurant, that was more a quirk of circumstance than an actual decision. But I have certainly enjoyed the last 16 years of having my own places, as it enables me to dance to the beat of my own drum.

Du Fermier is widely considered a pioneer for the Australian paddock to plate ethos. What inspired you to pursue this idea for the restaurant?

At the turn of the last century there was increasing discussion about food miles and food sovereignty. I was living on an acre of land at the time and decided that I needed to put it to constructive use and to grow fruit and vegetables for the restaurant. I have always been a believer in the concept that if each of us does what we can, no matter how small, together we can all make a difference to the future of the planet.

Photography: Susan Thompson

For those who havent had the privilege of visiting your restaurant du Fermier, what can they expect from the experience?

Eating at du Fermier is as close as I can get to entertaining people in my house. Our sole aim is to make each and every one of our customers feel loved and nurtured during their time with us. I cook classic French inspired country food, sometimes plated, sometimes shared, free from the embellishments of more technical and high-class restaurants.

When youre not at du Fermier, where do you like to eat in regional Victoria?

Our favourite place to eat at the moment is at home. Getting vegan take away from the food van, Twinkletown, next to the restaurant on a Wednesday night when I go into town ‘to put the bins out’ is a delicious treat.

And when youre in Melbourne?

The last 18 months have been very challenging for us getting to Melbourne to eat. My wife Susan and I went for our anniversary in January and had the fabulous vegan banquet at Maha, and were thoroughly spoilt by the lovely Shane Delia.

One of the major themes of Recipe for a Kinder Life is living a more sustainable existence. What does sustainability mean for you?

I believe it is essential to find the point at which you are self-sustaining in your own life before you tackle the broader questions. If you are too tired, too pushed within yourself, it is an uphill battle to make changes to your life that bode well on a broader scale.

If readers take one thing away from Recipe for a Kinder Life, what should it be?

Be kind to yourself. Believe in your dreams, work hard for them, but don’t sacrifice too much for them. Find your own limits and live with them and love them.

Recipe for a Kinder Life is available now. Text by Annie Smithers and cover design by Daniel New.

AU$32.99


Posted on July 27, 2021
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A Meditation on Wellbeing, from Recipe for a Kinder Life

In Recipe for a Kinder Life, the inspirational cook Annie Smithers shares her wisdom on living a gentler life, and forging deep connections with the natural environment, the community and the self. She discusses the significance of balance and rest for personal wellbeing in the extract below.

Another huge step I have taken in protecting my mental health is embracing the notion of choice, understanding that no one forces me to do all the things that I do. All the decisions that I make are mine to take responsibility for. In the past, I might have blamed outside influences if I felt that I was working too hard; now I have a strong sense of what is enough or too much, and if I choose to do too much, I must accept all that comes with that. As an employer, a partner, a step-parent, a member of a community, there is always the opportunity to show, not tell. Leading by example, and being a communicative person, allows others to observe my way of finding balance and assess whether there is anything in it that could make their own life more comfortable.

All this striving for, and reflection on, a better balance so I can sustain myself to achieve all I want to do in all the spheres of my life is one reason that I have come back to observing the eight-hour day. The hospitality industry is infamous for its mistreatment of workers and its long and unsociable hours. It has become very important to me not to expect any of my employees to work more than an eight-hour day. This should hardly need explaining but, in any case, it is clear that it allows people to make their own choices and arrange their lives to suit their needs and wants. It means that if they wish to take on a second job, they can; if they wish to go home and garden, they can; if they wish to go home and sit in front of the telly for the evening, they can. From experience, I know that it is often difficult to tell your boss that you are working above your capacity and/or outside your designated work hours, and I am equally aware of the effects of too much work on the body, the mind and those around you.

This also ties in with how we manage the restaurant-related devices. As we run a very small team at du Fermier, we tend not to answer the telephone during lunch service. This is so that we can completely devote ourselves to the customers in the room. It also means that we can return messages in an unhurried manner later in the day, making sure that the customer at the end of the phone is now the absolute focus. Answering emails is done in a similar manner. We have a manual system that we like to think offers a personal-service touch, but I am sure that some of our patrons would love us to answer messages and emails twenty-four hours a day. I can’t expect the people who work with me to take on this responsibility and deal with customers at all hours of the day and night, given that I won’t myself. The division between work, leisure and sleep has become very blurred. I, for one, do not think that this is a positive. In embracing a more sustainable approach to life, how we operate at a personal level, with our own resources, is at the core of our existence. Sustainability is not just about using the earth’s resources more responsibly; it is about better using your own.

Sleep is, without doubt, a very important part of my day. Making the decision a few years ago to stop operating the restaurant in the evening has been absolutely revelatory for my personal wellbeing. I have never been a night person; I am happiest tucked up in bed and ready to go to sleep when it’s dark. The hours that I sleep change seasonally: I often sleep more in winter and less in summer – a little like the animals in the yard. The geese, the goats and the chickens all run to a clock that is not based on hours but on daylight. It seems to be a pattern that I am following more and more as I spend a greater amount of time caring for them and working outside in the garden. It is as if their needs and mine are becoming very similar.

The surprising (or maybe not) result now if I don’t get enough sleep, or even rest, is not pretty. Tired, irascible, perfunctory Annie is no fun for anybody, especially me. This is screamingly obvious when the side effects of not enough rest and sleep include weight gain and systems failure in various bits of my body. As the pace of this modern world keeps getting busier, it is up to each and every one of us to decide how much to commit to the external forces at play, how much we engage with them, where our priorities are, and to try to find a place for ourselves that fits with our personal, financial and relationship values.

After thirty years of living in the country, I am trying not to become a stranger to the needs of city and suburban folk. I imagine that smaller-scale gardening, long walks and various forms of exercise replace the chores of farm life. And I imagine that reading, theatre and dining out are much higher on the agenda than they are for me, which exposes the nature of balance. For each of us, no matter where we live, our location enables us to find the day-to-day rhythm that suits us best in that environment.

This is an edited extract from Recipe for a Kinder Life, available now. Text by Annie Smithers and cover design by Daniel New.

AU$32.99


Posted on July 27, 2021
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Get ready for your next local adventure with Evi O and Andrew Grune

It would be an understatement to say that the travel focus for most Australians has shifted to local and interstate wonders. You might even say we’re approaching a day trip renaissance, which is why Evi O and Andrew Grune’s new project Day Trip couldn’t have come at a better time.

In case you aren’t already acquainted with this seriously innovative duo, Evi O is an award-winning book designer and self-taught artist while Andrew has worked across the globe in the fashion industry and is best known for his talents in photography and videography. They have come together through a mutual love for nature and creativity with Day Trip, a new series that is unlike any Australian travel guide you have seen before.

We wanted to celebrate the launch of the first book in the series, Day Trip Sydney: 52 Nature Adventures, by chatting to Evi and Andrew about the foundations of this project, how they selected the nature trips featured in the book, their travel tips and more.

Image © Day Trip Publishing

You’re quite the superstar team, having achieved countless creative endeavours independently. Do you each have a career highlight so far?

Evi: Personally, this is rather a highlight. Never in my mind did I think I would write a guide book. It is a dream doing it with Andrew, too. It’s a continuation of the cliché ‘if work is play, you never have to work in your whole life.’ Apart from this, I feel like I’m currently living a career highlight with my Evi O Studio team daily and a busy art practice. Sorry, there are a few highlights.

Andrew: I would have to agree with Evi. This is such a different project to what I normally work on and I can really see all the skills that I have developed being utilised in the project. I think that’s what makes it so interesting for myself and as a product. I think Evi and my skill set combined have hopefully created a new and exciting brand. 

What brought you together as collaborators?

Evi: My cheesy answer is love, and wanting to know the other person inside, I think? But it is kind of true (for me), as we started going out during COVID. I wanted to know Andrew’s creative brain and muscle, and we did this day trip to (the then-empty) Bathurst racecourse and I felt I discovered a bit more about him, and the potential of collaborating is an organic continuation.

Andrew: Definitely love and also our spirit of adventure and spontaneity. A lot of times our day trips don’t go to plan and we end up finding something even more exciting than we intended. Not everybody can work like that! 

Image © Day Trip Publishing

What led you both to the Day Trip project? How is it distinguished from other travel guides?

We were kind of limited to restrictions, funnily. We wanted to pitch an Australia-wide travel book, but then our publisher Paulina de Laveaux said ‘That’s impossible, why don’t you do a day trip book, you’re already doing it.’ Thanks, COVID. As to how it is different, I guess it’s a fresh rendition, and designed for today’s modern life. A snapshot of a trip and its map is compacted in one page ready to be photographed and used in your mobile pre-trip. We are also just your regular people: we don’t have 1% body fat, nor do we own hiking poles, so the level of difficulty and access within these trips is very friendly. We do love rewards, so each trip also comes with either a destination or a memorable experience. 

What was the process behind selecting the nature trips featured in Day Trip Sydney? Were there any that didn’t quite make the cut but deserve an honourable mention?

We rate the rewards of each experience and basically go with our instincts, but part of this succinct curation also involves asking for tips from friends, family and strangers, just to make sure the selection is diverse. And oh yes, there are some that didn’t make the book – we will share in the next one 😉

Image: Concrete platforms at Clovelly Beach © Day Trip Publishing
Image: Podoga rock formations at Wollemi National Park © Day Trip Publishing

Do you have a top tip for new day trippers?

Get a good pair of shoes! 

Has COVID changed your perspective on travel?

Absolutely. The adage of ‘the journey, not the destination’ is so true. And both of us have a new appreciation of this beautiful city is there. We both have lived half our lives here, and we are gladly reminded of what Sydney has to offer.

What’s next for Day Trip? Can you give us some insight into the future of the brand and series?

There will be more books. And some fun merch. We are heading to Melbourne next, and as soon as book one is launched and standing on shelves, we are going to start pursuing more creative collaborations as Day Trip. We want to express our creative drive and travel curiously through Day Trip.

Day Trip Sydney is available now. Text, images and design by Evi O and Andrew Grune (Day Trip Publishing).

AU$34.99

You can check out Day Trip’s website here and their Instagram here.


Posted on June 30, 2021
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Day Trip Sydney is finally here!

From Evi O and Andrew Grune, Day Trip is a new series of Australian travel guides that will ignite your nomadic spirit. The first in the series, Day Trip Sydney takes you to mountains, waterfalls, swimming holes, forests, urban parks, Aboriginal cultural sites, historic architecture and more – all within 120 kilometres of Sydney’s city centre. Whether you’re a Sydney local or a first-time visitor, Day Trip Sydney is the perfect guide for escaping the urban chaos.

Curious? Get a feel for this innovative guide with Day Trip’s launch video below.

Day Trip Sydney is available now. Text, images and design by Evi O and Andrew Grune (Day Trip Publishing).

AU$34.99

You can check out Day Trip’s website here and their Instagram here.


Posted on June 30, 2021
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Still Life as storytelling: a look at Amber Creswell Bell’s latest book

Following Clay and A Painted Landscape, Still Life completes Amber Creswell Bell’s genre trifecta of artful gems that champion remarkable Australian artists. The book looks at the styles, subjects, visions and philosophies of more than forty contemporary Australian artists. To give you a feel for this incredible book, check out our gallery featuring the work of some of the artists featured as well as their perspectives on the genre.

JUDA RAE

SL359, 2016. Oil on linen, 122 x 153 cm. Collection of AGNSW, Bulgari Acquisition.

‘Perhaps still life is more accessible with it’s traditionally domestic subjects and therefore considered a more ‘democratic’ genre, sitting more comfortably with ideas of the classless society we imagine that Australia is.’

CRESSIDA CAMPBELL

After Lunch, 2002. Unique woodblock print (watercolour on Stonehenge cotton paper), 72 x 62 cm. Photo by Greg Weight.

‘I have always been interested in recording or interpreting my surroundings in a visual way. I almost feel I haven’t properly experienced looking at something if I haven’t observed it and tried to create either a picture from the subject or responded to it.’

ROBERT MALHERBE

Peonies in Sunlight, 2013 (detail), oil on linen, 91 x 71 cm. Artwork courtesy of Robert Malherbe and photo by Jenni Carter.

‘All paintings, including still lifes, should feel erotic.’

ZOE YOUNG

Still life under Leplastrier Nude, 2020 (detail). Acrylic on Belgian linen, 150 x 150 cm. Artwork and photo courtesy of Zoe Young.

‘There’s a certain tension in setting up, where I tend to get so frustrated with the tediousness of finding the composition and mixing the paints that by the time I put brush to linen, I’m about to burst.’

LUCY ROLEFF

Autumn Pastoral, 2020. Oil on board, 50 x 60 cm. Artwork courtesy of Lucy Roleff and photo by Kim Landy.

‘I feel that the endurance of the still life genre has to do with its relative anonymity compared to more figurative work.’

JOHN BOKOR

Wine Bottle, 2017 (detail), oil on linen, 82 x 62 cm. Photo by Mim Stirling.

‘A collection of objects, no matter how mundane, tells a story. They are like a little world; you can get lost in them.’

TSERING HANNAFORD

Pink Magnolia, 2016, oil on board, 45 x 60 cm. Artwork and photo courtesy of Tsering Hannaford.

‘What I love most about painting a still life is creating a sense of order in life, if only on the canvas. I strive to create a sense of tranquility and calm in my pieces in the midst of a busy and bustling life.’

Still Life is available now. Text by Amber Creswell Bell and design by Ngaio Parr.

Front cover: Tsering Hannaford, Yellow Magnolia, 2018. Oil on board, 60 x 45 cm. Courtesy of the artist.

AU$59.99


Posted on June 15, 2021
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Autumn Letters, from Reading the Seasons

Reading the Seasons is a book for our times, showing how literature connects us to ourselves and others. Get of taste of the genuine friendship between the authors, Germaine Leece and Sonya Tsakalakis in this extract from the book.

My life is like the autumn leaf

That trembles in the moon’s pale ray;

Its hold is frail – its date is brief,

Restless, – and soon to pass away!

From ‘My Life is like the Summer Rose’ by Richard Henry Wilde [1]


Hello, Germaine, on the first day of autumn – and it’s 38 deg!

Here are a few lines that I read today. I like to start the day with glittering language and thoughts. And I read them aloud, much to my children’s chagrin. One day they’ll look back fondly?!

Love Sonya


Dear S

Such beautiful lines, thank you. I must say, our friendship has given me much more understanding about the power and importance of poetry in daily life. It also reminds me of an eighty-something male bibliotherapy client I saw last week. You would have loved him.

His father recited poetry to him throughout his childhood, and in the past couple of years he decided he wasn’t reading enough poetry so he started a group. Wine and cheese accompany the monthly poetic conversation on the beach. He was such a character, saw the books on his bookshelves as his lifelong friends and used words such as ‘charm-struck’. I didn’t want the session to end, I was so charm-struck myself.

While talking about his ‘friends on the bookshelf ’, he reflected that he hadn’t read enough female authors in his lifetime and wanted to rectify that. (I imagine you are swooning now!) I decided to give him a prescription filled with female authors that illuminated his different chapters to help give a fuller shape to his own story. I couldn’t resist starting with Jeanette Winterson’s memoir Why Be Happy when You Could Be Normal?, as we have discussed before, required reading for any book lover! He told me that as a teen he put his trust into books rather than people to make sense of the world, and that brought to my mind Winterson writing about ‘[falling] into books … I put myself inside them for safe keeping’. While my client and Jeanette have nothing else in common about their families or their lives, I hope the image of two teenagers on different sides of the world in different decades finding comfort and anchoring inside the pages of books creates a nostalgic reading experience for him.

I ended with a bit of fun. He is a fan of Wodehouse, so I thought I would aim for a similar era and comedy-of-manners style … I chose EM Delafield’s Diary of a Provincial Lady, as she always makes me laugh and I love the sharp, observational gaze she puts on the upper class living in Devonshire between the wars. I think I read somewhere that it was semi-autobiographical and that she wrote the diaries as a ‘gentle joke’, but at the same time she manages to shine a feminist light on the domestic sphere of English country life. Her husband is always reading the Times newspaper and going to sleep, and she spends much of her time ‘sacrificing truth to demands of civilisation’! I’m not sure he will relate as well to Delafield’s character who, when she feels ‘that life is wholly unendurable’ decides ‘madly to get a new hat’, but I hope he will savour the wit and irony of the writing.

He reminded me how much I enjoy sessions with older clients who choose to use the time to reflect on their reading lives and map how it has changed over the decades. There’s something about witnessing someone’s backstory that creates the same wonder within me as words between covers. I remember another client who, in her seventies, told me our session had helped her understand that by recollecting the different books she had read throughout her life, she could trace her evolution of self. She added that having this quiet time and being asked questions about the ways reading had affected her life had allowed this realisation to occur. I found that particularly powerful. The importance of time to reflect. How do you enjoy working with older clients?

I had better leave it here, as your autumn poem reminds me, the day is soon to pass away and dinner needs preparing.

G x


Dear G

I have to tell you, I read that letter a few times. Not just because I was thrilled by ‘charm-struck’, but also to bask in a cascade of my reflections on working with older clients. In an oblique way. My bibliotherapy career began in aged care, where I ran communal reading circles. Within these milieus, poems and short stories were read aloud, creating a container for the sharing of reflections, memories and personal stories evoked by the words on the page. A fifteen-minute short story can be stretched out to an hour. On one occasion, we were reading Gogol’s eccentric gem, ‘The Nose’. 

Actually, it’s positively absurd! How else would you describe a story where the protagonist finds his nose in a loaf of bread that later parades haughtily on the streets of St Petersburg? And to make matters more intriguing, it features a snuffbox. Suddenly, the normally reticent Edna recalled her child-hood fascination for her grandmother’s rosewood snuffbox, which sat on the mantelpiece. And from there she launched into vivid memories of her grandmother, concluding at the end that she had completely forgotten about that snuffbox, ‘hadn’t thought about it for decades’. That is what I love about reading aloud, the vivifying of the text. The original story or poem serves as a launching pad for other stories, contained within, awaiting to be heard and enjoyed. Aspects of the self embedded deep within seem to be awakened. Especially wonderful are older folks’ stories, an homage to Judith Wright – again!

Seventy years of stories he clutches round his bones.

Seventy years are hived in him like old honey … [2]

Stories are as precious and coveted as old honey. During that session there was a lot of animated banter about childhood fascinations … places, things, that held a special allure which would probably be overlooked by the eyes of a grown-up. Wishing to continue on that theme, I chose the unique persiflage of Saki’s The Lumber Room for the following week. It’s a hilarious story about a mischievous little boy who, with inventive flair, gets into the room from which he is banned by his austere aunt, and finds it filled with wondrous curiosities. You can’t help but come away thinking that whatever punishment, which no doubt will be dished out to him afterwards, would be worth it. Absolutely worth it! Suddenly there were recollections of places where kids were forbidden because it was the ‘good room’.

And even more interestingly, the places where children were allowed; spending hours outside till you were called in for dinner, being part of the ‘street tribe’ or roaming to nearby paddocks and creeks. One reader who grew up on a farm lovingly recalled waking up at six every morning to milk the cows, and riding her pony to school with her siblings. And refashioning the silk saved from the parachutes used in the war to make bloomers. I know – there is upcycling for you! She believed she had a beautiful childhood, there were always people around, places to discover.

So, when you talked of the importance of time to reflect when older, it also gives those of subsequent generations a space to revel in stories of times past. A type of validation for a life lived that may otherwise be forgotten. S x


References

[1] Richard Henry Wilde extract from ‘My Life is like the Summer Rose’, in A Library of American Literature, Volume: Literature of the Republic, Part II, 1821–1834, eds Edmund Clarence Stedman and Ellen Mackay Hutchinson (New York: CL Webster, 1891)

[2] ‘Judith Wright extract from ‘South of My Days’, in Collected Poems (Sydney: HarperCollins, 1994)

This is an extract from Reading the Seasons: Books Holding Life & Friendship Together, available now. Text by Germaine Leece and Sonya Tsakalakis and cover design by Nada Backovic.

AU$32.99


Posted on June 1, 2021
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Introducing TASCHEN: the latest addition to the Thames & Hudson Australia family

Virgil Abloh. NIKE. Icons.

We pride ourselves on being Australia’s home for illustrated books. That’s why we’re so excited about the latest addition to our family of distributed publishers: TASCHEN.

This German-born, globally-loved publishing house is destined for the reader who dreams of building their coffee table book collection. Their selection of art books span from informative introductions to special editions championing the likes of Ai Weiwei and Gustav Klimt, while their impressive selection of architecture and design books will take you on a tour of some of the world’s finest homes and remarkable landmarks. You will also find bestselling tomes and short-form histories on your favourite figures and moments in fashion, film, music and pop culture, as well as photography and travel titles to inspire.

Above all, TASCHEN’s publishing is synonymous with quality and individuality. Their books are timeless sources of pleasure and learning, and you’ll be carrying them around from home to home. We’ve rounded up a few of our favourite titles from TASCHEN to help you start building your collection.

The Star Wars Archives. 1999-2005

Made with the full cooperation of George Lucas and Lucasfilm, this second volume covers the making of the prequel trilogy and features exclusive interviews with Lucas and his collaborators.

AU$350.00

Virgil Abloh. NIKE. Icons.

In 2016, Nike and fashion designer Virgil Abloh joined forces to create a sneaker collection celebrating 10 of the company’s most iconic shoes. Go behind the scenes of the project in this powerful book.

AU$150.00

Tarot. The Library of Esoterica

Spanning from Medieval to modern, this book explores the influence of Tarot on artists like Salvador Dalí and Niki de Saint Phalle.

AU$75.00

Annie Leibovitz: The Early Years, 1970-1983

For more than half a century, Annie Leibovitz has been taking culture-defining photographs and imprinting on our collective consciousness. Here we return to her origins.

AU$90.00

Dalí . Les dîners de Gala

The opulent dinner parties thrown by Salvador Dalí and his wife and muse, Gala, were the stuff of legend. This reprint of Dalí’s 1973 cookbook reveals some of the sensual, imaginative and exotic elements that made up their notorious gatherings.

AU$125.00


Posted on May 11, 2021
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A Q&A with nature expert Jonathon Drori

Jonathon Drori’s first book Around the World in 80 Trees resonated with readers far and wide looking to find inspiration through nature. Now, Jonathon is back with Around the World in 80 Plants, bringing to life the science of plants by revealing their links with our own history, culture and folklore. We spoke to Jonathon about his passion for science, strategy and botany and some of the most fascinating plants featured in the book.

Having worked as an author, public speaker, an adviser and board member for a variety of organisations, an honorary professor, the founding Director of Culture Online at the UK Government’s Department for Culture Media and Sport, an Executive Producer for the BBC and so much more, do you have a career highlight that you are most proud of?

Gosh, that’s the kind of list that even my parents would have thought was just a bit too much! I spent some time as Editorial Director for BBC Online, when the medium was just being invented. That was pretty exciting. And my nine years on the Board at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew were special for the combination of science, beauty, strategy and some amazing botanical expeditions.

How did you become so passionate about nature?

My parents definitely inspired me. They told stories about plants and animals to my brother and me and although we both lost interest in those tricky teenage years, something obviously sank in!

What inspired you to write Around the World in 80 Plants? Had you always planned a sequel to Around the World in 80 Trees?

The success of 80 Trees was a wonderful surprise to me. I wrote the kind of book that I wanted to read – a book with plenty of science, but not a science book. A book with plenty of history, but not a history book. Same for culture, folklore, etymology and so on. I couldn’t find anything out there that entwined them all, with proper storytelling. So, I had a go, and it seems that people like that kind of thing. Of course, Lucille Clerc’s gorgeous, whimsical illustrations really brought it to life. I realised we were onto something, which made me want to do another book. Being able to research and write about things that completely fascinate me is the most wonderful luxury. I am humbly grateful!

Illustration: Lucille Clerc

What was the process behind selecting the plants featured in the book?

I looked for plants with a good geographical spread around the world, and where I felt there was something new to say. I set myself the challenge that any reader, coming from any area of interest, should find something new and special in each of the 80 biographies of plant species in the book.

What is the most unusual plant we can find in the book?

The Welwitschia, of the desert straddling Namibia and Angola, is a very strange plant indeed. Depending how you look at it, it can be one of the ugliest or one of the most beautiful plants on earth, and that’s the only place it grows. It can live 500 years and yet it only ever has the same two leaves, that just keep growing from the base and withering at the ends. Another unusual plant is the Iboga from Gabon and Cameroon, for the mind-altering effects it has on people who use it in Bwiti initiation rites.

Why are plants so inspiring to us?

Perhaps because in the end, human life, in fact all life on earth depends on plants. I love them because they are so varied, get up to such strange behaviours and have such odd, poignant, bizarre and even funny relationships with humans.

What’s next for you?

My philosophy has always been to make connections with interesting people and good things happen. I don’t know what’s next. Something will turn up!

Around the World in 80 Plants is available now. Text by Jonathon Drori and illustrations by Lucille Clerc.

AU $39.99


Posted on April 22, 2021
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How to mix patterns at home: an excerpt from Jungalow

Jungalow: Decorate Wild is artist, designer and author Justina Blakeney’s ultimate guide to designing wildly creative interiors. Filled with all of Justina’s tips and tricks, the book will show you how to make bold choices with color and pattern, how to take cues from nature, how to authentically glean inspiration from their heritage and travels, how to break rules, and all the other paths to truly begin to decorate wild. In this extract, go outside your comfort zone and learn how to mix patterns at home.

MIXING PATTERNS

Patterns often present a complex mix of color, texture, scale, and motif that might seem difficult to harmonize with the rest of the décor elements in a space. Patterns compete for attention; will they drown out the more mild-mannered pieces in a room? You might love a wallpaper with a bold pattern, for example, but what if it doesn’t work with your furniture or drapes? Maybe just painting the walls is the safer choice. Don’t go out like that! Mixing patterns isn’t as hard as you think.

Three very different bold patterns work together in this reading nook because they share the same black and tan color palette. Meanwhile, blocks of solid yellow create contrast and provide breathing room.

In my vanity area at home, I mix very different patterns together. It works because the airy gold-andivory wallpaper provides breathing room while the bold blue stool acts as a wild card.

Different patterns don’t have to look alike to look good together, as long as they echo each other in some respect. Here, four contrasting patterns are harmonized by a shared color palette or graphic elements. The colors of the
velvet chair’s zigzags reflect both the warm earth tones of the rug as well as the cool teal of the botanical wallpaper. The doors are harmonized with the chair not by color, but by their shared chevron pattern. When patterns are wildly different from each other, they don’t compete and you can use an overarching color story to make them work together.

Patterns with similar color palettes echo one another and can be combined
easily, without fear of the results looking over the top. In this bedroom, a patterned dresser, rug, and planter are unified by an analogous color story.

Nearly every element in this bedroom has a pattern. The graphic rattan headboard and the colorful quilt are large patterns with contrasting colors that pop against the small patterns that read as solids, such as the subtle stripes in the wallpaper and bedding.

Jungalow: Decorate Wild is available now. Text by Justina Blakeney and principal photography by Dabito. Originally published by Abrams Books.

AU$59.99


Posted on April 13, 2021
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Bringing Bad Apple to life: a chat with illustrator Ben Sanders

Bad Apple is the first in a new series of picture books starring a truly terrible piece of fruit that shows readers what he’s really made of. We were lucky enough to chat with the book’s Australian-based illustrator, Ben Sanders, about his rewarding career, illustrative style, working with author Huw Lewis Jones and more.

Tell us a bit about your path to becoming an award-winning illustrator. Were you always interested in art and illustration?

I was actually interested very early on. I got a proper architect’s drawing board for my 14th birthday. Sometimes, when my parents went to bed, I’d get up and secretly draw on my board well into the night. I was already a freelance illustrator by that stage, as I had a paying client by the time I was 11 years old. I was drawing little watercolour characters that were made into stickers, notepads and what-not. I enjoyed it enough to pursue a creative career after I left school. 

How would you describe your illustrative style?

Mid-century modern with a zesty twist of lemon. I say that because I used to use a muted colour scheme. Now I’m embracing a zingy-er colour palette mixed with a 1950s and 60s aesthetic. 

Illustration: Ben Sanders, Bad Apple.

You have worked on a plethora of children’s books and commercial projects throughout your career, from releasing I’ve an Uncle Ivan with us to creating the instantly recognisable illustrations on The Natural Confectionary Co. packs. Do you have a favourite project that you have worked on so far?

Both projects you mentioned are special to me – my first children’s book and my most recognised work. They are the two that are most talked about. But a project that is closest to my heart was the work I did for INTI Magazine while I lived in Bolivia. The revenue generated from the sale of the magazine helped street kids return to school from working in the street. It was run by BiblioWorks, an NGO that also establishes libraries in remote communities and promotes literacy around the city of Sucre where I lived. 

Can you tell us about the process behind bringing characters to life for children’s books?

I guess so… most of the process is a mystery to me. I much prefer creating non-human characters, I find them more interesting. Some stories I’ve written the characters start out as human… but I end up changing them to animals somewhere along the process. I was lucky when Huw Lewis-Jones sent me a story about an Apple… jackpot… not a human!

I think that when you read a good manuscript it doesn’t take long to start picturing what the characters could look like. I sketch a page full of rough character designs and see what visual cues will help bring out the right personality. For me, this is by far the most satisfying and enjoyable aspect of making children’s books.

Illustration: Ben Sanders, Bad Apple.

What was your vision for the Bad Apple characters and how closely did you work with author Huw Lewis-Jones on developing their look? 

Huw sent me the manuscript and after a few reads I sent him a little drawing of a mean looking green apple. An almost perfectly round green circle with the least amount of detailing to create a face and limbs. We both wanted him to be simple yet full of expression. So, the eyebrows became the most important feature. He would be scowling a lot in the book so he needed a unique brow… a monobrow…. with his stem and leaf growing right out of it! Huw and I had a few chats about it but I remember Bad Apple developing very quickly and naturally, with both of us having input.

What’s next for you?

There will be at least two more Bad Apple Books coming in 2022. Apple is even naughtier in the sequel… it’s a lot of fun. I have two new picture book series in the pipeline in collaboration with Huw. There is one about a Croc with a big appetite and another about a Badger who is going through an existential crisis … so yeah, more animal characters to come!

Bad Apple is available now. Text by Huw Lewis Jones and illustrations by Ben Sanders. Originally published by Thames & Hudson UK.

AU $24.99


Posted on March 30, 2021
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Mother’s Day: 2021 Gift Guide

Add some beauty to Mum’s bookshelf this Mother’s Day with these stunning titles, carefully hand-selected by our staff for their own Mum’s, Grandmother’s and all loved ones as a perfect gift.

From our garden of books, pick a fresh take on interiors, a bright art monograph or a charming children’s book. There’s a book for every interest this Mother’s Day.

Architecture, Garden and Interiors

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A Room of Her Own

Robyn Lea

Meet the creative women who are living life on their own terms in this stunning photographic survey of the most original homes and interiors.


Learn more ➔

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Pre-Fab Living

Avi Friedman

From cabins to containers, this international overview showcases a new generation of innovative homes that save space, are kinder to the planet and cost less to build.

Read more ➔

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Jungalow: Decorate Wild

Justina Blakeney

The ultimate guide to designing wildly creative interiors that are free-spirited, layered, and deeply personal.

Discover ➔

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The Principles of Pretty Rooms

Phoebe Howard

Beloved interior designer Phoebe Howard shares her style secrets for creating truly pretty rooms filled with grace and charm.

Learn more ➔

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The Garden State

Richard Allen

From Mildura to the lush rolling hills of Gippsland, this is a comprehensive survey of the best private gardens across one of the most diverse Australian topographies.

Explore ➔

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Art and Craft

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Ken Done

Amber Creswell Bell

A comprehensive and extensively illustrated monograph on the art and design of Ken Done, celebrating the man, his life’s work and his legacy.

Read more ➔

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Utsuwa

Kylie Johnson and Tiffany Johnson

Celebrate the beauty and ethos of Japanese ceramics and the handmade through this intimate exploration of the makers, markets and galleries of Japan.

Discover ➔

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Painting the Ancient Land of Australia

Philip Hughes

Taking in deep varicoloured mines, broad rolling plains, vast imposing landforms and exquisite calm bays, the landscape paintings of Philip Hughes comprise a love letter to Australia.

Learn more ➔

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Kaffe Fassett in the Studio

Kaffe Fassett

World-renowned artist and textile designer Kaffe Fassett provides a window into his creative process, offering readers new patterns, new ideas, and new inspiration.

Explore ➔

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Children’s

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Colours in the Garden

Kat Macleod

Explore the joys of different colours in this board book for babies and toddlers. A Kat Macleod Early Learner.

Learn more ➔

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Shapes at the Party

Kat Macleod

Share your favourite shapes with little ones in this board book for babies and toddlers. A Kat Macleod Early Learner.

Discover ➔

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123 Under the Sea

Kat Macleod

Count your way through an ocean of colourful critters in this board book for babies and toddlers. A Kat Macleod Early Learner.

Learn more ➔

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ABC Fruit Salad

Kat Macleod

Learn ABCs with colour and ease in this board book for babies and toddlers. A Kat Macleod Early Learner board book.

Explore ➔

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Intriguing Non-Fiction

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Reading the Seasons

Germaine Leece and Sonya Tsakalakis 

Rich with personal reflections and book recommendations, Reading The Seasons affirms the power of books to console, heal and hold us together as friends and as individuals.

Read more ➔

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Songlines

Margo Neale and Lynne Kelly

This book invites readers to understand a remarkable way for storing knowledge in memory by adapting song, art, and most importantly, Country, into their lives.

Discover ➔

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Intoxicating

By Max Allen

From the fiery burn of rebellion rum and thirst-quenching ice-cold beer to the medicinal tang of restorative bitters, these are stories of the drinks that have fuelled Australian history.

Learn more ➔

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The Secret Life of Stars

Lisa Harvey-Smith

This accessible guide to astrophysics will take you on a cosmic journey to meet some of the weirdest, most extreme and enigmatic stars in the universe.

Explore ➔

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Lifestyle

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Plants for the People

Erin Lovell Verinder

An antidote to the frenetic pace of modern life, this book offers a beginner’s guide to plant medicine as a source of self-care, vitality and wellness. 

Read more ➔

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Wild Kitchen

Claire Bingham

Join leading chefs, food bloggers and restaurateurs in their private kitchens and dining spaces, and discover how they cook and entertain using home-grown, local and seasonal produce.

Discover ➔

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High-Grade Living

Jacqui Lewis and Arran Russell

A handbook for shifting from stressed, anxious and overwhelmed to creative, grounded and happy, using ancient knowledge applied to modern living.

Learn more ➔

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Go Lightly

Nina Karnikowski

From the author of Make a Living Living, this sustainable travel handbook inspires readers to explore our fascinating planet without causing it further harm.

Explore ➔


Posted on March 24, 2021
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In conversation with the inspiring Kerstin Thompson

For over twenty-five years, award-winning practice Kerstin Thompson Architects (KTA) has proven that local architecture can and should shape a community. Leon van Schaik’s Kerstin Thompson Architects: Encompassing People & Place looks at KTA’s extraordinary body of work, its values and processes, and its place in the wider Australian architectural landscape. We spoke to KTA’s Principal, Kerstin Thompson, about her impressive career, the civic endeavour that is architecture and how she hopes to inspire others with the release of this new monograph.

Photography: Ying Ang

You are the Principal of Kerstin Thompson Architects, an Adjunct Professor at RMIT and Monash Universities and you were named Life Fellow by the Australian Institute of Architects in 2017. What led to your incredibly rich career in architecture?

Time on site, as a kid and later as a site architect, a wide variety of experiences in architectural offices from local ones to international multi-design studios, which in combination exposed me to the many valid ways of thinking about architecture. And since 1990 at RMIT, being a ‘pracademic’ – combining teaching with practice where each sphere enriches the other: the idealism, clarity of intent of the design studio, the pragmatism, ability to effectively negotiate the messiness and contingency of building and day to day practice. Good architecture demands both.

Your practice focuses on ‘architecture as a civic endeavour,’ can you explain what this entails? What values does KTA champion?

Buildings, no matter how small or for what purpose, can improve a situation. For the intended users, the client, of course, but also for the street, the neighbourhood, even the environment in projects where ecological repair becomes part of our remit. KTA champions the value of mutual benefit – that in meeting the aspirations of the client the design also contributes something positive for the neighbourhood too. In this sense they are of civic endeavor, in the interests of community, the city, broader environment.

Photography: Derek Swalwell

Is there a project you have worked on that you are most proud of?

I’m no good at favourites, there are many projects we are proud of. In fact, our hope is that KTA’s body of work, the cumulative impact of many sometimes modest buildings rather than one or two stand out icons, will leave a lasting and positive impact. Each project in its own way raised the quality of someone’s everyday life, brought benefit and joy to someone whether in their work, home or recreational life.

Photography: Dan Preston

In Kerstin Thompson Architects: Encompassing People & Place, Leon van Schaik focuses on KTA’s groundbreaking body of work. How do you think the book contributes to a wider conversation about architecture in Australia?

First we hope it provides insights into the motivations and process of architecture, the ideas, the sketches, behind the completed project. Second that it showcases a variety of ways in which architecture can meaningfully engage with, forge a unique sense of place, whether in bush, city or suburban context. And also, how opposites can happily/productively co-exist: subtly with clarity, sensitivity with strength, and last but not least new with existing built form. The inclusion of several adaptive re-use projects demonstrates how the re-use of our built heritage is not only more environmentally resourceful but also a way to hold onto precious cultural memories. May our new buildings also endure to support changed use in the future.

Interior Photography: Trevor Mein | Product Photography: Georgia Blackie

Our favourite inclusion in the book is your ’10 Lessons,’ many of which address what it is like to be a woman in architecture. How do you hope to inspire other women in the industry?

By conducting practice through a studio and business culture that is stimulating and supportive for our colleagues; by mentoring within and beyond the practice; by leaving a lasting legacy of decent buildings that have somehow improved the everyday; inspiring through advocacy, speaking out, being heard, being visible.

What’s next for you? Is there an exciting project that KTA is working on that you can share with us?

KTA has always been diverse in its project selection. Big, small, public, private. So, it’s not surprising that two of our most exciting, current projects are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Queen & Collins project for GPT, almost complete, is a total rethink of half a city block. We’ve transformed it from corporate lobby to network of vibrant, open air laneways and small campiellos (venetian squares) in celebration of the site’s significant neo-gothic heritage. In contrast to this scale and urban location we are excited to see the house for photographer Sharyn Cairns come to life. In a beautiful coastal bush setting, it will be sheer, concentrated concrete delight.

Kerstin Thompson Architects: Encompassing People and Place is available now. Text by Leon Leon van Schaik and design by Stuart Geddes. Series editor Fleur Watson.

AU$59.99


Posted on March 24, 2021
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How to Build a Strawflower Hanging Wreath, from Field Flower Vase

Braid fresh flowers into a hanging wreath for a party — then let it dry and leave it up all year!

Image: Chelsea Fuss

A hanging wreath adds a sense of playfulness to a room and is, of course, perfect for a little party or special occasion. This fresh-to-dry project can be made with just-picked flowers, but it’s also a great way to use up ones that are on their way out — blooms that are wilting but still have pliable stems can be braided and will dry nicely.

Bay leaves, gomphrena, and strawflowers are especially good choices for an arrangement like this one, as they’re all very long-lasting and dry well. The colours of strawflowers feel almost unreal (in the best way!) and bring a sense of whimsy to the project. This wreath is light enough that it can easily be suspended from a ceiling hook, in part because it’s made without wire. Stems of millet and statice give it stability, and the braided strawflower stems keep the blossoms in place. These braiding and weaving methods can be applied to wreaths of all sorts. A hanging flower wreath is a focal point, so you won’t need other large arrangements or elaborate styling. Here, I hung the wreath over a table covered in pink linen and added modern ceramics, tiny arrangements, and a few scattered flower petals.

You will need :

  • 8 stems of small bay leaves
  • 25 stems of strawflower
  • 3 to 5 stems of common millet or pampas grass
  • 5 stems of statice
  • 5 stems of gomphrena
  • Florist’s twine or string, for hanging

Instructions

  1. Gather your ingredients at a wholesale flower or farmers’ market. Once home, set them out in bunches on your work surface, and remove the leaves from the strawflower stems. If the flowers have been in water, be sure to remove any debris or excess leaves from the stems and let them dry out before working with them.
  2. Create a base with the millet and statice, working with a few stems at a time.
  3. Curve them into a wreath shape, spacing the blooms at intervals and twisting the stems around each other to secure.
  4. Braid bunches of strawflower together, just as you would hair, alternating between three and five stems per bunch. Once braided, weave the bunches of strawflower into the wreath base, adding more statice for security if needed.
  5. Fill in the wreath with bay leaves between each bunch, then weave in gomphrena between the stems.
  6. Create a hanger by tying lengths of string or twine to opposite sides of the wreath. Display away from direct sunlight, if possible, or it will fade quickly.

This is an edited extract from Field Flower Vase, available now. Text and photography by Chelsea Fuss. Originally published by Abrams Books.

AU$45.00


Posted on March 10, 2021
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Read an early extract from Jonathon Drori’s Around the World in 80 Plants

Discover the origins of coffee in this early extract from Around the World in 80 Plants, the sequel to Jonathon Drori’s bestselling Around the World in 80 Trees.

Ethiopia

Coffea arabica

Coffee

The little evergreen coffee tree began life somewhere near the forested mountains of southwestern Ethiopia, and its broad, elliptical leaves with crinkled edges, shiny and dark above and pastel-pale underneath, still prefer the shade. In full flower, coffee is a spellbinding but ephemeral joy; for just a couple of days, thousands of delicate white blossoms with a light fragrance of honeysuckle and jasmine can festoon a single tree. The smoothly oval fruits ripen to pillar-box red; their thin layer of edible flesh tastes of watermelon and apricot and surrounds a pair of deeply grooved seeds that are the familiar coffee ‘beans’. Coffee’s bright, sweet fruit have evolved to attract monkeys and birds, which ingest them, remove the pulpy parts of the fruit and excrete the seeds intact. Mercifully rarely, such beans have been gathered and sold as a luxury; for example, Indonesian kopi luwak coffee – considered by aficionados to be especially ‘smooth and earthy’ – is the, ahem, ‘product’ of Asian palm civets, which are often caught and traded for this purpose. Otherwise, all cultivated coffee is harvested by human hand; the fruit don’t suit mechanical harvesting because they don’t all ripen at once.

More than 1,000 years ago, thanks to genius or good fortune, boringly unscented beans that had been separated from their fruit and husks were roasted, pounded and added to hot water. The resulting fine-flavoured, stimulating yet non-alcoholic brew spread via Yemen throughout the Islamic world and the Ottoman empire. The story goes that in about 1600 coffee’s association with Islam caused Vatican officials to dismiss it as ‘Satan’s latest trap to catch Christian souls’, but Pope Clement VIII supposedly tried some and gave coffee his blessing because it would have been ‘a shame to let infidels have sole use of it’. What a charmer!

By the mid-seventeenth century coffee houses were popping up around Europe, and in London especially they became places for men to discuss business and politics, in contrast to the chocolate houses (see
page 71), which were more light-hearted and welcoming to women. Over the centuries, many cultures have developed coffee rituals, sustained by beguiling paraphernalia and nerdy choices of grind and provenance. Ethiopia has a particularly elaborate ceremony. Amid wafts of incense, beans are freshly roasted over glowing charcoal and pounded at the table with cardamom or other spices. The resulting intense, dark drink is served with … popcorn. It’s a delightful experience for those fortunate enough to live within reach of an Ethiopian café, but perhaps not just before bedtime.

The coffee tree didn’t develop caffeine for our benefit. When its leaves die and drop, their caffeine leaches into the soil, impeding the germination and growth of competing plants, and it is also a defence, sometimes a lethal one, against various insects and fungi. It is therefore surprising that coffee and even some unrelated citrus plants put caffeine in their nectar, which, after all, is meant to reward insects for ferrying pollen to other plants. It turns out that the merest dash of caffeine, below the threshold that bees can sense, helps them to remember the plant, making them more likely to return to it. The flowers shrewdly dispense just enough caffeine to be pharmacologically active but not enough to be bothersome.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century, Asian production of Arabica coffee was wiped out by a fungus: coffee leaf rust. Groves were replanted with ‘Robusta’ (Coffea canephora), which was immune, and although it has a harsher taste than Arabica, it is now widely cultivated. Existing coffee strains are at risk once more, from climate change and the new pests and diseases that come with it, but there is scope for breeding new varieties. There are more than 120 wild species of coffee, most of them in tropical Africa. They have fascinating flavours and contain differing amounts of caffeine, and some of them tolerate heat and drought, or cope with different soils or plant diseases, yet most are themselves threatened by climate change or forest loss. It feels unfair that much of the burden of protecting this vital source of genetic diversity for one of the world’s most valuable commodities should be borne mainly by African nations.

Around the World in 80 Plants will be available on April 15. Text by Jonathon Drori and illustrations by Lucille Clerc.

AU $39.99


Posted on March 3, 2021
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Highlights reel: some of our favourite works from Ken Done: Art Design Life

Over four decades, Ken Done’s exuberant artwork and design has become permanently embedded in Australian culture. His signature style has graced everything from ad campaigns to art cars, doona covers to swimwear, and his bright paintings of Sydney Harbour, the outback, the reef and so much more never fails to bring a smile to our faces. Amber Creswell Bell’s Ken Done: Art Design Life brings all of this together in the ultimate celebration of the man, his work and his legacy. Check out a few of our favourite works from the book in our gallery below.

Image © Ken Done. Beach with Bike, 2006.

Image © Ken Done. Big MASK reef, 2019.

Image © Ken Done. The visit of an important man from Japan, 1991.

Image © Ken Done: Anzac Day, 2002 (detail).

Image © Ken Done: Camilla in the backyard, 2006.

Image © Ken Done. Going home, Toberua, 1990.

Image © Ken Done. Restaurant dining room, 1994.

Image © Ken Done. Ken’s BMW Art Car, Western Australia, 1989.

Image © Ken Done. 28 Views of the Opera House, 1999.

Ken Done: Art Design Life is available now. Text by Amber Creswell Bell and design by Evi-O.Studio.

AU$80.00


Posted on March 2, 2021
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From kelp to kids books: A Q&A with Mathew Bate

It is more important now than ever to inspire and educate children to think about the environment. Mathew Bate’s first picture book With a Little Kelp from Our Friends is certainly a step in the right direction, delving into the significance of seaweed and it’s potential to help tackle climate change. We asked Mathew to tell us a bit about how he became so acquainted with seaweed, its prominence in Australia and what led him to writing this vibrant book.

Photography: Charlie Perry

You are clearly a person of many talents, having worked as a former co-editor of Matters Journal, being a published poet and non-fiction writer and someone who knows their way around a camera. Do you have a favourite creative project that you have worked on?

That’s a tough question for me, I feel like all of my creative projects are part of one big lumpy collage — one thing always informs the next and so on. My creative process is largely me just bumping into things. I remember being in an introductory poetry subject at uni. We all had to put together a portfolio of poems. I went down to a velodrome near where I was living to write my first poem for this portfolio. A peculiar choice. I must have thought that watching bikes go round and round might spin some words out. I arrive and the velodrome was empty. Not a bike in sight. I sat in the middle on a grassy bit and squinted at the sun. Eventually a man and his daughter arrived, and I thought here comes my bike poem. But they didn’t have bikes. They unfurled a kite that was shaped like a boat. They took turns sailing it in the wind. I remember being so taken by the beauty of it all. I wrote my first poem that day and it had nothing to do with kites, or bikes. I’ve been jotting down things I see ever since.

You are currently studying regenerative agriculture — the first degree of its kind! Can you tell us a bit about what this means?

I’ve been studying the regenerative agriculture course at Southern Cross University for a year now. It’s becoming a bit of a buzz word but regenerative agriculture is essentially an umbrella term for a whole array of agricultural techniques and philosophies that aim to heal landscapes. We’ve gone off on a bit of a dangerous tangent with industrial agriculture and our planet is suffering because of it. Regenerative agriculture represents a break to that destructive and extractive approach to farming. Now, we’re seeing lots of inspiring farmers out there that are revitalising landscapes with a more holistic approach. Hopefully one day soon I’ll be one of them! 

Photography: Charlie Perry

What led you to becoming a self-proclaimed kelp enthusiast?

I honestly feel like seaweed grabbed me by the ankle and pulled me underwater. I was first awoken to seaweed’s regenerative potential by Tim Flannery’s book Sunlight and Seaweed and Paul Hawken’s book Drawdown. I then ended up spending some time with Tim Flannery and a group of people on Heron Island, on the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, and from there my curiosity for seaweed kind of spiralled into an obsession. A healthy obsession.

For those of us who have grown up in Australia, what type of kelp would we be familiar with? What would we be surprised to find out about it and its potential uses?

We’re spoilt in Australia when it comes to seaweed diversity. South Australia is actually a seaweed haven; 60% of the seaweed’s found on the South Australian coastline are found nowhere else in the world. There are thousands of different types of seaweeds you can find washed up on the beaches in Australia. Everyone seems to love the kelps, a family of about 120 large brown seaweeds. Giant kelp can grow one metre in two days and can reach full maturity, up to 50m in length, in a matter of months. Recently there’s been some promising research into seaweed biofuels that can power vehicles, which is pretty neat. Many people are also not aware that there’s a long history of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples using seaweed to make shoes, water carriers and shelters.

Photography: Charlie Perry

Where did the concept behind With a Little Kelp from Our Friends come from?

I suppose I really wanted to pull together all of these wonderful things I’d learnt to love about seaweed and present them in a book that everyone could read. There was a strong impulse to weave a narrative together that inspired love and wonder for the natural world, something that I think should be established as common ground. I was also thinking a lot about how to talk to children about climate change in a way that invites curiosity.

What was the research process behind the book like?

I was lucky that by the time I started planning the book I’d already done a fair amount of research. But there was a lot of research over several years. There were definitely times when the amount of research really tested my commitment to seaweed. Fortunately, I had a lot of people who were willing to share their knowledge and help me wade through the sea of information.

Illustration: Liz Rowland

If children and adults alike should take one thing away from With a Little Kelp from Our Friends, what should it be?

Seaweed’s power doesn’t come from its ability to extract, prey or trick but its ability to create community and provide shelter and food. In that sense, we should take a leaf from seaweed’s book.

What’s next for you?

Oh gosh, who knows. Let’s see what I bump into next. Perhaps seaweed farming! 

With a Little Kelp from Our Friends is available now. Text by Mathew Bate, illustrations by Liz Rowland and design by Hope Lumsden-Barry. Article photography by Charlie Perry.

AU$29.99


Posted on February 18, 2021
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Lose yourself in Philip Hughes’ landscape paintings

Painting the Ancient Land of Australia is artist Philip Hughes’ love letter to our continent. Depicting deep varicoulored mines, broad rolling plains, vast imposing landforms and exquisite calm bays, his paintings are breathtaking portrayals of natural landscapes and human interventions. As reflected throughout the book, they are unique in that they are informed and inspired by maps and aerial photographs.

Enjoy a look at some of the works featured in the book below.

Illustration: The Terraces of Tom Price Mine, 2005. Philip Hughes

Illustration: Lake Eyre, Shore, 2012. Philip Hughes

Illustration: Fraser Island, 2020. Philip Hughes

Illustration: Kangaroo Island, 2020. Philip Hughes

Illustration: Beside Butler Island, 1983. Philip Hughes

Illustration: Gosse Bluff, 2020. Philip Hughes

Painting the Ancient Land of Australia is out now. Text and illustrations by Philip Hughes and design by Claire Orrell.

AU$80.00


Posted on February 10, 2021
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A chat with our brand new children’s author, Kat Macleod

Kat Macleod really can do it all: having worked as a Melbourne-based illustrator, designer and exhibiting artist over the past twenty years, her journey has now taken her to the world of children’s publishing. Her first series with us is a staple set of four first concept books, covering the ABCs, 123s, colours and shapes. We spoke to Kat about her diverse career and how she was able to combine her love for art, illustration and children’s books.

Photography: Jimmy Teys

What sparked your passion for illustration, art and design?

I have loved drawing for as long as I can remember. As a child, my happy place was sitting and drawing at the kitchen table with textas and pencils. My high school art teacher encouraged me to study graphic design at uni, so that’s where I was introduced to the world of design. While I loved design and the structure and processes I learnt working in the industry for the past twenty years, at the heart of my practise is a deep passion and appreciation for art and illustration.

You have worked with lots of exciting clients, has there been a favourite project over the years that you can recall?

One of my favourite past projects is the first book I illustrated back in 2002, Bird. I had free reign to create a collection of drawings that were published as a limited edition art book with embroidered pages and a hand made cover. It’s very special to me as it marked the beginning of my career as an illustrator, and the realisation that I could combine my two greatest passions as a career path — design and illustration.

Illustration: Kat Macleod

How would you describe your signature illustration style?

Textural, bright and layered.

Your work is endlessly creative — what inspires you?

Thank you! I am inspired by art, design, creative individuals, fashion, films, music … but my biggest inspiration is nature. Whether it’s beautiful old trees along the Australian coastline, or found leaves at our local park, I am always inspired by the shapes and colours of the natural world.

Illustration: Kat Macleod

The Early Learners series is your first official foray into children’s publishing, what led you to the project?

I’ve been keen to work on children’s books for a long time and have made lots of little handmade books with my boys over the years. For my first step into the real world of children’s publishing it felt right to start at the beginning. Early learner board books are wonderful chunky little objects, full of illustrations and minimal text, and were very appealing to me as an illustrator and designer! It’s been a really exciting process to transition my illustrations from the art and design world into children’s books. Every page is an opportunity to create a composition of colour and form and lead the reader through simple narratives and playful themes.

What sets the series apart from other books for babies and toddlers?

These are colourful art-based books that are bright and engaging for babies and toddlers, and also hopefully are a pleasure for parents and carers to look at and read aloud.

Photography: Louisa Macleod

What challenges did you face in 2020?

I found 2020 challenging with the Melbourne lockdowns. Like most people, we really missed seeing our family and friends although I had plenty of company with my three active little boys home from school for so many months! The trickiest part was when schools closed, twice. I know I was not alone in finding it tremendously challenging to manage working from home whilst assisting my boys with tackling remote learning (big shout out to all the amazing teachers!) It was difficult to juggle everything but I know how lucky I was to be able to keep working, even if it meant after the boys were in bed. My husband is an essential services worker so I worried a lot about him at work too. It was a strange year but we have been lucky in Melbourne — the lockdowns and restrictions were inconvenient but they kept our city safe and all my loved ones stayed healthy, so I am extremely grateful for that.

What is next for you?

I am working on an exciting new picture book with you guys! It’s a really special little tale I’ve been dreaming up for a long time, I’m deep in the drawing stage. It’s such an exciting project and I can’t wait to share it.

Kat Macleod’s Early Learner series is available now. Text, illustration and design by Kat Macleod. Series includes:


Posted on January 28, 2021
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Two delectable recipes to try from Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery

In his second cookbook, one of our favourite chefs Matty Matheson opens up his home and shares his approachable style of cooking. Get a taste of the bold and beautiful dishes Matty serves up in Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery with these recipes for his Chicago-Style Pork Chop Sandwich and Green Curry Beef Ribs.

Chicago-Style Pork Chop Sandwich

Serves 2

Prep time: 15 minutes

Half of these sandwiches are inspired by my trips to Chicago, it seems, and this pork chop is a perfect piece of history. A bone-in pork chop sandwich may seem weird or even troublesome, but I feel it’s a challenge and I’m always up for it. Whenever I go to get one of these, I can smell the onions from down the street—piles of caramelized onions covering seared pork chops, keeping them warm like the belly of a mama bear. I love the kind of spots that can hand you a sandwich in less than a minute flat, and the whole family instantly has food that’s eaten on the hood of the car, eating and chewing away at an American classic that now can be made at home. You could buy good pork, maybe, or buy those frozen bone-in quarter-inch-thick guys that we all remember growing up.

Photography: Quentin Bacon

Ingredients:

  • 2 bone-in pork chops (the thinnest pork chops available, about 115 g per chop)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more for the onion
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 white onion, julienned
  • 4 slices toast
  • 2 tablespoons yellow mustard
  • 2 pickled jalapeño chiles

Directions:

  1. Season the pork chops with the salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large cast-iron skillet over high heat. Once the oil is smoking hot, add the pork chops and sear hard on the first side, about 2 minutes. Flip and repeat on the other side. Take out of the skillet and rest on wire rack.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in the hot pan. Throw the onion into the pan, stir it up, and hard-sear for 2 to 3 minutes. Put a lid on the pan and let the onion steam for a minute. You want those onions a little caramelized and burnt. Season with salt. Remove from heat and let rest.
  4. Spread 1 tablespoon of the mustard on one side of both the top and bottom pieces of toast. Place the pork chops on the bottom toast, cover with onions, and finish with the top toast, mustard side down. Serve with a pickled jalapeño.

Green Curry Beef Ribs

Serves 4 to 6

Prep time: 3 hours

Meat and rice is the new meat and potatoes. And braised beef ribs in spicy green curry is great for any meal— breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Real flavor-building, real spice, real tasty meals for the whole family. Building your skills and your palates are very important to keep things exciting in your home life. And guess what, the day after, shred this beef and make little rotis; add some cheese, even. Fuck this shit up.

Photography: Quentin Bacon

Ingredients:

For the beef short ribs:

  • 2 kg beef short ribs, meat removed from the bone and cut into 4 cm cubes
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup (200 g) diced onion
  • 2⁄3 cup (100 g) diced celery
  • 2 tablespoons sliced garlic
  • 1⁄4 cup (75 g) seeded and diced jalapeño chile
  • 1⁄2 cup (100 g) diced leek, white and green parts only
  • 2 stalks lemongrass, cut in half and smashed with the side of a knife
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 1 tablespoon green curry paste
  • 1 tablespoon ground Thai spice (equal parts toasted ground cardamom and toasted ground cumin)
  • 4 cups (880 ml) Beef and Bone Marrow Stock (page 55), or store-bought
  • 1 cup (240 ml) canned unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice

For the pickled garlic:

  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced paper-thin
  • 2 bird’s eye chiles, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar

For serving:

  • 1⁄3 cup (30 g) sliced scallions
  • 1½ cups (60 g) cilantro leaves, stems diced
  • Steamed jasmine rice, or Grilled Naan (page 30)

Directions:

  1. Make the short beef ribs: Season the short ribs with the salt and pepper. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Working in 2 batches, brown the short ribs on all sides, about 8 minutes per batch. Transfer the short ribs to a plate and pour out about 70 percent of the fat from the pot.
  2. Add the onion, celery, garlic, jalapeño, leek, and lemongrass to the pot; cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion starts to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the ginger, curry paste, and toasted spice mix and stir to coat the vegetables. Add the short ribs and any juices from the resting plate. Add beef stock to barely cover the top of the short ribs. Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to low; simmer until the short ribs are tender, 2 to 2½ hours. Remove the lemongrass and whisk in the coconut milk. Taste the broth for seasoning. Add the lime juice and salt as needed.
  3. While the beef is cooking, make the pickled garlic: In a small nonreactive bowl, combine the garlic and chiles. Heat the vinegar in a small skillet until bubbling. Pour the hot vinegar over the garlic and chiles and let sit for 1 hour.
  4. To serve: Generously divide the curry into serving bowls. Garnish the bowls with little spoonfuls of pickled garlic and lots of chopped scallion and cilantro leaves. Enjoy with jasmine rice or a big piece of grilled naan.

This is an edited extract from Matty Matheson: Home Style Cookery, out now. Text by Matty Matheson with photography by Quentin Bacon. Originally published by Abrams Books.

AU$49.99


Posted on January 20, 2021
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Marvel at the works of Arthur Streeton

For those either living in or visiting Sydney this Summer, The Art Gallery of New South Wales is currently presenting the most significant retrospective of Australian impressionist artist Arthur Streeton. If you can’t get to this incredible exhibition before it finishes on 14 February 2021, the accompanying book Streeton will transport you there. This tome features essays by curator Wayne Tunnicliffe, over 275 paintings and much more.

Get a taste of both the exhibition and the accompanying book with the following collection of some of Streeton’s greatest paintings.

Arthur Streeton ‘Land of the Golden Fleece’ 1926. Private collection, Sydney

Arthur Streeton ‘Butterflies and blossoms’ 1889. National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, purchased with the assistance of a special grant from the Government of Victoria 1979

Arthur Streeton ‘Early summer – gorse in bloom’ 1888. Art Gallery of South Australia, Adelaide, gift of Mrs Andrew Tennant through the Art Gallery of South Australia Foundation 1982

Streeton, edited by Wayne Tunnicliffe, is available now. You can purchase tickets to the exhibition at The Art Gallery of New South Wales here, exhibiting now until 14 February 2021.

AU$70.00


Posted on November 24, 2020
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‘Iso’, ‘boomer remover’ and ‘quarantini’: How coronavirus is changing our language

Kate Burridge, Professor of Linguistics, Monash University

Howard Manns, Lecturer in Linguistics, Monash University

People love creating words – in times of crisis it’s a ‘sick’ (in the good sense) way of pulling through. From childhood, our ‘linguistic life has been one willingly given over to language play’ (in the words of British linguist David Crystal). In fact, scientists have recently found that learning new words can stimulate exactly those same pleasure circuits in our brain as sex, gambling, drugs and eating (the pleasure-associated region called the ventral striatum).

We’re leximaniacs at heart and, while the behaviour can occasionally seem dark, we can learn a thing or two by reflecting on those playful coinages that get us through ‘dicky’ times.

Tom, Dick and Miley: In the ‘grippe’ of language play

In the past, hard times birthed playful rhymes. The 1930s Depression gave us playful reduplications based on Australian landmarks and towns: ‘ain’t no work in Bourke’; ‘everything’s wrong at Wollongong’; ‘things are crook at Tallarook’.

Whenever we face the possibility of being ‘dicky’ or ‘Tom [and] Dick’ (rhyming slang for ‘sick’), we take comfort in language play. It’s one thing to feel ‘crook’, but it’s another thing to feel as ‘crook as Rookwood’ (a cemetery in Sydney) or to have a ‘wog’ (synonymous with ‘bug’, likely from ‘pollywog’, and unrelated to the ethnic slur ‘wog’).

Remedies may be found in language’s abilities to translate sores into plasters, to paraphrase William Gouge’s 1631 sermon on the plague. New slang enables us to face our fears head-on, just as when the Parisians began calling a bout of late-18th century influenza ‘la grippe’ to reflect the ‘seizing’ effect it had on people. The word was subsequently taken up in British and American English.

In these times of COVID-19, there are the usual suspects: shortenings like ‘sanny’ (hand sanitiser) and ‘iso’ (isolation), abbreviations like BCV (before coronavirus) and WFH (working from home), as well as the compounds ‘corona moaner’ (the whingers) and ‘zoombombing’ (intrusion into a videoconference).

Plenty of nouns have been ‘verbed’ too – the toilet paper/pasta/tinned tomatoes have been ‘magpied’. Even rhyming slang has made a bit of a comeback, with Miley Cyrus lending her name to the virus (already end-clipped to ‘the Miley’). Some combine more than one process – ‘the isodesk’ (Or is that ‘the isobar’?) is where many of us are currently spending our days.

Slanguage in the coronaverse: What’s new?

What is interesting about COVID-lingo is the large number of creations that are blended expressions formed by combining two existing words. The new portmanteau then incorporates meaningful characteristics from both.

Newly spawned ‘coronials’ (corona + millennials) has the predicted baby boom in late 2020 already covered. ‘Blursday’ has been around since at least 2007 but originally described the day spent hung over; it’s now been pressed into service because no one knows what day of the week it is anymore. The official disease name itself, ‘COVID’, is somewhere between a blend and an acronym because it takes in vowels to make the abbreviation pronounceable (CO from corona, VI from virus and D from disease).

True, we’ve been doing this sort of thing for centuries – ‘flush’ (flash + gush) dates from the 1500s. But it’s never been a terribly significant method of coinage. English professor John Algeo’s study of neologisms over a fifty-year period (1941–91) showed blends accounting for only 5 per cent of the new words. Linguist Tony Thorne’s impressive collection of over 100 COVID-related terms has around 34 per cent blends, and the figure increases to more than 40 per cent if we consider only slang.

Not only have blends become much more common, the nature of the mixing process has changed too. Rather than combining splinters of words, as in ‘coronials’, most of these corona-inspired mixes combine full words with parts of others. The ‘quarantini’ keeps the word ‘quarantine’ intact and follows it with just a hint of ‘martini’ (and for that extra boost to the immune system, you can rim the glass with vitamin C powder). Many of these bubbled up during specific times of the pandemic – ‘lexit’ or ‘covexit’ (the strategies around exiting lockdown and economic hardship), ‘coronacation’ (working from home) and so on.

Humour: From the gallows to quarantimes

Humour emerges as a prevailing feature of these blends, even more so when the overlap is total. In ‘covidiot’ (the one who ignores public health advice and probably hoards toilet paper), both ‘covid’ and ‘idiot’ remain intact. There’s been a flourishing of these types of blend, including ‘covideo party’, ‘coronapocalypse’ and ‘covidivorce’, to name just a few.

Clearly, there is a fair bit of dark comedy in the jokes and memes that abound on the internet, and in many of these coinages too – compounds like ‘coronacoma’ (for the period of shutdown, or that deliciously long quarantine sleep) and ‘boomer remover’ (used by younger generations for the devastation of the baby boomer demographic).

Callous, heartless, yes. But humour is often used as a means of coming to terms with the less happy aspects of our existence. People use levity as a way of disarming anxiety and discomfort by downgrading what it is they cannot cope with.

Certainly, gallows humour has always featured large in hospital slang, with diagnoses like GOK (‘God only knows’) and PFO (‘pissed and fell over’). For those who have to deal with dying and death every day, it is perhaps the only way to stay sane. COVID challenges us all to confront the biological limits of our own bodies, and these days humour provides the much-needed societal safety valve.

So what will come of these creations? The vast majority will fall victim to ‘verbicide’, as slang expressions always do.

This is one of the fifty essays from 2020: The Year That Changed Us edited by Molly Glassey and co-published with The Conversation. Available now.

AU$21.99


Posted on November 23, 2020
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Breath meditation: essentials from High-Grade Living

Jacqui Lewis and Arran Russell are best known as the powerhouse team behind The Broad Place, a global school for creativity, clarity and consciousness. Now, they have released their first book High-Grade Living, a modern guide to wellbeing. Here we share an extract from the book focusing on one of the pillars of meditation: breath meditation.

We recommend learning meditation in person with a teacher, rather than from a book. However, you can get started on your own with a beginner’s style of meditation that is widely used, where the breath is the focal point.

Even though we’re breathing all the time, we often forget to breathe deeply and properly in the course of our day. Breath meditation helps us centre ourselves and become completely aware and present.

Image: Jacqui Lewis and Arran Russell

Putting into practice

First, get yourself into a comfortable seated position. Sitting still is very important for this technique, so finding a way to sit comfortably is key.

Ideally, you should start breath meditation by sitting cross-legged on the floor, with your back straight. Some find it helpful to sit on a cushion to raise the buttocks off the ground and allow the legs to fall gently forward.

However, you may find that while sitting on the floor without a back support, you slump your back and shoulders. It’s important to have a straight back, so we recommend sitting on a chair to begin with if you need that extra support. Experiment with both methods and find what works best for you.

Once seated, ensure that the spine is straight, the chin gently tucked in and the shoulders relaxed. Rest your hands comfortably and gently in your lap.

Close your eyes and become aware of your breathing. Your breaths should be light and easy, and gradually become longer in length.

Your breath is your guide during this meditation and it is what you come back to as an anchor for the busy mind.

Image: Jacqui Lewis and Arran Russell

Now move your focus to place your awareness on the lower belly. In Japanese practice this is known as the hara. Focus your mind intently there and breathe into this space. The belly should expand with each breath in and contract with each breath out. Each time you are distracted by thoughts (which will be constantly), this is the space you come back to.

As you concentrate on your breaths, the mind will dash about, the body will distract and surrounding noises will pester you. Don’t worry; this is normal. When you find yourself distracted, simply come back to the breath. How does it feel in the body? Are the breaths long and slow, or are they shortening naturally? Bring your awareness back to the hara and your attention back to the breath.

Repeat this practice once or twice a day for 15 minutes. Routine is very important and will ground your practice.

Image: Jacqui Lewis and Arran Russell

This is an extract from High-Grade Living, out now. Text and images by Jacqui Lewis and Arran Russell with design by Arran Russell.

AU$49.99


Posted on November 23, 2020
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An introduction to Songlines: The Power and Promise

Songlines is the first in the First Knowledges series of six books that will give an in-depth understanding of Indigenous expertise in six areas. The second and third books on Design and Country will be published in 2021.

LYNNE KELLY

If Indigenous art forms such as song, story, dance and ceremony are so similar and so effective in cultures around the world, why aren’t we using them in contemporary Western education? Why can’t we all benefit from Indigenous techniques for learning and storing knowledge?

The answer is simple: we can. All Indigenous knowledge techniques reflect the way the human brain stores information – the way your brain stores information. So why not use these knowledge methods alongside the techniques you already have? You don’t have to give up writing or technology. You don’t have to give up anything to add to your toolbox of memory aids and learn from the knowledge technologies that Indigenous cultures have been perfecting for millennia.

It’s time to go beyond learning about Indigenous cultures and start learning from them. If you start incorporating some of the ideas in this book into your personal knowledge system, you will experience the power of Songlines.

WITHOUT MEMORY, THERE IS NO KNOWLEDGE

Almost all human knowledge is now available on the internet – you just have to search for it. So why bother memorising anything? This worrying question is asked far too often.

Firstly, you can’t look up something if you don’t know it exists.

Secondly, as you burrow down to specific information, you can’t connect it to the bigger picture. Creativity – the way to see things in new ways and construct new ideas – depends on being able to see and understand from different directions. If you don’t have various forms of knowledge in memory, how can you identify new patterns and ideas? All you are capable of doing is regurgitating the information that has already been neatly written and indexed for you.

Thirdly, how often do the knowledge keepers in every society have to make decisions based on what they know, without the time to go and look it up? How would you feel about a doctor who had to look up every symptom you mentioned? Or a policeman who had no idea what the law stated? Or a singer who knew none of the lyrics without an autocue?

Fourthly, if you want to go to the higher levels of thinking that we educators talk about endlessly in education – analyse and synthesise, hypothesise and theorise – then you have to analyse, synthesise, hypothesise or theorise about something. Otherwise, your new  thinking is meaningless. By grounding your knowledge, literally, in Songlines, you have a firm knowledge base on which to build ever more complex layers of understanding.

And finally, your brain is a muscle. Like every other muscle in your body, it will slowly atrophy if you don’t use it. Looking up information and regurgitating it does not exercise your brain at all.

All knowledge is based on memory, and all memory is prompted by cues. One of the great gifts on offer to us from those who understand Songlines is how to set up those cues and push our memory just that much further to a capacity we have never experienced before.

MARGO NEALE

Like the Songlines that never end, the promise of this book is to open you up to a new way of understanding and a new way of knowing and being Australian on this continent. As an Australian, you too share a kinship with the First Peoples. We are all beneficiaries of the deep history of this continent and its long human occupancy stretching back thousands of generations. Immerse yourself in this legacy. It is a shared history in a shared country.

Elders from the Songlines exhibition who are custodians of the Seven Sisters Songline are very clear about why all Australians need to know about the Songlines. As they say, if you want to share this country with us then you need to know your stories beyond the last couple of hundred years. If you want to truly belong to this country, as Australians, you have to know your story about this place, this continent and its creation: ‘We are here to teach you your stories, not just to share ours. Without the deep stories you can’t take root, you will only ever be a transplant.’

The elders are not talking about sharing their stories; they are talking about telling you your stories.

Understanding how the Songlines work as a framework for relating people to each other and to place will give you the key to belonging. Learning how to integrate the dual knowledge systems from the first and second Australians will give you access to a third archive and with it, power over knowledge.

Songlines divulge powerful lessons about what it means to be human and to live on this earth. They offer us the promise of connectivity to each other and our planet in a fragmenting world.

This is an edited extract from Songlines: The Power and Promise by Margo Neale & Lynne Kelly, available now. Series editor Margo Neale and cover design by Nada Backovic. Ebook also available.

AU$19.99


Posted on November 11, 2020
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In praise of nature: a Q&A with Lewis Blackwell

Award-winning author Lewis Blackwell is known for publishing books that inspire ideas, evoke passion and embrace nature. His latest book, The Life & Love of the Forest, takes you on a visual tour of some of the world’s most majestic woodlands. We spoke to Lewis about his dynamic career, his love for nature and what he hopes readers will take away from the book.

Lewis Blackwell from The Life & Love of the Forest, image copyright © Tim Flach.

You have worked as a leading author, the creative head of Getty Images, the editor in chief and publisher of Creative Review magazine, and much more. What has been your career highlight so far?

What a tricky question. Perhaps I should give that honour to getting the first job, fresh out of university, when I really wanted to be writer but didn’t have much of a clue. I wanted to be a writer of… whatever, as long as it meant interesting people in interesting places. I sent off a lot of letters — this was pre-internet! — and almost all of the targets politely replied. And said they had no jobs. But then I struck lucky, and an excellent editor on a local evening paper in Devon saw something in me. In no time at all, I was writing masses of stuff that was getting published. Almost all of it instantly forgettable. But I learned a lot. And even then, I was sometimes engaging with environmental stories, and good photography (not mine, my friend Martin, the trainee photographer).

You are currently director of the Cresta Awards. Can you tell us a bit about your role and how it intersects with environmental issues?

The awards are about creative standards and we have work entered from more than 70 countries — all kinds of creativity in communication. It’s interesting how strongly environmental issues are a key and growing part of how brands express themselves around the world. I guess it is reflection of a rising consciousness that the environment needs protecting. One thing I want to do with Cresta is to find a way of channeling some of the great support we get from entrants into more long-term communication that can support environmental conservation.

From The Life & Love of the Forest by Lewis Blackwell, image copyright © Björn Forenius.

Where does your passion for nature stem from?

I roamed around the English countryside a lot as a child, with friends. It was either idyllic or neglect, perhaps a mix of both. We were scarcely environmentalists, but I did ‘take in’ nature. And I grew up on a fairly remote small farm for a while, where the natural world was much of what I spent time encountering. ‘Nature’ was entertainment. I’d take a day or two of school to read a book, go for a walk, take the horse for a ride. Trees and unkempt near wilderness, and so on, were everyday matters. I went back to the area recently and discovered quite a lot of the low-yielding land was now covered in small glittery rows of solar panels, farming the sun. Nothing had changed to improve the environment, although I guess the feed-in power helped the rural poverty. So, my passion now perhaps comes out of a sense of loss, of not taking opportunities earlier to fully appreciate and act in a stronger conservationist way. That’s a personal loss, and also a sense of a much wider communal failure.

The Life & Love of the Forest is a follow-up to your best-selling books The Life & Love of the Sea, The Life & Love of the Trees, The Life & Love of Cats and The Life & Love of Dogs. Why did you feel compelled to capture forests next?

Forests are inspiring beautiful subjects to show… and also a way into an important story. We all need to have a much stronger sense of the connectedness of our natural world. We need to better understanding how soil, light, water, bacteria, fungi, plants and animals, etc., all work together to make a healthy forest, and that the complexity of the forest is a key part of what makes our world liveable. It’s increasingly not a ‘nice to know’ but a fundamental, something that should be part of how we all sense our part in the world.

From The Life & Love of the Forest by Lewis Blackwell, image copyright © wootthisak nirongboot.

There are plenty of important messages evoked throughout the book – if readers can take one thing away from The Life and Love of Forests, what would you like it to be?

If there is one thing I would like people to do as a result of reading The Life and Love of Forests, it would be to share some of the knowledge with others. Particularly young people. You can inspire a young person with interest about plants, animals, fungi — just find the bits that excite them. There are endless options. So if there’s one thing I want you, dear reader and (I hope) forest lover, to do it is to sign up some more forest lovers who have a long life ahead of them to love, protect and grow healthier forests.

Do you see a future in which we can co-exist with nature long term? How has the pandemic changed your outlook on this?

I think we have to believe in a future where we can co-exist with nature. The alternative is that we don’t exist. Nature will come back in some form, but we might not. If we have wiped most of it out, then the resulting hellish world will wipe us out. And nature will start to recover. If we work together to protect and support species diversity, which is a big ask but is entirely do-able, then we can feed ourselves better and yet not eat up the planet. We can create massive natural reserves in the ocean and on land and yet have more produce. It is all possible, but it takes joined-up thinking and a different kind of politics than we are seeing today. But it could change quite quickly. The pandemic has taught us that much: things can change very quickly and we can respond quickly.

From The Life & Love of the Forest by Lewis Blackwell, image copyright © nazar_ab.

What’s next for you?

I’m looking to create more books — one or two ideas are in development — and do more with Cresta. I want to keep learning, keep discovering and do this while meeting interesting people in interesting places. Right now, I’m trying to write something for an environmental film. I’ve a lot to learn and hopefully some skills to flex while doing the learning. It is fascinating.  And answering these questions have reminded me that, up next, or very soon, must be a return walk in one of my favourite forests, a royal one indeed, here in Scotland where I am currently spending time.

The Life & Love of the Forest is out now. Text by Lewis Blackwell, cover image copyright © TonyFeder and design by Blackwell & Ruth.

AU$80.00


Posted on November 5, 2020
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Performing for Princess Diana: An extract from Soar

Ballet great David McAllister’s memoir Soar: A Life Freed by Dance is filled with enchanting stories from his life on and off the stage. In this edited extract from the book, he shares one of his most memorable experiences as a dancer for The Australian Ballet, performing for Princess Diana in 1992.

Image: Ronald G Bell/The Australian Ballet archive

In early 1992, The Australian Ballet was preparing to head to London for its thirtieth anniversary celebrations. The company travelled first to Italy, where we performed outdoors at the Nervi Festival, before heading to London for a season of Coppélia at the Coliseum theatre in the West End. There was some anxiety that a strike in France would prevent the sets and costumes from arriving in time, but mercifully they got there and the show could go on. Miranda Coney – a fellow principal whom I had known back in my Perth City Ballet days when we were children – and I were to dance the leads in Coppélia for the Royal Gala in front of Princess Diana. It was incredibly stressful. The dress rehearsal had been a disaster, I think in part because I couldn’t stop thinking about performing for the princess, a known ballet lover and one of the most stylish and beautiful people in the world. I was terrified of putting in a bad performance.

The next morning, with the show that night, I woke up vowing I was not going to be nervous but excited. I came to the theatre determined to enjoy myself hugely – it was the most effective way of dealing with my own expectations as well as those of the other dancers and the company’s management. If I can get through winning Bronze at the International Ballet Competition in Moscow, I told myself, and not for the first time, I can get through this. A security sweep through the theatre before the performance made us even more aware of our royal guest.

From the minute the curtain went up, it was one of the few shows in which I can honestly say I don’t think I put a foot wrong. The entire company was on fire that night. Everything just seemed to happen effortlessly; I even started taking a few risks with steps – and they paid off. Miranda was so much fun to dance with and I felt like we had a real connection – the whole performance was a joy and one of the best nights of my life.

At the end of the show, after the curtain calls, Princess Diana came up on stage and we were presented to her. She was absolutely radiant – a vision in a long peach and cream gown to her ankles, and so much more beautiful than even the best photographs of her. I was completely overwhelmed, and when she came to talk to us I was a tongue-tied mess. I can’t even remember what I said, but I doubt any of it made sense. I went back to the dressing room thinking I had just blown my special moment with the most famous woman on the planet. I knew some of us were being invited to a function after the performance, so I made a pact with myself that if I saw her there I wouldn’t gibber like an idiot; I would talk to her like a normal human being.

After we changed back into our civilian clothes, we were taken to St James’s Palace, where a few of us had been chosen to mix with British high society – including royalty. Miranda, artistic director Maina Gielgud and I were there along with some other dancers from The Australian Ballet, including Colin Peasley (who had performed as Dr Coppelius that night), Jayne Beddoe, Vicki Attard and Lisa Bolte. We all thought we would be at a table with Princess Diana, but it turned out she was on another table, with a seat next to her that was occupied by a revolving circuit of people throughout the night. I was on a table with some charming people from Chanel and was having a great time. Just before dessert, Lady Potter, one of our generous patrons and the host for the evening, came and asked me if I would like to have five minutes with the guest of honour. I was sitting next to the princess before Lady Potter could finish her sentence. As luck would have it, this was precisely as dessert was being served, which, according to protocol, meant I couldn’t be moved along until the plates had been cleared.

We had about fifteen minutes together while she grappled with her peach sorbet (that was actually served in the shape of a peach) – it was so frozen she asked for a knife to cut into it, and we both spent the next few minutes trying to hack into it, in vain. The princess immediately made me feel at ease, like we were old friends. We talked about her dancing, her favourite ballet (Romeo and Juliet), Chanel shoes and our performance, which thankfully she liked. It was all a little surreal. Who would have thought that a daggy little kid showing off on a septic tank in suburban Perth would one day have dessert with a princess?

This is an edited extract from Soar: A Life Freed by Dance, out now. Text by David McAllister and Amanda Dunn, cover image by Greg Barrett and cover design by Daniel New.

AU$39.99


Posted on October 22, 2020
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A beautiful Spring menu plan from Miss Maggie’s Kitchen

We are so lucky to be able to share with you a Spring menu plan curated by the ever so talented recipe creator Héloïse Brion. This collection of recipes is taken from her new book, Miss Maggie’s Kitchen, named after her widely loved food and lifestyle brand. Together, they form a delicious four course French feast that is sure to impress your next dinner party guests.

Rosemary-Rhubarb Cooler

Makes 4 cocktails

Photography by Christophe Roué

Active Time 5 minutes

Cooking Time 5 minutes

Infusing Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 600 g young, pink-stemmed rhubarb, divided
  • 1½ cups (300 g) superfine sugar
  • ¾ cup (200 ml) water
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary with flowers, divided 2 lemons, preferably organic
  • ¾ cup (200 ml) vodka
  • Large ice cubes
  • About 2 cups (500 ml) sparkling water

Recipe

  1. Wash the rhubarb and cut 500 g into small pieces, and the remaining 100 g into 4 large pieces for garnish. Place the small rhubarb pieces in a large saucepan with the sugar, water, and 3 rosemary sprigs. Heat until the sugar dissolves, then boil for 5 minutes to make a syrup. Remove from the heat and let infuse for 15 minutes.
  2. Strain the syrup through a fine-mesh sieve and place 2 tablespoons of syrup in each of 4 glasses.
  3. Top the syrup in each glass with the juice of ½ lemon and 3½ tbsp (50 ml) vodka.
  4. Add 4–5 ice cubes and a splash of sparkling water per drink. Stir to combine.
  5. Garnish with pieces of the remaining rosemary sprig and rhubarb before serving.

Cheese Shortbreads

Makes about 30

Photography by Christophe Roué

Active Time 10 minutes

Chilling Time 1 hour

Cooking Time 15 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 stick plus 1tsp (120g) unsalted butter, well chilled and diced
  • 1 3/4 cups (200g) shredded mature cheddar
  • 1/2 cup (50g) grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup (130g) all-purpose flour
  • 12 pecan halves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Recipe

  1. In a large bowl, combine the butter, cheeses, cayenne pepper, flour, and a pinch of kosher salt using your fingertips. When the dough comes together, shape it into a large ball.
  2. Divide the dough in two and shape each half into a log with a diameter of 6–7 cm. Cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut the chilled dough logs into 0.5 cm slices and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Top each slice with either a pecan half or a small sprig of rosemary or thyme, lightly pressing them into the dough, and bake for 15 minutes. While the shortbreads are still warm, sprinkle them with kosher salt and pepper. Let cool and serve.

Green Bean Salad with Hazelnuts and Parmesan

Serves 4

Photography by Christophe Roué

Active Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 kg green beans
  • 2 tsp whole grain mustard
  • 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp hazelnut oil
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp crushed toasted hazelnuts
  • 2 handfuls arugula
  • 1 handful shaved Parmesan
  • 1 handful dried cranberries or blueberries
  • A few arugula or amaranth sprouts (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Recipe

  1. Blanch the green beans in generously salted water for 5 minutes.
  2. Plunge the beans into a large bowl filled with ice water. After 1 minute, drain and dry the beans.
  3. In the base of a large salad bowl, prepare the vinaigrette: Combine the mustard, vinegar, extra-virgin olive oil, and hazelnut oil, then season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the green beans, hazelnuts, shallot, and dried cranberries or blueberries to the salad bowl and toss with the vinaigrette.
  5. Before serving, sprinkle the salad with the arugula, Parmesan, and amaranth sprouts if using.

Onion Quiche

Serves 4-6

Photography by Christophe Roué

Active Time: 20 minutes

Chilling Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 quantity savory pastry dough with thyme (see recipe p. 25)
  • 7 onions (a mix of yellow and red), thinly sliced 1 tbsp butter, plus more for greasing the pan 3 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 eggs
  • ¾ cup (200 ml) heavy cream
  • 2 pinches ground cumin
  • 1 handful grated Gruyère cheese
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Recipe

  1. Prepare the savory pastry dough with thyme leaves as indicated on page 25. Cover in plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, place the onions in a large saucepan or Dutch oven with the butter, a generous pinch of salt, and a few grinds of pepper. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring often, until the onions are tender and translucent.
  3. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 and grease a 28-cm tart pan or dish with butter. Roll the dough into an approximately 32-cm round. Ease the dough into the pan, gently pressing it into the sides. Trim any excess dough, prick the base with a fork, and pre-bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove the crust from the oven and spread the mustard over the base in a thin layer. Distribute two-thirds of the onions evenly over the mustard.
  5. In a bowl, beat the eggs, then whisk in the cream and cumin. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over the onions in the tart crust and sprinkle with the grated Gruyère. Scatter the remaining onions over the top and bake for 35–40 minutes, until the filling is set and the crust is golden.

Franou’s Lemon Pie

Serves 6-8

Photography by Christophe Roué

Active Time 20 minutes

Chilling Time 2 hours

Cooking Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

FOR THE PASTRY DOUGH

  • 1 egg yolk
  • ½ cup (100 g) granulated or superfine sugar
  • 3½ tbsp (50 ml) water or milk
  • 2 cups (250 g) all-purpose flour 1 pinch salt
  • 1 stick plus 2 tsp (125 g) unsalted butter, well chilled and diced, plus more for greasing the pan
  • Generous ½ cup (80 g) toasted pine nuts

FOR THE LEMON CURD FILLING

  • 2 large lemons, preferably organic
  • 1 stick plus 2 tbsp (5 oz./150 g) unsalted butter
  • ⅔ cup (4½ oz./130 g) granulated or superfine sugar
  • 3 small eggs

Recipe

  1. To prepare the pastry dough, whisk together the egg yolk and sugar in a bowl, then whisk in the milk. Combine the flour and salt in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub it into the flour with your fingertips until coarse crumbs form. Work in the egg-sugar mixture, followed by the pine nuts, until the dough just comes together in a ball. Shape into a round, flatten the top, cover with plastic wrap, and let rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas Mark 4 and grease a 28-cm tart pan or dish with butter. Roll the dough into an approximately 33-cm round. Ease the dough into the pan, gently pressing it into the sides. Trim any excess dough, prick the base with a fork, and bake for 25 minutes, until golden. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. To prepare the lemon curd filling, remove the zest from 1 of the lemons in strips, using a vegetable peeler; juice both lemons and set the juice aside. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add the zest, and blanch zest for 5 minutes. Drain the zest and return it to the saucepan. Add the butter and cook over low heat until the butter melts. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl.
  4. Meanwhile, in another bowl, whisk the sugar and eggs together. Whisk in the lemon juice, followed by the melted butter. Pour into the saucepan and set over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture coats the back of the spoon and has slightly thickened; this could take up to 8–10 minutes. Do not let the mixture boil or it may split. Remove from the heat and let cool for about 10 minutes. Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1½ hours. Spoon the chilled filling into the baked crust, smooth over the top, and serve.

This is an edited extract from Miss Maggie’s Kitchen, out now. Text by Héloïse Brion with photography by Christophe Roué. Originally published by Flammarion.

AU$39.99


Posted on October 21, 2020
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Delve into the colourful world of design with David Harrison

A Century of Colour in Design is design journalist David Harrison’s dazzling anthology of 250 furniture, fabric, lights and decorative objects, illustrating how colour has defined key designs over the last century. This vibrant history will be a discovery for both design newbies and aficionados, broad in scope and filled with everything from classics to eye-catching new pieces.

We spoke to David about his long relationship with Australian and international design, the idea behind A Century of Colour in Design and his thoughts on the future of colour in design.

You have been writing and styling for some of Australia’s best interiors magazines since 1999, how did you go about developing such an extensive knowledge of design and furniture?

In the 1990s I lived in Islington, London. A shop called twentytwentyone opened on the high street selling vintage furniture and lighting along with really interesting contemporary design. It was there that I discovered the brilliance of Charles and Ray Eames and saw the work of British designers Barber Osgerby for the first time. I was hooked and spent many a late night perusing Bonham’s and Christies twentieth century auction catalogues. My knowledge has stemmed from this period of intense discovery and then later from running a design gallery which sold Noguchi lights from Japan and Danish and American furniture from the 1950s and 60s. I also discovered a lot from doing research for my regular Cult Classic page for Inside Out magazine which ran for nearly 20 years.

Your blog, Design Daily, has been praised by designers and creatives from across the globe. Tell us what drew you to this work, and what you like to report on.

The blog was a way of writing about interesting design topics that were outside of commissions that I received from magazines. It allows me to see something exciting or particularly beautiful and write about it. It is a personal exploration of what has come across my desk or what I have seen at design fairs overseas or through meeting and interviewing designers. What I feature can be a new design or a designer retrospective, a building or exhibition – there are no rules as it is just whatever takes my fancy. That’s the beauty of writing your own blog.



A Century of Colour in Design is your first solo book project. What led you to its concept and how did the book come to life?

The general premise came about through visiting the Milan Furniture Fair (Salone del Mobile) year after year and noticing how the design world was embracing colour more and more. There has literally been an explosion of colour since 2000 and it is growing exponentially. The colour component in a design is critical now where it often wasn’t given much consideration in years gone by – it was usually an afterthought at the end of the design and manufacturing process. Certain designers ALWAYS considered colour as an essential component. This is why there are eight sections in the book that highlight particular designers or design studios that have a major fascination with colour. Four of them are from the past and four are contemporary. 



In the introduction to the book, you say that ‘making selections that cover a century of furniture, lighting and other interior design objects is an enormous and somewhat daunting task.’ Aside from of course ‘applying the filter of colour’, what was the process behind the selection of objects? 

Of the tens of thousands of objects that fit within the loose area of interior products – lighting, furniture decorative objects and textiles – I selected designs from the past that used colour as an essential part of their overall expression. These have stood the test of time, in that they have often been reissued and are still considered exciting 20, 30 or even 80 years after their original release. I also chose pieces that had used or were currently using colour in innovative or surprising ways. The book is full of these examples. 

Was there an object you loved that didn’t make it into the book?

There were many, many objects that I would have liked to include but which there simply wasn’t room for. In addition, there were times where I couldn’t obtain suitable images. After much agonising I am happy with all the products that are included. Some are famous while others are hardly known at all. I tried to get a balance so that it wasn’t all about design classics and I could showcase the huge number of contemporary designs that used colour in highly effective ways.

What role do you think colour will play in the next ten years of furniture and interior design?

Colour will be massively important. It is such an emotive thing – without it life is instantly less exciting. Designers already consider colour much earlier on in the design process and this will only become more accentuated as time goes on. Colour choices will become an essential part of the design process with plenty of discussions on exact shades with designers creating their own colours, beyond the industrially available palette, to help express their concept more fully or to deliver a particular emotion.



Have you faced many challenges in your line of work since the pandemic begun?

Actually, after being isolated day after day working on the book for a solid six months at the end of 2019 and early 2020, my life is much the same but without a deadline so somewhat more relaxed! For the design world everything has had to go virtual – new product launches, design fairs, talks, everything. It is a shame as these events were often incredibly stimulating and fun but I am sure things will eventually get back to being more immediate and real. It’s hard to capture the true spirit of furniture and interior objects unless its shown in a real space as the environment has such a massive effect on how these objects feel and the type of reactions they create.

A Century of Colour in Design is available now. Text by David Harrison and design by Evi-O.Studio.

AU$39.99


Posted on October 15, 2020
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WIN a personalised book pack worth $2000 (CLOSED)

This competition is now closed. The winner will be contacted next Wednesday 25 November and announced on this page. Thank you to everyone who entered.

Frequently Asked Questions

How will the book pack be “personalised”?

From the genre selections chosen in the competition form, Thames & Hudson Australia staff will hand-select titles for the winner’s prize based on which genres interest them most. Please note, these genres are limited to books available on the Thames & Hudson Australia and distributed partner lists, which you can find on our website. Unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate requests for specific titles.

How many times can I enter?

Only one entry per person is permitted.

What dates will the competition be running?

The competition opens at 9am on Wednesday 14 October 2020 (AEST) and closes at 5pm on Wednesday 18 November 2020 (AEST).

When will the winner be announced?

The winner will be contacted before 5pm Wednesday 25 November 2020 (AEST). Their name will be posted, with their permission, to this page before 5pm Thursday 26 November 2020 (AEST) and remain live for two-weeks until Thursday 10 December 2020 (AEST).


Posted on October 8, 2020
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Meet the dwarf star: an extract from The Secret Life of Stars

The Secret Life of Stars is a fun and accessible introduction to the many remarkable personalities in our galactic family. From renowned astrophysicist and Australia’s first Women in STEM Ambassador Lisa Harvey-Smith, the book guides you through the most extreme and confounding members of the Galaxy’s vast, varied and really quite weird stellar brood.

In this extract from the book, Lisa delves into the strange and fascinating existence of dwarf stars.

Stars appear in a vast range of sizes, with most being smaller and cooler than the Sun. The smallest burn their hydrogen more slowly and therefore have much lower temperatures. You can tell a lot about a star from its colour. Hotter stars give off more blue light, and cooler stars tend to the red. It’s similar to how hot gas-cooking flames are blue, whereas cooler candle flames are red. Counterintuitive, huh?

By looking in great detail at the colours of stars, we can tell precisely how hot they are, what chemicals they contain, and how old they are. We can even predict their future as they go through the ageing process.

Before we go on, I should fess up that the names of star categories make no logical sense whatsoever. From the coolest to the hottest stars we call them M, K, G, F, A, B and O, with numbered subcategories from 0 to 9. Uh-huh …

There are also subcategories for luminosity (how much light a star puts out) from 0 through to VII, in Roman numerals, just to be fancy.

Adding to the confusion, all small and average-sized stars are called ‘dwarf stars’. Only the very rare and very large stars are called ‘giants’ or ‘supergiants’. There are no ‘regular’ stars.

At this point I’d like to apologise on behalf of astronomers everywhere for this ridiculous situation – astronomy is littered with strange historical naming schemes. But there we have it.

Our Sun is a G2V star, somewhere in the middle of the jumbled alphabet soup of stars. B and O stars, at the top end of the scale, are humongous, gluttonous giants that explode in a shower of sparks when they come to the end of their life. In contrast, M and K stars are cool and steady types who live long and interesting lives. From now on, we will call these M and K stars ‘red dwarfs’.

Red dwarfs have only about a tenth to one half the mass of the Sun, and are only half as hot. They are smaller in physical size, too, and decidedly dimmer (although not lacking in intelligence). These stars are capable of great feats of physics – they still burn hydrogen into helium to produce vast amounts of energy in their core – but because they are smaller, there are far fewer nuclear reactions and their output is decidedly more puny.

Red dwarfs are the most common type of star in the Milky Way, with the faintest M-dwarfs making up more than 70 per cent of stars in our universe. Despite that, we never see them. I mean that literally. We don’t see any of them. At all. Ever. We didn’t even know that red dwarfs existed before the invention of the telescope, because they are too faint to see with the naked eye. Imagine that! Every star you can see is part of the 30 per cent minority.

As slow burners, these stars live extremely long and varied lives. Not only does their reduced rate of nuclear fusion extend their life, but also their enhanced internal mixing causes fresh hydrogen fuel from the outskirts of the star to be transported to the engine in the middle. As such, we predict that red dwarfs can live in excess of a trillion years.

As adolescents they can be active and sparky. In this gregarious stage of their lives they are often characterised as ‘flare’ stars. Rather than being a regrettable 1970s fashion statement, this moniker actually describes a stage of intense variability in the life of lower-mass stars where they quickly erupt – explode, even – for a few minutes before relaxing back to their regular demeanour as if nothing had happened. Flares from young red dwarfs are 100 to 1000 times more energetic than when the stars are older. As red dwarfs age, they cease this nonsense and increasingly potter their way through life, with age slowly ripening and changing their character.

Stars of all sizes form when gravity pulls together materials in interstellar clouds of gas. Red dwarfs are the littlest stars, just slightly larger than Jupiter, and are the smallest member in the official category of stars. But there are also some almost-rans, plucky hopefuls who tried but just missed the cut-off for full stardom. These battlers, called brown dwarfs, live out quite different lives to other stars.

With core temperatures of below 3 million degrees Celsius, brown dwarfs are simply not big or hot enough to turn hydrogen into helium via nuclear fusion. They can, however, manage other nuclear fusion reactions involving chemicals called deuterium and lithium. These reactions don’t generate as much heat as hydrogen fusion, so the surface temperatures of brown dwarfs are generally below 800 degrees. They emit almost no visible light: if you looked at one close up, you might just see a dim purple-ish glow.

Brown dwarfs weren’t discovered until 1995, because the only way to find them is to use infra-red detectors. Once astronomers built a telescope powerful enough to see them, we could finally make out their slight warmth in the icy cold of space.

Lisa Harvey-Smith

The Secret Life of Stars is out now. Text by Lisa-Harvey Smith, illustrations by Eirian Chapman and cover design by Philip Campbell Design.

AU$34.99


Posted on October 1, 2020
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A recipe for blueberry-rhubarb jam

If anyone knows a thing or two about jam, it’s Jessica Koslow. After the success of her first book Everything I Want to Eat, the owner of beloved LA restaurant Sqirl is back with The Sqirl Jam Book. This home cook-friendly book features a collection of Koslow’s signature recipes for jams, jellies and preserves. Think fig jam with red wine, roasted honey apple butter and yuzu marmalade with honey. Not sure where to start? Give this delightful blueberry-rhubarb jam a go.

Photography by Scott Barry

Blueberry-rhubarb is the first berry jam that we made at Sqirl after marmalade season, a riff on a Southern classic. An iconic jam for me because it’s what Sqirl’s all about — taking a classic and turning it on its head.

Ingredients

  • 1,000 g rhubarb
  • 1,000 g blueberries
  • 1,200 g (6 cups) sugar (60% of the weight of blueberries plus rhubarb)
  • 40 g (2 Tbsp plus 2 tsp) lemon juice (2% of the weight of blueberries plus rhubarb)

Directions:

  1. Prepare your plate test by putting a few saucers in the freezer.
  2. Cut the rhubarb into 6 mm slices; they should all be about the same size for even cooking. Set aside.
  3. Put the blueberries in a blender and puree until smooth: Start with a little bit of the blueberries and blend on low speed as you add the rest of the berries and increase the speed.
  4. If you have more or less than 2,000 g rhubarb and blueberries (we use 50% rhubarb and 50% blueberries), you can figure out how much sugar and lemon juice you will need by using the following formula:
    • Grams of rhubarb plus blueberries × 0.60 = grams of sugar
    • Grams of rhubarb plus blueberries × 0.02 = grams of lemon juice
  5. Combine the blueberry puree, rhubarb, sugar, and lemon juice in a jamming pot. Cook the mixture over high heat, stirring frequently. When the rhubarb is softened, about 14 minutes, reduce the heat to low. Use a potato masher or wooden spoon to smash it; you’re going to be stirring a lot because the fruit needs to disintegrate, release liquid, and eventually melt into the blueberry puree. (It won’t fully break down — it’s okay to have some chunks.)
  6. Turn the heat back up to high and cook for 4 minutes, stirring. Use a spider or fine-mesh skimmer to skim off any scum. Dip the spider into a bowl of water and shake off any excess to clean between skims.
  7. Reduce the heat to low, then smash the rhubarb again with a potato masher for a minute. Turn the heat back up to high and continue to cook, stirring and skimming as necessary, for another couple of minutes, until the jam is thickened, the texture is homogenous, and the temperature reaches 101°C, about 25 minutes total. Perform a plate test.
  8. Spoon a little of the jam onto a frozen saucer. Put the plate back in the freezer for 1 minute, then slide a finger through the jam. It’s done when it parts and you see a strip of clean saucer. If it isn’t set, return the pot to the heat, stir constantly, and test again after 1 to 2 minutes.

Photography by Scott Barry

This is an edited extract from The Sqirl Jam Book, out now. Text by Jessica Koslow with photography and design by Scott Barry. Published by Abrams Books.

AU$49.99


Posted on September 18, 2020
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The story behind This Small Blue Dot with Zeno Sworder

This Small Blue Dot is one of a kind when it comes to picture books. With a strong message of interconnectedness, hope, inclusivity and empowerment, the book follows a little girl exploring the big and small things in life. We chatted to first-time author, illustrator and all-round talent Zeno Sworder about his fascinating career and the inspiration behind this powerful story.

You have certainly had a multifaceted career, working in immigration law, journalism, teaching, advocacy for refugees and immigrants, and even a jewellery designer. Can you tell us about one of your career highlights?

One of the absolute highlights was working on the Australia China adoption program for the Australian Consulate General in Shanghai. Although reading the babies’ abandonment reports could be heartbreaking, meeting with the Australian parents and the adopted Chinese babies was wonderful.

There were a few occasions when I had to sit down and explain to the adopting parents that the baby’s medical results showed a developmental delay. You can imagine how difficult this news was. At this point they had already spent a day or two with the baby. Because of the baby’s young age, it wasn’t clear whether the delay was due to a lack of interaction in the orphanage or a congenital disorder. But on each occasion, the parents expressed that they wanted to go ahead with the adoption and that the baby was now their responsibility to care for. One adopting father simply said that they were a family as soon as the baby was in their arms. I found that courage to be deeply moving.

How did you learn to do pencil and crayon drawing, and how long have you been an illustrator for?

I think pencil and crayon are the tools that most of us use for our first scribble. Foolishly, I kept going with them rather than move on to more technical mediums like pastels and conte sticks. I didn’t grow up with a TV, so drawing was the main source of entertainment in my house. I remember always wanting more and more pencils. For years I longed for a Derwent pack of 72 pencils, but it never happened until I was an adult (and it turns out 72 pencils still isn’t enough). I have been working as an illustrator for roughly ten years and dabble with a lot of different traditional and digital mediums, however I loved returning to pencil and crayon for this book. The pencils allowed me to make realistic graphite renderings of the young protagonist, Ms Crayon, while the loud, vibrant colour of the crayons was perfect for the world of her wild imagination.

Illustration by Zeno Sworder

Just to add to your many talents, what led you to authoring a children’s book?

It was a number of things that happened in succession. Within the space of a few years my Chinese grandmother and my English father passed away and then our second daughter was born. My grandmother and father were both wise, kind souls and I was left remembering what they had taught me and wondering what lessons they would have wanted to pass forward to our young girls. I decided to put some of these down in writing and then thought it would be a good idea to illustrate them. Every night, when everyone else was asleep, I would spend an hour or two at my desk doing this. It was time that I could spend with the memories of my grandmother and father while also making a gift for my daughters. I thought of this work as a kind of bridge to help connect these different souls that shared so much but were separated by time.

Your young narrator is loosely based on your eldest daughter. How did she inspire you to tell this story?

When I first started drawing these pages there wasn’t really a protagonist, just a colourful illustration with text and then a character kind of crept into the book to help tie things together. The first iteration of this character, Ms Crayon, was older and had a different appearance than my daughter. At that time my daughter would have been 6 and one day she came into the studio to tell me very matter-of-factly that she couldn’t be a princess. I asked why, and she explained that none of the princesses wore glasses. I was certain that with the power of the internet I could find a picture of a princess with glasses and I did manage to find a photo of a European princess but my daughter wasn’t very convinced – she was after a Disney princes. So after that I redrew the book with a protagonist who looked more like her with glasses.

Illustration by Zeno Sworder

Both my daughters and I come from multicultural backgrounds. They attend public schools full of kids from different backgrounds. For purely selfish reasons, I love the idea that some of that diversity is reflected on bookshelves and that my children will be able to see faces in books that represent the multicultural world they inhabit.

What message do you want to get across to young readers?

The main message of the book is summed up in the title of This Small Blue Dot. I wanted to get across the idea that we are all inhabitants of a bright dot spinning in space, which is home to all of us. It is up to us to take care of our home and each other. I also wanted to pass on the important lessons that I remembered from my grandmother and father: lessons about interconnectedness, beauty, the human continuum and how to use an imagination. In short, lessons about how to be in this world. These lessons were passed onto me with a spirit of fun and generosity and I have done my best to capture that tone in the book.

Do you have any advice for first time children’s authors?

My advice is to dream up a big idea that will sustain you creatively for a year or so and then start to chip away at it, one page at a time. A routine is key to this. For many years I thought that great work required an alignment of the planets and an angel to whisper an idea into an ear. It turns out the reality is a lot more mundane. For me, it is about placing my bottom in a chair every day at a specific time to do specific creative work. You won’t always make gold with the first attempt, but you will be able to put something onto paper. That in itself is precious because once it exists in the world it can be worked into something better.

What’s next for you?

I am currently working on my next book, which will also be published by the wonderful people at Thames & Hudson Australia. In my spare time I am slowly but surely learning how to use Instagram.

This Small Blue Dot is available now. Text and illustrations by Zeno Sworder.

AU$24.99


Posted on September 11, 2020
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How to Grow Beetroot With as Little as a Windowsill

There is little more satisfying than growing something you can eat. The joy of picking a ripe tomato, digging out a wonky potato or ripping off some fresh basil leaves is spring’s very own drug.

Claire Ratinon is an organic food grower who once grew food for Ottolenghi’s kitchen. In this extract from her first book, How to Grow Your Dinner Without Leaving the House, Claire demystifies an Australian favourite: beetroot.


As a child, I only ever tasted cooked supermarket beetroot. It was always a bit soggy and sour, and made all that touched it bright pink. Suffice to say, it was not my favourite. But as a grown-up vegetable fancier, I find my love for beetroot is constantly expanding. I’ve come to appreciate its earthy sweetness, and I adore the colours and tastes of the more unusual varieties, such as ‘Choggia’, with its concentric circles of magenta and white, or golden beetroot, which is a bright, warm yellow in appearance and flavour. You can also eat the highly nutritious leaves, although take only a few at a time or your beetroot plant will stop growing.

Photography by Ida Riveros

Timing
You can sow beetroot seeds indoors from early spring, plant them out 4–6 weeks later and harvest by early summer. Sow seeds every few weeks if you have the space, for a regular supply. Seeds sown in mid summer will yield roots that can be kept into winter, as long as they’re harvested and stored before the first frost.

Getting started
Beetroot seeds benefit from being soaked before sowing so put your seeds in a glass of water for 24 hours. Plant a couple of seeds in each module, as they grow well in a little group. Each seed is actually a cluster of seeds with the potential to produce a few germinated seedlings, so thin the bunch down to four or five strong plants while they’re still small. You can also sow directly into the final container. If you’ve used modules, transplant the seedlings while they’ve got two sets of leaves per plant: they won’t appreciate being moved once they’re bigger.

Growing

Container
Beetroot doesn’t need a huge container, and you can plant one cluster of seedlings in a 5-litre pot with a diameter of 22cm. If you grow the plants close together, you will still get a harvest but the roots will be on the small side.

Water
It’s important not to let your beetroot plants dry out or their roots will become woody, so be generous when you water, especially in hot, dry weather.

Light
Beetroot grows best in a sunny position, but it can tolerate some shade as long as it has had a strong start in life, with adequate light.

Feeding
Beetroots are vigorous growers and will benefit from feeding when grown in pots. A fortnightly feed of liquid seaweed or comfrey will support the plants to grow and roots to develop.

Harvesting

Your first beetroot harvest can arrive as early as two months after sowing, when the root is the size of a golf ball. At this stage you can also harvest the leaves and cook them as you would spinach. These early harvests will be the sweetest and most tender. Gently twist off the largest roots and leave the remaining ones to keep growing, harvesting them as you want to eat them. Just don’t let them get much larger than a tennis ball, or they’ll be tough and less delicious.


How to Grow Your Dinner: Without Leaving the House is out now. Text by Claire Ratinon and cover by Rita Platts.


Posted on September 10, 2020
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Pups, photography and property: a Q&A with Nicole England

When we first released Nicole England’s Resident Dog in 2018, we were amazed at the response we received. Who knew that the crossover between architecturally superb houses and the adorable dogs that roamed them would resonate with so many people?

With the recent re-release of the book in a compact edition, we chatted to Nicole about all things architecture and interiors, and why the book continues to be a fan favourite both locally and internationally.

Tell us a bit about your path to becoming an architecture and interiors photographer.

After completing a Bachelor of Fine Arts at Auckland University, I went off to pursue a career in photography, working in fashion, advertising and music. After a couple of years, I gave it up, feeling disillusioned and disheartened by working within the commercial arena. My mother had a strong interest in interior design and my brother was an architect, so I settled on a job working in sales and marketing for an interior design company. Six years later, I picked up the camera again and decided to photograph within the design industry that I had grown to love. That was the ah-ha moment… this was where I was meant to be all along, photographing architecture and interiors. This was my style and my passion, and I haven’t looked back since.

What are some of your key tips for setting up the perfect photoshoot?

Be organised, be flexible, arrive early, be aware of the light and how it moves around the space, stay focused, have an assistant to help, a stylist to set things up, and of course, a dog to remind us to relax and have fun.

What challenges have you faced in your line of work since the pandemic begun?

Unfortunately, most of my shoots have been put on hold. It’s not too bad though, as I’ve had time to work on my business, learn some new skills, and start a couple of personal projects. The shoots will re-book again, I’m certain of that, so I’m just trying to enjoy the downtime before things go crazy again.

Skipper. Photography by Nicole England

Where did the concept of Resident Dog come from?

One day a friend and mentor asked me what my favourite shoot day would look like. I told her I would be photographing the most incredible architecturally designed home you’ve ever seen, surrounded by forest and ocean. There would be a great crew of people to work with, the architect, the homeowner, a stylist and an assistant, a dog would be running around, the weather would be perfect, we would eat great food and drink wine at the end of the day… an opportunity to combine all of my favourite things. From that story, the one fly away comment about the dog was honed in on, and Resident Dog was born. We see a lot of dogs in architecture photography, more and more these days, but nobody had dedicated an entire project or book to our furry friends, the most important member of our home.

Scout, Diesel and Boston. Photography by Nicole England

Do you have a favourite project from Resident Dog?

To be honest, I don’t. I love them all for different reasons. If I had to choose, it would probably be the residence of Canela (the cover star of the compact edition). She lives in an incredible concrete box, designed by Mexican architect Andres Castilles. The house has a hard brutalist exterior but is filled with love and warmth.

Canela. Photography by Nicole England

And a favourite pup?

I couldn’t possibly say, imagine if one of them read this! Charlie definitely has the best hair do, Ginger and Harry made me laugh the most, Enzo and Carlo were the most stylish, little Gaston the loudest, April and Muffy the cheekiest, and Skipper the softest…

Why do you think that the book continues to resonate with people two years on from publication?

We all love dogs and, especially at the moment, I think we find comfort in their silliness, how they live in the moment, and the way they love us unconditionally. And combined with incredible, architectural homes, that inspire us to live a little differently… I think it’s a combination that we will never get tired of, for years to come.

Enzo and Carlo. Photography by Nicole England

Resident Dog is available now in a compact edition. Text and images by Nicole England and design by JAC&.

AU$39.99


Posted on September 1, 2020
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What matters now: a gallery from Human Nature

Humanity has reached a pivotal point in time. Human Nature brings together twelve of the world’s most influential photographers to show us why. With compassion and empathy, their extraordinary images and the stories behind them help us to understand what matters now for humanity and the planet.

Get to know the different photographers featured, some of their work from the book and their views on the Age of Anthropocene.

Brian Skerry

Brian Skerry is a photojournalist with a focus on underwater environments and marine wildlife and is a lecturer on exploration, photography and conservation. His work has been featured in many publications and he has produced over twenty-five stories for National Geographic magazine.

‘The decisions that we make today are going to determine the future of this planet, and the future of our species. It’s a time for truth; it’s a time for science and storytelling and journalism to work together collaboratively. The stakes have never been quite so high.’

From Human Nature: Planet Earth in Our Time, edited by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday, image copyright © Brian Skerry.

Frans Lanting

Hailing from the Netherlands, Frans Lanting is a renowned photographer and naturalist whose work has frequently appeared in National Geographic, where he served as a photographer-in-residence.

‘Nature can help us overcome the effects of climate change in a much more effective way than anything else. If we invest in nature, in protecting nature as habitats, as forests, as lungs of the planet, then we can save species that are dependent on those habitats.’

From Human Nature: Planet Earth in Our Time, edited by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday, image copyright © Frans Lanting.

J Henry Fair

Based in New York City and Berlin, J Henry Fair creates imagery and media to explain the science of complex environmental issues.

‘What we see in these pictures are the hidden costs of mining; the detritus from the production processes that make the things that we buy every day, whether it’s electricity, bread or the soda cans we throw away on the street. We are complicit, but it’s a complicity of ignorance.’

From Human Nature: Planet Earth in Our Time, edited by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday, image copyright © J Henry Fair.

Paul Nicklen

Paul Nicklen is a Canadian photographer and marine biologist specialising in the polar regions and their wildlife.

‘Change is happening. A little too late and too slowly, but it is happening and that’s what gives me hope. We know that there’s no other option but to fight for this and I think we are going to win. There is hope everywhere around us.’

From Human Nature: Planet Earth in Our Time, edited by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday, image copyright © Paul Nicklen.

Cristina Mittermeier

Cristina Mittermeier is a marine biologist and activist who pioneered the concept and field of conservation photography, founding the International League of Conservation Photographers in 2005 to provide a platform for photographers working on environmental issues.

‘This lack of commitment to community, this lack of care for the other, is absolutely at the heart of the environmental issues we are confronted with. Inequality and climate change are the two biggest issues that we’re facing.’

From Human Nature: Planet Earth in Our Time, edited by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday, image copyright © Cristina Mittermeier.

Brent Stirton

Brent Stirton is a South African photographer and a senior staff photographer for Reportage by Getty Images, specialising in documentary work covering global topics including health, the environment and conflict.

‘It’s almost suicidal in terms of our civilisation’s thinking on these issues, but a lot of that’s because people are simply in the process of surviving, feeding their families. Conservation is almost considered a luxury, when it should be a necessity.’

From Human Nature: Planet Earth in Our Time, edited by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday, image copyright © Brent Stirton/Getty Images.

Ami Vitale

Ami Vitale is a photographer, filmmaker, writer and explorer who tells stories about our fragile relationship with the natural world.

‘We all have the capacity to get engaged and use our voices to make a difference. The messenger matters just as much as the message itself. Each of us can be a powerful voice when speaking to the people in our lives.’

From Human Nature: Planet Earth in Our Time, edited by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday, image copyright © Ami Vitale.

Steve Winter

Steve Winter has been a photographer for National Geographic for over two decades. He specialises in wildlife and particularly big cats.

‘If we can save the ecosystems and these animals’ habitats, we can help save ourselves. That’s my mantra: if we can save big cats, we can help save ourselves. We don’t have a choice; we either save the planet or we perish.’

From Human Nature: Planet Earth in Our Time, edited by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday, image copyright © Steve Winter/National Geographic.

Tim Laman

Tim Laman is a field biologist, wildlife photographer and filmmaker.

‘It’s hugely important for climate change that forest stays as forest – all that carbon that’s in there – and the birds of paradise are flagship species that can focus people’s attention on conserving New Guinea’s forests.’

From Human Nature: Planet Earth in Our Time, edited by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday, image copyright © Tim Laman.

George Steinmetz

A regular contributor to National Geographic magazine, George Steinmetz’s work has examined subjects ranging from global oil exploration and the latest advances in robotics, to the innermost stretches of the Sahara and the little-known tree house people of Papua, Indonesia.

‘Over the years, my work has turned me into an accidental environmentalist. I never set out to be an advocate for our planet, but I think that if people know more about an issue, they can make choices that will lead to solutions. Our individual choices add up.’

From Human Nature: Planet Earth in Our Time, edited by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday, image copyright © George Steinmetz.

Richard John Seymour

British photographer, designer and filmmaker Richard John Seymour uses photography and film to explore the connections between cities, economies and landscapes in an effort to draw attention to the political, environmental and social issues that stem from human-made environments.

‘In the last fifteen years we’ve produced half of the plastic ever made and in the last twenty-five years we’ve emitted half of the CO2 ever emitted in the history of humanity. Since we’ve had the information that we’ve needed to change our habits, we’ve massively done the opposite.’

From Human Nature: Planet Earth in Our Time, edited by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday, image copyright © Richard John Seymour.

Joel Sartore

Joel Sartore is an award-winning photographer, speaker, author, conservationist and the 2018 National Geographic Explorer of the Year.

‘Human beings are the ones that hold earth’s fate in our hands. We really do need to pay attention and look these animals in the eye. Hopefully then people will decide whether or not the future of life on earth is worth it.’

From Human Nature: Planet Earth in Our Time, edited by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday, image copyright © Joel Sartore/National Geographic Photo Ark.

This is an edited extract from Human Nature, out now. Text edited by Geoff Blackwell and Ruth Hobday, copyright © Blackwell & Ruth.

AU$65.00


Posted on September 1, 2020
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An Unconventional Abode from Hare + Klein Interior

Product Design and Decoration: Eloise Fotheringham

Photography: Shannon McGrath

Hare + Klein Interior is our second book to showcase the signature use of texture, colour and scale in Hare + Klein’s exceptional and responsive interior design practice.

With a 20-foot shipping container in the living room, the once Old Furniture Factory is one of the most unconventional homes in the book. The previous fit-out of this 1920s furniture factory and warehouse was mostly demolished, aside from the footprint of the mezzanine floor and the 20-foot shipping container. As author and Hare + Klein’s principal and artistic director Meryl Hare writes, “I could see no way of getting it out without removing the front of the building. The concept of working with this extraordinary item in the living room was challenging, but I decided that the ‘elephant in the room should be acknowledged – and repainted orange!”

The impressive result of Hare + Klein’s work here is a fully functioning home for a young family, complete with the shipping container turned children’s playroom, a communal dining area, a practical kitchen with an industrial feel, floods of light and staircases finished in steel to keep in theme with the original look of the building.

Hare + Klein Interior is out now. Text by Meryl Hare, design by Daniel New and cover photograph by Shannon McGrath.

AU$65.00


Posted on August 25, 2020
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Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Complete Dad’s bookshelf with these captivating titles, carefully selected by our staff for their own Dads, Grandads and all loved-ones as a Father’s Day gift.

From intriguing narrative non-fiction to colourful tomes on art, architecture and photography, we have a book to pique nearly any interest.

Art

Pore over these visual beauties on Australian artists, from the multi-storey murals in Rone to the diverse works in A Painted Landscape, topped off with Chromatopia‘s illustrated history of colour.

Rone

Known for his multi-storey murals gracing buildings all over the world, Melbourne-based artist Rone uses his work to explore the friction and connection between beauty and decay, youth and ruin.

AU$59.99

Discover ➔

A Painted Landscape

Amber Creswell Bell

A Painted Landscape forms an aesthetic study of the landscape as seen, experienced and expressed by 50 Australian artists who choose to paint it.

AU$59.99

Learn more ➔

Chromatopia

David Coles

Chromatopia is an illustrated history of colour, spanning the ancient world to modern leaps in technology. This is a book for the artist, the history buff, the science lover and the design fanatic.

AU$34.99

Explore ➔

Photography

Explore the world through spellbinding photography, beginning with our country’s luminous landscapes through In An Australian Light to the gritty textures of Melbourne and Egypt in Bill Henson’s The Light Fades but the Gods Remain.

In An Australian Light

In an Australian Light reminds us of the myriad ways we experience light in this vast and diverse land.

AU$59.99

Read more ➔

The Light Fades But The Gods Remain

Bill Henson

A significant publication of images by one of Australia’s most extraordinary imaginations, The Light Fades But The Gods Remain is the bound collection of Bill Henson’s work.

AU$100

Discover ➔

Architecture

Build up your architecture bookshelf with these tomes on beautiful buildings, houses and projects. Peer inside Sean Godsell: Houses, and the first projects of an architectural icon David Adjaye – Works. Read Australia Modern for your comprehensive visual guide to modernism in our country, and Concrete Houses to explore the lyric beauty, versatility and brute force of concrete as a building material.

Sean Godsell: Houses

The first survey of residential projects designed by award-winning Australian architect Sean Godsell.

AU$100

Explore ➔

David Adjaye – Works

This monograph presents the early works of Sir David Adjaye, one of the most important architects at work in the world today.

AU$120

Learn more ➔

Australia Modern

Hannah Lewi & Philip Goad

Australia Modern vividly captures this architectural legacy with a survey of 100 significant modern sites, richly illustrated with archival images and newly commissioned photographs. 

AU$80

Discover ➔

Concrete Houses

Joe Rollo

Concrete Houses explores the use of concrete in landmark contemporary residential architecture from Australia and abroad.

AU$75

Read more ➔

Interiors and Gardens

Find inspiration for the indoors with celebrated interior designer Meryl Hare in her new book Hare + Klein Interior, and enjoy the outside with the beautifully photographed pages of In An Australian Garden.

Hare + Klein Interior

Meryl Hare

With a focus on detail and ambience, this is a personal invitation into the elegant and alluring designs of Hare + Klein.

AU$65

Explore ➔

An Australian Garden

Philip Cox

Both private retreat and conservation exercise, An Australian Garden uses nature as muse to reveal the arresting beauty of the natural landscape.

AU$70

Learn more ➔

Narrative non-fiction

Mix a drink from Max Allen’s Intoxicating, complete with cocktail recipes and a history lesson on Australia’s colourful and complex drinking history. Then, change the way you see our country in Landscapes Of Our Hearts.

Intoxicating

Max Allen

In search of answers, Intoxicating takes us on a personal journey through Australia’s colourful and complex drinking history, glass in hand.

AU$32.99

Discover ➔

Landscapes of Our Hearts

Matthew Colloff

An epic exploration of our relationship with this country, Landscapes of Our Hearts offers the possibility that a renewed connection to the landscape and to each other could pave the way towards reconciliation.

AU$34.99

Read more ➔


Posted on August 10, 2020
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Illustrator Spotlight: Wonder Woman Laura Bernard

Laura Bernard works from her cosy studio in Wellington, New Zealand. She is a self-confessed nerd, homebody and introvert. Laura has inspired young creatives across the world to ignore the negativity that surrounds a career in illustration and to pursue their passion.

To celebrate the release of Wonder Women Bingo, we caught up with Laura to chat about the game, the female creatives she looks up to and how to stay sane when your home sanctuary becomes your workplace.

Laura Bernard

The illustrations for Wonder Women Bingo are phenomenal. What was your favourite part of working on this project?
Thank you! My favourite part was adding the finer detail to the garments and accessories that the women were wearing: the jewellery, the beaded and embroidered elements and the various patterns. That was so much fun. I feel like that’s one of the main elements that brings these ladies to life and makes them each unique.

Wonder Women Bingo, published by Laurence King Publishing, $29.99

Why do you think it’s important to have a children’s game dedicated to inspirational women?
Too often we are taught the names of famous, genius, amazing men that have achieved great things (Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Stephen Hawking, Nikola Tesla to name a few). I think we often forget that there were incredible women who did equally amazing things, but we are rarely taught about them in the same way due to our unbalanced gendered history. Plus, a lot of women had to keep their intelligence a secret or pretend to be a man to be recognised. I think we need a game like this to help balance things out. Hopefully, it can inspire young women and teach them that they can be anything they want to be.

Laurence King Publishing is fortunate to work with a number of fantastic female illustrators like yourself, including Laura Callaghan, Marion Deuchars and Harriet Lee-Merrion. Can you tell us about the female illustrators and creatives that inspire you?
Creatively, I look up to Rebecca Sugar a lot. She created the Steven Universe series and creatively directed a lot of the character design, screenplay and music. She also worked on Adventure Time for a long while. I also admire Jennifer Lee, who is a screenwriter and a head creative at Disney studios. She worked on Frozen and Frozen 2, which are masterpieces for character, background, outfit and song design (all things she helped with).

As a freelancer, do you have any tips for staying sane when working from home? I think we need all the tips we can get right about now!
To be honest, being an introvert really helps. I can’t speak for more extroverted people but I love hibernating and working on my illustration. Working and living in the same space can be a huge challenge, so I do have one very helpful tip. I have a studio for my work, and when I am in there I am in ‘work mode’, when I am anywhere else in the house I’m in ‘home mode’. I’ve always used this mentality even before I had a studio and I worked at the dining room table. I would always sit on one chair and work so then that particular space is associated with working. I think that’s a super important thing to define when working from home as too often we work from bed or the couch, which I try to avoid.

Any tips for overcoming creative block?
Oh jeez, this is a hard one. Over the past five or so years that I’ve been freelancing, and where my creativity is my job, there’s that extra pressure to be creative ALL THE TIME. When I’m at a total creative loss and I’ve gone into a creative depression, I generally have a lot of negativity about my own work. I’ve realised that my creative block generally looks and feels the same: a lot of self doubt and self creative pessimism. If I’m telling myself all of these terrible things about my own work, putting it down and comparing it to others, how can I feel proud and happy with the work I’m making? To help break the cycle, I’ll go back to my old sketchbooks from yonks ago and see how far I’ve come. I’ll also look at all of my old random ideas and concepts to give myself a much needed pep talk: Look! These are your ideas and you are creative and awesome! I will then try and learn from my past works and ideas. I think it’s very important to be critical of your own work otherwise you will struggle to grow, but balancing that with self support, encouragement and feeling proud of yourself too.

We can see that you paint in both a traditional medium and digital. Do you prefer one over the other?
I fell in love with watercolour quite quickly after buying my first set when I was about nineteen. I think it will always be very special to me. I then transitioned into digital to broaden my skillset and I thought it would help me find more illustrating opportunities too, as we live in such a digital age. I think watercolour will always be my favourite medium, however I find digital has helped me grow and learn more as a creative — it’s a very forgiving medium and you are able to undo, flip canvases to check proportions, and change colours so easily: all things that you can’t really do with a traditional medium.

We are obsessed with all the work in your portfolio. Can you tell us about your favourite one?
Thank you so much! From my personal works, there’s an illustration of an A-frame house among some trees at night. I am super proud of this and the simplicity of it, but the fact that it still tells a story — a difficult balance. Professionally, I absolutely loved working on the Wonder Women Happy Families card game, and the Wonder Women Bingo. Learning about amazing women in history and having the opportunity to paint their portraits was so inspiring.

Wonder Women Bingo is out now. Text by Isabel Thomas and illustrations by Laura Bernard.

AU$29.99


Posted on August 7, 2020
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An Extract from Max Allen’s Intoxicating

Intoxicating is award-winning journalist Max Allen’s personal journey through Australia’s colourful and complex drinking history, glass in hand. In the book, Max uncovers ten of Australia’s most famous – and most surprising – drinks, sharing anecdotes about each.

In this edited extract, Max discusses his first forays into cider and home distillation, from the chapter ‘Peach Cyder’.    

I was born and spent the first few years of my life in Bristol, in the heart of England’s West Country, epicentre of traditional cider production. As a teenager living in London, some of my first experiences of alcohol came in the form of big plastic bottles of cheap Woodpecker Medium Dry cider bought underage at the local off-licence. Then, travelling around the West Country in the late 1980s, I discovered the real thing: farmhouse scrumpy, stuff of legend.

The revelation came in a crumbling 16th-century pub called the Three Tuns in Hay-on-Wye, a little town famous for its bookshops and literary festival, just over the Welsh border from Herefordshire. Saggy wooden benches by the smoke-blackened inglenook, an ancient shillings-and-pence slot machine in one corner, and an even older landlady tending the tiny bar.

When I asked for cider, instead of reaching for the hand pump on the bar or a bottle from the fridge, she rummaged around in the gloom and hauled out a plastic gallon container of cloudy golden liquid. This was scrumpy, made by a local farmer using nothing but freshly pressed apple juice and wild yeasts and time.

‘Be careful,’ she warned, as she poured out a pint. And she was right: with its huge, sharp aromas of pulpy windfall fruit and its furry taste of tough, brown apple cores strewn across a barnyard, this was a deeply challenging explosion of agricultural flavour. I think it might also have had mild hallucinogenic properties. I was hooked.

I first made cider in my backyard in Melbourne in 2011. I’d found a small orchard full of old apple varieties just a few blocks from my house, in the grounds of Rippon Lea, the National Trust–owned Melbourne mansion built by merchant and politician Frederick Sargood in 1868. Like many grand estates established on the outskirts of Australia’s emerging capital cities in the late 19th century, Rippon Lea was originally surrounded by farmland. Much of that country is now covered in suburban houses, schools, cinemas and the ABC’s old Gordon Street studios where my mum worked with my wife’s parents in the 1960s. But in the 1980s, one corner of the estate near the original 1860s stables was converted to an orchard that now boasts over 130 varieties of heritage apples and pears, including Golden Pippin and the classic cider variety Kingston Black.

I’d heard that the gardeners at Rippon Lea had harvested enough fruit to make cider by netting some of the trees to stop the local flocks of lorikeets munching the crop. So I contacted the head gardener and asked if I could gather enough of what was left over – those few apples still clinging unscathed to higher branches, the unbruised windfalls lurking in the grass below – to make a demijohn of cider myself.

Photography by Riley Allen

Not owning any cider-making equipment at that time, I crushed the apples in the most rudimentary way by bashing them to a pulp with a block of wood in a bucket. Then I borrowed a winemaker friend’s old basket press, wrapped the apple pulp up in parcels of shade cloth, put them in the press, slowly squeezed them and filled a glass demijohn with golden-brown sticky syrupy juice.

At this stage, according to all the modern cider-making manuals I’d read, I should have added some safe, reliable cultured yeast from a packet. Instead, I did nothing. I walked away and waited for nature to take its course. I wanted to do what the farmer who made that scrumpy in Hay-on-Wye had done and just let the wild yeasts on the apple skins and flesh and stalks and pips, in the air, on the press, do what yeasts do naturally: turn sugar into alcohol.

Nothing happened at first. The juice just sat there. But then, after a few hours, up from the depths of the murk emerged tiny pinprick bubbles of carbon dioxide: a definite sign of microbial activity. Fermentation had started. The wild yeasts were getting to work.

As I watched those little bubbles slowly rise, I felt another strange and profound feeling of connection with the generations of people before me who have marvelled at this seemingly miraculous process. And not just the cider makers: the winemakers and brewers, all those innumerable human beings who, for thousands of years, long before scientists identified yeasts and bacteria as the living organisms responsible for fermentation, have simply trusted in the mystery to produce a delicious drink.

I’ve made my own cider each autumn almost every year since that first fermentation epiphany. I’ve bought my own small-scale cider-making equipment. I’ve crawled around on my hands and knees in the mud and damp grass under apple trees foraging for windfalls in the Goulburn Valley. I’ve scrambled over gates and fences to reach fat ripe apples on wild roadside trees in Coonawarra. I’ve made friends with orchardists on the Mornington Peninsula who have old heritage varieties: proper cider apples like Kingston Black, almost-forgotten English apples like Sturmer Pippin, unfashionable Australian apples like Sundowner.

Each year I’ve brought my motley harvest back home and dragged my crusher and press out of the garage and invited friends and family, reluctant teenagers and eager neighbours, to help me make cider. And after the crushing and pressing, we’ve all sat down for a meal and opened bottles of last year’s batch and celebrated the season.

I now take bottles of my cider with me when I travel, to share with friends or to pour for winemakers or brewers or other, professional cidermakers. Sometimes people even say they like it, which makes me feel proud – and connected, as though the annual autumn West Country rituals are echoing in my own creaking basket press.

Photography by Riley Allen

Intoxicating is out now. Text by Max Allen and cover design by Josh Durham.


Posted on July 31, 2020
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Admiring the ephemeral: a gallery from RONE

Rone: Street Art and Beyond brings together almost two decades of awe-inspiring work created by one of Australia’s most renowned street artists. This striking survey weaves through Rone’s early street work and stencils, to his arresting murals, and finally the large-scale projects he has ambitiously taken on in the past five years. These projects, immersive installations resulting from the transformation of condemned, derelict or forgotten spaces, have been praised across the globe. Undeniably unique, they explore divergent themes of beauty and decay, youth and ruin. Each artwork is painstakingly produced in immense detail, only to be destroyed, defining them as utterly ephemeral.

Here, we take a sneak peek at Rone’s fascinating installation projcts featured in the book.


EMPTY. October 2016, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Australia.

“Empty sparked Rone’s passion for creating immersive experiences and fuelled a deeper relationship: fusing art, architecture, decay and fleeting beauty.”

The Empire, 2016. Photography by Rone.


ALPHA. February 2017, Alphington, Melbourne, Australia.

“For Rone, Alpha was about taking the ugliest, crudest, dirty, masculine walls and turning them into something beautiful and fragile”.

The Shape of Things to Come, 2017. Photography by Rone, assisted by Tom Franks.

Without Darkness There Is No Light, 2017. Photography by Rone, assisted by Tom Franks.


OMEGA. June 2017, Alphington, Melbourne, Australia.

Collaborator: Carly Spooner, interior stylist.

“Omega, a natural progression from Alpha, forged connections between humans and their experiences through delicate manipulations of intimate space.”

Autumn, 2017. Photography by Rone.

The Green Room, 2017. Photography by Rone.


EMPIRE. March-April 2019, Sherbrooke, Victoria, Australia.

Collaborators: Carly Spooner, interior stylist; Loose Leaf, organic sculptors; Nick Batterham, composer; Kat Snowden, scent designer.

“To experience Empire was to experience beauty in loss.”

The Music Room, 2019. Photography by Rone.

His Room, 2019. Photography by Rone.

Rone is available now. Cover image by Rone and design by Claire Orrell.

AU$59.99


Posted on July 24, 2020
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Complete your picture book collection

Delve into the colourful stories and illustrations of these gorgeous picture books, specially chosen by Thames & Hudson staff for the joy they bring our littlest friends and family-members.

Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Slow Down World

Tai Snaith

Creator of Slow Down World: Tai Snaith | Book design: Wendy Fox |
Book photography: Matthew Stanton | Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Take a whimsical journey from a fast-paced city to the magical imagination of a young girl with Slow Down World, beautifully written and illustrated by Tai Snaith.

Also available: You Might Find Yourself

Hello Australia!

Megan McKean

Book design: Megan McKean | Product photography and styling:
Jackie Money

Follow some cheeky galahs in Hello, Australia! a look-and-find adventure from Megan McKean, author and illustrated of the beloved Hello…! series.

Also available: Hello, Sydney! Hello, Melbourne! Hello, London!

In My Heart

Part of the Growing Hearts series

Written by Jo Witek | Illustrated by Christine Roussey

Cover illustrations: Christine Roussey | Product styling and photography: Jackie Money

In My Heart is a vibrant celebration of feelings, in all their shapes and sizes, and a best-selling instalment of the Growing Hearts series, all lovingly written by Jo Witek and beautifully illustrated by Christine Roussey.

Also available: In My Room, Brave As Can Be, All My Treasures, My Tree and Me, My Little Gifts and With My Daddy.

Bob Goes Pop!

Marion Deuchars

Design: Vanessa Green | Product styling and photography: Jackie Money

Bob the Artist returns in Bob Goes Pop! for a new tale of friendship, self-expression and pop-art, beautifully depicted by the award-winning Marion Deuchars.

Also available: Bob the Artist and Bob’s Blue Period

I Am Love

Part of the I Am series

Written by Susan Verde | Art by Peter H. Reynolds

Book design: Pamela Notarantonio | Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

From the bestselling team Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds comes a celebration of love in all its forms, the latest edition of the I Am series.

Also available: I Am Peace, I Am Human and I Am Yoga


Posted on July 10, 2020
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Paulina Larocca talks 2020, The Holey Bible and creative enlightenment

About to publish her third book, creative catalyst Paulina Larocca is one of the most driven, passionate and motivated authors you’ll ever meet. Her previous books on creativity can be found in homes, offices and classrooms across the globe, and we think her new book The Holey Bible is the best one yet. We caught up with Paulina to talk about creative enlightenment, the new book and the all-important year that has been 2020.

What exactly do you mean when you use the term ‘creative enlightenment’?
Creative enlightenment is a term I created based on my personal experiences and struggles with the creative process. Let’s face it, creative thinking is messy work and you must have an enormous amount of courage, belief and persistence for real breakthroughs to occur. The creative process can seem punishing, especially when you are in the weeds looking for a way out, but when you get to a resolution you experience a flood of relief and euphoria; you experience what I call creative enlightenment. For each person, the experience will be different but the result will be the same. You have a new direction and a new purpose that creates a deeper meaning in your life and your work. You are permanently transformed. It may feel like hell going through it, but it’s heavenly when it’s done.

What benefits will living a more creatively enlightened life have for those who don’t consider themselves creative or who don’t have a creative job?
That is the sad irony about creativity – it’s sold to us as something we either have or don’t have. We are all creative. Our brain is active during both wakefulness and sleep and is constantly imagining. Our minds are phenomenal storytellers, constantly constructing meaning from our environment. I think of creativity as a divine force that is present in each of us and plays a much bigger role in all our lives than we tend to realise. It is the engine of our mind, the author of our story and is responsible for how we identify ourselves – it is creativity that determines how you define ‘me’. You may not nurture it, you may not notice it, but creativity is the driving force of your life, so it pays to consider what kind of fuel you are putting in your tank. My mission is to help everyone cultivate an awareness of their creativity and learn to use it. That way, it can serve a higher purpose for each and every one of you.

The Holey Bible – what’s the message behind the title?
The title came about because we wanted to help people easily spot the holes in their thinking. We wanted to use the term bible, not in the religious sense but in the colloquial sense of a guide. The title tends to stop people in their tracks, so it’s a way of shaking things up – it’s almost as if you get an experience of the book from the title.

The cover is so striking. Can you tell us about those design choices – the bold font, the bright yellow and the upside-down type?
Well, with a name like The Holey Bible you cannot afford to be shy. We want to celebrate the creative spirit and yellow and black are great colours for that. Throughout the book we use bright colours. For those who know about printing, we use CMYK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) for four colour processing printing. They’re colours that ignite creativity and get the brain buzzing. The rest of the design and images were a very deliberate choice to keep the reader emotionally engaged and surprise them every time they turn the page.

This is your third book in three years. What drives you to write books rather than use another medium of storytelling?
Books are incredibly hard work and I sometimes wonder why I keep going back. They are wonderful vehicles for distilling your ideas into cohesive thoughts and the format forces you to do the work – it’s not just a few paragraphs dashed off for an Instagram post. Plus, having a publishing deadline ensures that even if you want to slack off, you can’t. A well-written book makes everything you do – speaking, blogs, social media – so much easier. But there’s no doubt about it, writing a book feels like climbing Mount Everest without oxygen – scary and exhausting.

Some might argue that this is a tough time to publish a book. Why do you think that 2020 is the year for The Holey Bible? Why do we need this book now?
I think this pandemic has forced all of us to rethink what’s important, what are we doing with our lives and what we need to change. It hasn’t been pleasant, but it has forced us to re-evaluate things we took for granted as being ‘just the way things are around here’ and deeply question them. There is no better time for a book that makes you question your assumptions and help you create new patterns of thought that may serve you better. If you are questioning anything or any aspect of your life, then don’t hesitate to pick up The Holey Bible. It will help you live your best life, which, let’s face it, is a creative life on your terms. Who could ask for more? 

The Holey Bible is available now. Text by Paulina Larocca and published by BIS Publishers. AU$35


Posted on July 7, 2020
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At Home in a Strange Land

Landscapes of Our Hearts is an epic exploration of our relationship with this country. From distinguished research scientist and award-winning writer Matthew Colloff, the book asks the question: ‘If we look afresh at our history through the land we live on, might Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians find a path to a shared future?’

In this extract, Colloff discusses the importance of responsibility in the pursuit of belonging for Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians.

Photography: Jackie Money

Most Australians have connections with more than one place, whether they are Indigenous people or descended from 19th-century European settler-colonists or more recent migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers. We value and maintain our cultural identity. For many Australians, the expression of culture singles them out as ‘different’ from other Australians and creates the tension between integration into ‘the Australian way of life’ and the multicultural plurality of modern Australian society. For example, the children of Greek migrants who refused to go with their parents and older relatives to large group barbecues and picnics in parks because they regarded such an event as ‘woggy’; in other words, it represented their involvement in a cultural activity that would identify them as migrants to other Australians.1

But there is no contradiction between citizenship and cultural diversity. Attempts by politicians and populists to construct and promulgate ‘a national identity’ have tended to be unsuccessful. Sociologist Robert Van Krieken writes, ‘Political and cultural citizenship do not necessarily coincide – it is possible to be defined legally as a citizen, but still remain an outsider, with the rules governing the transition from one category to the other remaining obscure and elusive.’2 I would argue that the process of transition from one to the other often begins with developing a connection with this land and the process of place-making.

Are we all strangers in our own land, trying to make a home wherever we find ourselves? For Australians of Anglo-Celtic descent whose families have been here for several generations, they may have been born in one place, grown up in another and live as adults somewhere else again. For many Indigenous Australians, their ancestors may have been forcibly removed from their lands, their grandparents or great-grandparents raised on a mission or an Aboriginal reserve many hundreds of kilometres away, and their parents may have moved from place to place to find work, as Stan Grant’s parents did, all the while trying to stay in contact with the diaspora of their kin.

For many of us migrants, the idea of referring to Australia as my country carries with it a deeply felt sense of ambivalence. This tension emerges not only from the cultural connections with the countries of our birth but also an unease about whether we have such a right, considering this land was taken by invasion and dispossession of its Indigenous peoples during the one hundred and forty years of the Frontier Wars. As Henry Reynolds wrote: ‘It was only by forgetting that white Australia was able to overlook the violent foundation of the nation.’3

Historian Peter Read sums up the tension as follows: ‘how can we non-Indigenous Australians justify our continuous presence and our love for this country while the Indigenous people remain dispossessed and their history unacknowledged?’4 Some of us make our place and feel a strong sense of belonging accordingly. We feel we have a right to belong. Others of us feel no such right. Australia always was and always will be Aboriginal land. Belonging is a deeply personal journey, travelled by multiple routes. There was nothing in the citizenship interview and examination that I took in 1996 on how to go about the process of belonging. The only mention in official documentation on citizenship is the statement that volunteering can be a great way of increasing one’s sense of belonging to the Australian community and that, ‘You can walk the desert or the shore, the mountains or the rainforests. Every step you take is a step closer to belonging to this vast and vibrant land.’5 Indeed. A route to belonging through volunteerism and tourism. Were it that easy.

For some, claiming continuity with Indigenous people and the environment as part of our non-Indigenous heritage is a means of achieving a sense of belonging. In an interview with Peter Read, environmental historian Tom Griffiths stated: ‘Aborigines and environment: these are the two great historical revolutions of our generation. Writing both into Australian history allows you to reach back beyond the moment of invasion and draw you into deep time as part of our own inheritance. We should discover the continuities.’6

Griffiths’ perspective echoes the need to reconcile a sense of attachment to place with the history of environmental and cultural change. With this need comes a set of responsibilities to ‘a vision of a morally and environmentally integrated Australia’, in which the relationship between humans and the environment is one in which people ‘share its past and provide for its future’. Yet can non-Indigenous Australians legitimately claim to belong to deep time while Indigenous Australians remain dispossessed and governments continually seek to obstruct practical processes of reconciliation?7

Perhaps one way for non-Indigenous Australians to think construc­tively about these vexed issues is not just to focus on assumptions about rights of belonging, but on their responsibilities. Simply put, if our sense of belonging is to be gained through a continuity with deep time history, then we have an equal responsibility to Indigenous Australians, ourselves and our shared environment to do what we can to achieve reconciliation. We might start by considering and adopting elements of the ancient environmental knowledge, values and rules of Indigenous Australians that they observe and we do not. Perhaps this might form a basis to begin to shape our common future in more sustainable ways.8

If there can be no lasting or legitimate sense of belonging without a sense of responsibility to the land and each other, then here’s the challenge, as articulated by Tom Griffiths: ‘If all Australians are to rejoice in the deep past, then we must ask the non-Aboriginals to share responsibility for its mistakes. If all Australians are to rejoice in the deep future, then we must ask the Aboriginals to share in its responsibility.’ Idealistic and difficult this may seem in practice, but the alternative is worse; a business-as-usual continuation of what we have already done: ‘the mere expropriation of past and future’.9 If we can acknowledge the past, reconcile the present and nurture the future, then perhaps all Australians, one day, may truly find a place we can call home.

NOTES

1     Denis Byrne, Heather Goodall & Allison Cadzow, Place-Making in National Parks: Ways That Australians of Arabic and Vietnamese Background Perceive and Use the Parklands along the Georges River, NSW, University of Technology Sydney and Office of Environment and Heritage, Sydney, 2013, p. 17.

2     Robert Van Krieken, ‘Between Assimilation and Multiculturalism: Models of Integration in Australia’, Patterns of Prejudice, vol. 46, no. 5, 2012, pp. 500–17.

3     Henry Reynolds, Forgotten War, UNSW Press, Sydney, 2013.

4     Peter Read, Belonging: Australians, Place and Aboriginal Ownership, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 2000, p. 1.

5     Department of Home Affairs, Australian Citizenship: Our Common Bond, Communication and Engagement Branch, Department of Home Affairs, Canberra, 2018, pp. 17, 41.

6     Read, p. 178.

7     Read, p. 181.

8     Tyson Yunkaporta, Sand Talk: How Indigenous Thinking Can Change the World, Text Publishing, Melbourne, 2019; ‘Can Indigenous Thinking Save the World?’ Late Night Live, Radio National, 16 September 2019.

9     Read, p. 183.

Landscapes of Our Hearts is available now. Text by Matthew Colloff, cover photography by Louise Denton Photography, and cover design by Alissa Dinallo.

AU$34.99


Posted on July 1, 2020
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Complete your fashion bookshelf

Run away with the latest fashion bibles, specially selected by our staff for the best designs, photography and inspiration going around.

Complete your fashion bookshelf today.

Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Vogue and the Metropolitan Museum of Art Institute

Cover imagery: Fei Fei Sun in Valentino photographed by Steven Meisel, Vogue, May 2015 for “China: Through the Looking Glass.” | Cover design: Alberto Orta and Nobi Kashiwagi | Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

This updated and expanded edition of Vogue & The Met covers the past five years of the Met Costume Institute’s exhibitions and galas through the lens of Vogue.

Step Into Paradise

By Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson

Cover imagery: collage of Jenny Kee’s and Linda Jackson’s works | Cover design: Daniel New| Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Step Into Paradise documents the work of Australia’s best known designers, Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson, spanning more than four decades of their creative practice.

Chanel: The Making of a Collection

Text by Laetitia Cénac | Illustrations by Jean-Philippe Delhomme | Interview by Karl Lagerfeld

Cover illustration: Jean-Philippe Delhomme | Cover design: Shawn Dahl, dahlimama inc. | Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Chanel: The Making of a Collection is a gorgeously illustrated exploration of the history, culture, and design process of famed fashion house Chanel.

Ralph Lauren: In His Own Fashion

By Alan Flusser

Cover design: Emily Wardwell | Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Ralph Lauren: In His Own Fashion is a fully illustrated biography of the iconic American designer, told through the lens of his impact on fashion and culture.


Posted on June 22, 2020
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Making Colour Visceral: How Paint is Made

From one of the world’s most respected paint-makers, David Coles, Chromatopia reveals the stories behind fifty striking pigments. In this extract, Coles discusses the extraordinary process through which paint is made.

Photography by Adrian Lander

This book has looked at the origins of historical and contemporary pigments, but pigments are hardly ever used in their raw form. To be usefully employed as a colour, billions of individual grains of pigment must be glued together with a binder. This is, in essence, how you make paint.

Throughout history, people have found ways to permanently ‘fix’ colour to create lasting images of the most exquisite beauty. For instance, the binding of pigments in Neolithic cave paintings was probably serendipitous; cave walls containing silicas or limestone trapped the pigment and locked it to the surface over time. Since then, we have discovered a host of sticky, adhesive materials in nature that could hold pigments in place. Some of these earliest binders are still used by artists. Gum arabic, the water-soluble sap of the North African acacia tree, makes watercolours; and beeswax, collected and refined from hives, makes encaustic (molten wax) paint.

Mixing pigments with different binders successfully converts them into a material for uses as diverse as house paints, plastics, writing inks, automotive coatings, paper and – of most interest to me – artists’ paint.

In my role as a master paint-maker, I make oil paint, which are by dispersing pigments in a ‘drying oil’ such as linseed, walnut, poppy or safflower oils. Linseed oil is by far the most important and widely used drying oil. When drying oils absorb oxygen they convert from a liquid into a hard, permanent coating. Pigments can be bound with very small amounts of oil. This means that oil paints contain much higher amounts of the pigment than watercolour or acrylic paints. For artists, this gives the paint a physical feeling. The paintbrush is literally pushing around dense, coloured pastes.

Photography by Adrian Lander

So how do we make our paint? Our first task was to source a high-quality linseed oil. We selected ours after sampling dozens of products from suppliers all over the world. We were looking for a clean, straw-coloured oil that was free of natural impurities. It had to have a good drying rate and minimal yellowing as it aged. Eventually we chose exceptional bright, clear oils made in Holland and Germany.

Next comes the selection of the pigments. There are so many manufacturers of pigments that the choice seems overwhelming. We hunt out pigments that have qualities equal to their noble intended use: they must be as lightfast as possible, chemically stable and exhibit colour qualities of benefit to the artist. The vast majority of pigments do not meet our needs. They are built for larger, more commercially important industries and have been tailored for industrial applications.

To select our pigments, we go through a long period of investigation. We select colours of interest, research the chemical construction of the pigment, and assess its suitability for artists’ paint before requesting samples for laboratory trials. The anticipation of opening a sample box and seeing a new pigment for the first time, in its raw unadulterated form, is exhilarating. There is always the nervous hope that the promise held out by this new pigment will be borne out, that its potency will not dull, and that its colour will not be lost when it is mixed with the binder. Backwards and forwards go the experiments – working out the right amount of pigment to add to the oil and correcting for undesirable qualities. Like a chef honing a new dish, small, delicate changes in the recipe can lead to dramatic differences in the finished product.

Photography by Adrian Lander

When we are ready to make the paint, the linseed oil is weighed out into 60-litre heavy-duty stainless-steel bowls. All of our manufacturing equipment and surfaces are stainless steel. The equipment is kept meticulously clean to prevent any chance of other colours contaminating the purity of each new batch.

Stearate, a wax-like material that is essential to the wetting and stability of the paint, is weighed and added to the oil. The bowl is secured in a planetary mixer and large, powerful motors slowly rotate the blade through the wax and oil mixture.

Next, another steel bowl is placed on the electronic scales, ready for the pigment. Even after all these years, opening the bins of pure pigment is a ridiculously breathtaking assault on the eyes. The pigment is scooped out, weighed and added slowly to the oil. There are no short cuts. Adding all the pigment at once would make incorporation impossible. The liquid oil allows the individual grains of colour to slide over each other. The physical shape of pigments means that, without this lubrication, they would drag over each other, causing extraordinary resistance, reducing the mixing action and – as happened once very early on – breaking the very expensive blade of the mixer.

The slow churning of the paste begins. Over the rumbling of the mixer’s motor, you can hear delicious slurping noises as the blade methodically drives through the mixture. As the dry pigment is gradually incorporated with the wet oil, it changes from an incredibly thick batter into what looks like an enormous vat of vividly coloured butter.

This process can take as long as four hours, but it is not the finished paint. Under close inspection, vast quantities of the pigments still cling together rather than being individually coated. This is where the triple-roll mill comes in.

Photography by Adrian Lander

A triple-roll mill is at the heart of paint-making. At its most basic, it is three horizontal granite rollers that each run at different speeds and spin in alternating directions. The paste is scraped out of the mixer’s bowl with a baker’s blade and dropped into the hopper. Each giant dollop makes a delicious slap as it plops onto the rollers below. The paste is drawn down into the tiny space between the rollers, again and again. With each pass, the space is narrowed to more aggressively separate the pigment particles. If you have ever used a pasta-making machine with its two rollers forcing the dough through the small space between them you can understand the paint-making process. Just as the roughly made dough cannot pass through the narrowest setting first, so the pigment-paste must be passed through the mill rollers multiple times. It’s just that our mill is like a pasta-machine on steroids, with three rollers rather than two and a massive motor to drive the material through. For soft pigments such as zinc white only three passes are needed, but the synthetics can take up to nine passes. Synthetic pigments are very difficult to prize apart: their incredibly small size and specific shape mean they have to be painstakingly teased into dispersion.

The paint-maker must be constantly attentive to the vagaries of milling. Rollers heat up under the friction of pigment particles, which alters the size of the roller gap, and the fluidity of the oil is affected by changes in ambient temperature. Also, pigments behave differently from one batch to another. This is especially true of the natural earths, which vary in their mineral make-up depending on the part of the seam the earth was dug from.

Photography by Adrian Lander

Towards the end of the paint-making process, we take samples of the paint and test it for quality. Historically, paint-makers would rub the paint between their thumbnails – a simple but surprisingly delicate solution to feel for the grittiness of unmixed pigment. Nowadays we use a precisely honed stainless-steel gauge to check the quality of dispersion.

But we are still not ready to sign off on the product. Two extremely thin films of the freshly made paint are applied to paint-maker’s cards. One daub is the pure paint. The other is the paint mixed with a specified amount of titanium white.  By placing the card next to one from a previous batch of the same colour, we can ensure that every time we make the paint it has identical colour, tinting strength, tint colour and undertone to all previous versions.

Only after the paint has passed these tests is it approved for packing. It is hand-filled into collapsible aluminium paint tubes, labelled with hand-painted swatches of the individual colour, boxed and shipped to studios around the world.

Chromatopia is available now. Text by David Coles, photography by Adrian Lander, and cover design by Evi. O Studio.

AU$34.99


Posted on June 17, 2020
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Flours, Feeding and Failures: Sourdough Troubleshooting with Roly Allen

By now, many of us have completed a back-breaking 1000-piece puzzle, tried our hand at something creative and baked our first (or tenth) loaf of bread.

We put a call-out on social media asking what sourdough issues you were facing and collated our top FAQs. Now, we sit down with sourdough expert and author of How to Raise a Loaf, Roly Allen, to have your questions answered.

Roly Allen, photography by Ida Riveros

What is the difference between bread flour and plain flour?
Bread flour has a higher protein content – around 13% is typical. These proteins (specifically, glutiens) are collectively known as gluten and, because they are looooooong molecules, they hold the dough together, making it stretchier, tighter and able to hold bubbles. That’s why you need bread flour for bread. Plain flour has less gluten. Otherwise they are the same.

I feel like my bread is really dense. What do I need to do to my starter for it to be light and fluffy?
It might not just be the starter, but assuming it is, I find that starters get better the more often that you use them and refresh them. If I bake three or four days running, the starter seems to get bubblier and bubblier. If my starter has just been refreshed once, after spending a period of downtime in the fridge, then things can be flat.

What is the maximum amount of time you can keep your starter in the fridge without feeding it?
Tricky one. I’ve heard tell of a starter that was successfully refreshed after several years dormancy in the back of the fridge, but I’d personally not leave it longer than a couple of weeks. If I knew that my starter would be going a long time unfed, I would make a flourier mixture (less water), which will slow everything down. I would definitely give a dormant starter a couple of refresh-discard cycles for it to get its strength back up before baking.

I learned that the word ‘crumb’ describes the inside of the bread from your book, which is interesting. Despite using a white flour but still can’t achieve the open crumb that I want. Any tips?
Try a mix with slightly more water and an overnight (or ‘retarded’) prove in the fridge. You mix and work the dough in the evening, and let it prove slowly at low temperature before baking in the morning. That might do it!

An open crumb, photography by Ida Riveros

I normally don’t eat white bread. I’ll always choose a wholemeal or multigrain. Do you recommend always starting with a white loaf first because it’s the easiest, or do you think jumping straight into wholemeal is achievable?
It is definitely easier to get a white loaf to rise and have an open crumb. That said, I really like denser brown breads myself and, if that’s what you like, I would just go ahead and start with them. Practice makes perfect, no matter what colour your loaf is.

Cooking time — dutch oven lid on for 45 mins and lid off for the final 15. Do you approve?
If it works for you, then yes!

What does adding a source of steam mean? I just have a regular fan-forced oven and no fancy equipment. What are some ways that I can easily add steam?
It is essential, but easy – just put a cup of hot water into an oven dish in the hot oven before you put the loaf in. The steam stops the crust from setting hard before the middle of the loaf has baked.

I just learned that you can overproof dough. Anything else we might not know about sourdough?
Salt is absolutely essential, and not just for taste. The salt works on a chemical level with the gluten to help the crumb form. If you forget to add salt, or don’t add enough, you get something that doesn’t taste, or look, that good. I’ve learned this the hard way.

Photography by Ida Riveros

What do you think is the biggest mistake people make when they try to make their first loaf?
I can’t speak for everyone, but the mistake I made was leaving the dough to prove for too long. This means that the dough pancakes out and you get a discus-shaped loaf that’s really dense. You need to get that dough into the oven while it’s still nice and springy to the touch.

What are your favourite toppings for freshly baked sourdough?
For breakfast: butter and apricot jam; for lunch, cheese and pickle; with dinner, butter or olive oil. If it’s toasted then it’s Marmite every time (Marmite is similar to Vegemite, but delicious).

Photography by Michelle Brasington

There are so many types of bread. Why do you think sourdough is such a craze?
Two reasons. Firstly, it’s a reaction against industrially-produced food. Sourdough bread is traditional, it doesn’t have additives, and you can tell that from how it tastes. Secondly, we are only now starting to understand how important our gut biomes are to our overall health – not just to our digestion. The lacto-bacteria that make sourdough taste slightly sour seem (don’t ask me for the detail!) to have a really positive effect in that department.

How to Raise A Loaf and Fall in Love with Sourdough is available now. Text by Roly Allen and published by Laurence King Publishing.

AU$25


Posted on June 16, 2020
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Complete your activities collection

These tried and tested activities come highly recommended from our staff for keeping yourself busy. Bake some bread, play a game, convene with oracles or delve into some arts and crafts.
 
Complete your activities collection today.

Photography and styling: Jackie Money

How to raise a loaf and fall in love with sourdough

By Roly Allen

Photography: Ida Riveros and Rita Platts. Design: Masumi Briozzo.
Product photography and styling: Jackie Money.

How To Raise A Loaf is your go-to guide for making sourdough. Let bread-master Roly Allen run you through the key techniques of traditional baking, creating a living starter, and mastering a crusty loaf. 

Art Oracles

By Katya Tylevich. Illustrations by Mikkel Sommer Christensen.

Illustrations: Mikkel Sommer. Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Are you suffering from creative block? Struggling to make a difficult life decision? Art Oracles is here for you. Find out what Picasso, Pollock, Kahlo and other great artists would have done with this set of fifty oracle cards. 

Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage

By Maria Rivans

Design: Mariana Sameiro. Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Discover the exciting world of Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage, featuring hundreds of beautiful, quirky, and downright daft images, all here for you to cut out and stick.

Ocean Bingo

Illustrations by Holly Exley

Design: Inca Starzinsky. Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Ocean Bingo is a family-friendly game is packed with ocean creatures for hours of bingo fun, featuring interesting facts and glorious illustrations designed to delight aquatic aficionados.


Posted on June 10, 2020
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Vogue & The Met: A Glance at Fashion History

Over the past twenty years, The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute has produced, time and time again, fascinating and provocative exhibitions. Their annual exhibition is the most spectacular of its kind, providing a window into significant moments in fashion history. Even more, they reflect and create the contemporary zeitgeist. The show’s opening night fundraiser, commonly known as The Met Gala, is attended by notable stars, young creatives, and industry paragons alike.

Vogue & The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute: Parties, Exhibitions, People unveils the seamless collaboration between The Met and Vogue in bringing both the exhibition and gala to life each year. This updated and expanded version of the book, originally published in 2014, includes the dramatic and daring exhibitions of the past five years. Think 2015’s ‘China Through the Looking Glass’ through to 2019’s unforgettable ‘Camp Notes on Fashion’. In the absence of a 2020 gala, wanted to celebrate this ode to the museum and it’s history with a few of our favourite photographs from the book.

Photography by Eric Boman © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Photography by Eric Boman

Vogue & The Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute: Parties, Exhibitions, People is available now. Text by Hamish Bowles, foreword by Max Hollein, and introduction by Anna Wintour. Edited by Chloe Malle and originally published by Abrams Books.

AU$90.00


Posted on June 9, 2020
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Parents’ Notes for Kids of All Ages

After a term of homeschooling, the last thing you’re thinking about is setting another homework task, putting aside time for learning or trying to stretch out that 45 minute activity that your sweet angel completed in less than ten minutes.

For those times when you can’t possibly open up another teacher-resource, we have you covered; welcome to parents’ notes.

What are parents’ notes?

Our parents’ notes are just like teachers’ notes, but without the emphasis on learning. Parents’ notes are about inspiring conversation.

The best thing about our parents’ notes is that you don’t need any extra resources and you don’t need to buy the book. Everything you need is included on one page — the questions, the book’s cover and any other helpful illustrations.

We’ve put together parents’ notes for three of our best-selling Laurence King Publishing titles, one for each age group. You can download your parents notes here on our activity page.

1 to 20 Animals Aplenty

Questions aimed at ages 3-5, download here

Example question: How many animals can you see on the front cover? Can you name them all?

1 to 20 Animals Aplenty is a delightful counting book that takes young readers from 1 to 20 – from dogs who have pet frogs and snakes who love to eat cakes to gorillas looking at mirrors and llamas wearing pyjamas! Beautifully illustrated by Katie Viggers and published by Laurence King Publishing.

Bob Goes Pop!

Questions aimed at ages 5+, download here

Example question: What are the physical differences between Bob and Roy?

From award-winning author Marion Deuchars and published by Laurence King Publishing, Bob Goes Pop is a charming and funny follow-up to Bob the Artist and Bob’s Blue Period, all about art and teamwork.

Match a Mummy

Questions aimed at ages 10+, download here

Example question: Based on the cat and cat mummy on the box, what can we assume about the ancient Egyptians’ relationship to cats?

Travel back in time to Ancient Egypt with this new children’s matching game, developed in partnership with the British Museum and published by Laurence King Publishing. Locate and match up the pairs to learn more about how the Egyptians lived.


Posted on June 9, 2020
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Complete your creative bookshelf

At Thames & Hudson Australia, we pride ourselves on our ‘museum without walls’, our books which explore every interest and spark creative energy.

Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing our top titles for key interest areas, from lifestyle and architecture books, to activities, puzzles and games.

Complete your creative bookshelf today.

Complete your fashion bookshelf

Run away with the latest fashion bibles.

EXPLORE ➔

Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Complete your activities collection

Fight boredom with our best activities on bread baking, bingo playing, fortune telling and collage making.

DISCOVER ➔

Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Complete your lifestyle bookshelf

Discover a heady mixture of our favourite books on topics spanning plant medicine, floristry, home plant care and career advice in the creative industry.

READ MORE ➔

Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Coming soon…

  • Complete your picture book collection
  • Complete your architecture bookshelf
  • Complete your art bookshelf
  • Complete your interior design bookshelf

Posted on May 20, 2020
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Colours in the Time of the Ancients

From one of the world’s most respected paint-makers, David Coles, Chromatopia reveals the stories behind fifty striking pigments. The book spans several time periods; here, we look at some of the colours featured from the ancient world.

Egyptian Blue

Photography by Adrian Lander

This was the first synthetically produced colour.

Invented at around the same time as the Great Pyramids were being built, Egyptian blue’s creation dates back about 5000 years. The Ancient Egyptians believed blue was the colour of the heavens and because of the rarity of naturally occurring blue minerals like azurite and lapis lazuli, they devised a way to manufacture the colour themselves.

Egyptian blue was not produced by blind chance: it was created with precision. Made by heating lime, copper, silica and natron, the pigment’s invention was a development of the ceramic glaze processes. The Egyptians controlled the firing of the raw materials with amazing accuracy, holding their kilns at a crucial temperature close to 830°C.

The famous crown of Queen Nefertiti owes its colour to Egyptian blue and the pigment was used extensively for painting murals, sculptures and sarcophagi. It spread from Egypt to Mesopotamia, Greece and the outer reaches of the Roman Empire and was used at the palace at Knossos, in Pompeii and on Roman wall paintings. Known to the Romans as caeruleum (from which the colour cerulean derives its name), it was widely used throughout the Classical Age, but the knowledge of how to make it was lost with the fall of the Roman Empire.

Discoveries made by Napoleon’s 1798 Egyptian expedition led to further investigation of Egyptian blue; and eventually, in the 1880s, the chemical composition of the pigment was identified and the manufacturing process was recreated.

Orpiment

Photography by Adrian Lander

Orpiment was the closest imitation to gold.

Its Latin name is auripigmentum (gold paint) and in the classical world, it was believed that this resemblance had deeper alchemical roots. It was even said that the Roman emperor Caligula could extract gold from the mineral.

In fact, orpiment carries a much more dangerous substance. It is a highly toxic sulphide of arsenic. The Persian word zarnikh (gold-coloured) became arsenikon in Greek and then arrhenicum in Latin, from which the English word ‘arsenic’ is derived. The Romans were well aware of orpiment’s poisonous nature and used slave labour to mine it. For the unlucky slaves this was, in essence, a death sentence.

Orpiment was used in Ancient Egypt as a cosmetic, taking its place in history alongside other deadly pigments used in makeup. It was used in painting for centuries throughout Persia and Asia, but in Europe, because of the dominance of lead-based yellows, it was most often employed in manuscripts.

A manufactured version, known as king’s yellow, was available from the 17th century. The name is believed to come from Arabic alchemy, which described orpiment and realgar as the ‘two kings’.

Both the naturally occurring and synthetic versions of orpiment were incompatible with other commonly used pigments, particularly lead-based pigments like flake white, and copper-based pigments like verdigris and malachite.  It was infamous for turning them black. With the introduction in the 19th century of the more chemically inert and less toxic cadmium yellow, orpiment fell out of usage.

Woad

Photography by Adrian Lander

Woad was widely used as a dye in Europe as early as the Stone Age.

Ancient Britons covered their bodies with woad to face the Roman legions and it is said that they struck fear into Julius Caesar himself.

The first part of the woad-making process involved taking fresh leaves of the woad plant, Isatis tinctoria, grinding them to a pulp, rolling them into balls the size of large apples and leaving them to dry in the sun. They could then be stored and used at a later date. Like indigo, the dye is extracted by fermentation. Traditional recipes specify that the plant be soaked in urine under the heat of the sun and trampled for three days. After that, the remaining liquid is a yellowish colour.

The indigo molecule is the blue colourant in woad. The magical quality of indigo is that the distinctive blue colour only develops after the textiles are removed from the dye bath and exposed to air. During the dyeing process, a scum called florey, known as the flower of woad, also develops on the surface. This was skimmed off and dried so it could be used separately as a paint colour.

The fermentation process releases large quantities of ammonia. Far worse, however, is that the plant depletes the soil that it grows in, leaving an infertile wasteland in its wake. Laws were passed in medieval Europe to curb this devastation.

Although indigo was known since Imperial Rome, the more colour-intense Indian indigo was not readily available in the west until commercial quantities were imported at the beginning of the 17th century. It supplanted woad, and production rapidly declined as a result.

Chromatopia is available now. Text by David Coles, photography by Adrian Lander, and cover design by Evi. O Studio.

AU$34.99


Posted on May 20, 2020
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Staying Green in Quarantine

Trying to figure out how to make the most of your time at home? Environmental activist and author of How to Save the World for Free Natalie Fee says it’s the perfect time to reset some of our routines and make small changes to encourage more environmentally friendly behaviour.

Natalie Fee on How to Save the World for Free

Don’t waste water

With all this extra hand washing, we’re using a lot more water. Keep a bowl in your sink to catch the water as you wash your hands then use it to water your plants. Or with all that extra time on your sparkling (er, dry and cracked?) hands, add a bit of tea tree oil to it to wash your floors. When it comes to the loo, if it’s yellow, let it mellow, if it’s brown, flush it down. 

Additionally, when making those never-ending cups of tea, make sure to only boil what you need, as kettles use up a serious amount of energy. If you forget and overfill the kettle, stick the rest in a hot water bottle or in a flask for herbal tea later in the day.

Take up cycling

If you’re avoiding public transport and tempted to jump in your car, don’t! If you’re physically able, get on your bike instead. Cycling is the perfect way to stay fit, get some fresh air and do some low-key, local shopping.

Take the time to research greener options

If you’ve got some ‘white space’ in your diary, block some time out to actually do some online switching of your heat or personal finances services. Switch to an ethical bank, a green energy provider, an earth friendly loo paper or a conscious laundry detergent.

Keep the heat off

As the days start to get colder, consider layering up to stay warm instead of whacking the heating on. Put some tights on under your jeans and wear a beanie or warm hat (maybe not when on Zoom or Skype, unless it’s a good look for you).

Don’t waste electricity

If your home has enough natural light for you to work, don’t turn your lights on during the day. Remember to switch off your electricals at the socket at night to save energy and money. And you’ll probably sleep better with the WiFi off anyway. “Alexa, stop listening to my conversations and using a crapload of data to do it”.

How to Save the World for Free is available now. Text by Natalie Fee, published by Laurence King Publishing

AU$25.00


Posted on May 18, 2020
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Complete your lifestyle bookshelf

This curated list of lifestyle books are the most current and coveted recommendations from our staff.

Right now, we’re delving into plants for the home, plants for medicine, flower arranging and career inspiration.

Complete your lifestyle bookshelf today.

Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Plants for the People

By Erin Lovell Verinder

Plants for the People is a beginner’s guide to plant medicine by qualified herbalist and nutritionist Erin Lovell Verinder. Delve into the power of herbs by learning how to harness their healing energy.

Cover design: Alissa Dinallo | Photography: Georgia Blackie | Published by Thames & Hudson Australia | Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

The Flower Expert

By Fleur McHarg

“…tips, tricks and endless floral inspiration.” – SUNDAY LIFE

Master florist Fleur McHarg shares her wisdom in The Flower Expert, a practical guide to flower arranging and meditation on the form, beauty and symbolism of flowers.

Cover design: Evi-O studio | Cover photography: Nikole Ramsay | Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

Make a Living Living

By Nina Karnikowski

Make a Living Living by travel maven Nina Karnikowski is for anyone who has ever wished they could build a successful career doing something they love.

Designer: Mariana Sameiro|Product photography and styling: Jackie Money

How to raise a plant and make it love you back

By Morgan Doane and Erin Harding

Learn how to nurture your leafy co-habitants with How to raise a plant and make it love you back by Morgan Doane and Erin Harding. This easy guide to plant care covers plant selection and maintenance; easy-to-follow care instructions; DIY projects; and plant styling tips.

Design: Masumi Briozzo | Product photography and styling: Jackie Money


Posted on May 13, 2020
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Recipe: Speckled Beetroot Sourdough

There’s no better time to settle in to the ultimate, feel-good luxury of making homemade bread, and this Speckled Beetroot Sourdough is worth settling in to.

Whilst all the recipes in How to Raise a Loaf are suitable for beginners, this recipe should be attempted once you’ve already made your first basic loaf. The recipe for a basic loaf, as well as kneading and folding tutorials, are all included in How to Raise a Loaf. You’ll also find a step-by-step guide to making and using your starter. Head over to Laurence King’s Instagram story here to watch how we make our starter.


Speckled Beetroot Sourdough

With a distinctive appearance and earthy aroma, this is a real show-stopper, and a perfect, hearty accompaniment to winter soups or stews. Beetroots are a rich source of antioxidants, and also give the dough an unforgettable pink colour, which fades in the oven, leaving speckles in a classic open crumb.

Photography by Ida Riveros

Ingredients

· 200g starter
· 10ml (2 tsp) olive oil
· 180ml warm water
· 340g strong white bread flour
· 7.5g (1½ tsp) fine salt
· 150g fresh beetroot, peeled and coarsely grated
· rice flour or semolina, for dusting

1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the starter, olive oil and warm water together until the starter has dissolved.

Photography by Ida Riveros

2. In another bowl, mix the flour with the salt. Add this to the wet mixture and mix well with your hand, then add the grated beetroot and mix until the beetroot is evenly distributed. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rest for 30 minutes.

3. Wet your hands, then pull, fold and rotate the dough 8—10 times, so that it forms a ball. Leave to rest for 10 minutes.

4. Repeat Step 3 twice so that you’ve worked the dough three times and it has rested for a
hour in total.

5. Dust a proving basket liberally with rice flour or semolina. Wet your fingers, work them around the bottom of the ball of dough and gently transfer it to the proving basket, keeping the seam upwards.

6. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place to prove. Depending on the temperature and the activity of the yeast, it may take three to six hours to gain about 50 per cent in size.

Photography by Ida Riveros

7. When the loaf has proved, preheat the oven to 230°C (210°C fan)/gas mark 8, with a heavy baking tray or baking stone on the middle shelf, and add a source of steam. Turn the loaf out of the proving basket onto the heated surface, cut it twice across the top with a sharp blade or scissors, then place it in the oven.

8. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 210°C (190°C fan)/gas mark
and bake for another 40 minutes, or until the loaf is done and sounds hollow on the base
when tapped with a fingertip.

9. Leave to cool on a wire rack before eating.

Photography by Ida Riveros

This is a recipe extract from How to Raise a Loaf, published by Laurence King Publishing, $25, available here.


Posted on May 11, 2020
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At home with cake queen Alice Oehr

Alice Oehr is passionate about her career in illustration and design, but her heart truly belongs to cake. In her first book, The Art of Cake, Alice explores the wonderful culture of cake, profiling fifty of the world’s favourite in her signature illustrative style. We visited Alice at her colourful home to chat about her road to becoming one of Melbourne’s most popular artists and all things dessert.

Can you share a bit about your background and what led you to becoming one of Melbourne’s favourite illustrators/designers?

I have always made things and enjoyed art, but it took me a while to come around to committing my life to it as I had other interests. I did an arts degree, travelled, and had some fun before knuckling down and studying graphic design. This gave me a set of skills that I could immediately use to realise my ideas, and to work for people who needed things done. I gradually leaned more into illustration as this is where my passion lay: colour, pattern, and so forth.

What was your approach to decorating your home, and what makes it quintessentially ‘you’?

I think a lot of artists are collectors (or hoarders, for a better word) as they are romantically drawn to objects and the life that thing has had. This is the case for me. I had no planned approach to decoration but over time, my home has become filled with things that all have sentimental value; objects passed down from grandparents, artworks from friends and souvenirs collected from round the world. Thus, the house is rather colourful, eclectic and chaotic, and that is me.

What is your favourite item in your house, and what does it mean to you?

I don’t really have a favourite, though some things do bring back very good memories. The corn jug is something that really makes me laugh, as it is so kitsch. I bought it at a flea market in France on holiday with my family. It appalled my mother, walking, as it does, the line of good taste. I enjoy this object because I can actually use it, and regularly put flowers in it.

How do you split your time between your home and your studio?

The only approach that works for me is to treat my freelance work as a full-time job. I work 9am to 6pm at my studio, and almost never at night or on weekends. I don’t  go out for lunch or go shopping during work time as I find this will come back to bite me later, when I find myself staying up until 2am finishing it.

You say that cakes are embedded in our memory, ‘laced with a heavy dose of nostalgia from the sweet moments of our past.’ Where does your love for cakes and pastries come from?

At first, I didn’t really know; but through the process of making this book, I have realised it is from the great sense of occasion my parents attributed to a visit to the cake shop when I was a kid. It served as a bribe, and it worked. In childhood too, the grand event of a birthday cake was long drawn out: choosing the flavours and the decoration, anticipating it, then being presented with it in front of a crowd in a great show of sparklers and singing. All that emotion is deeply embedded in the way I think about desserts – they are always special, and something to get excited about.

When did you start illustrating cakes, and at what stage did The Art of Cake come into conception? Can you talk a little about the creative process behind the cakes in the book?

My habit of drawing everything I see when I go travelling is what sparked the idea for the book. When I’m away I notice everythingand draw all the things I see and do. Each country I’ve visited has their own unique answer to a ‘sweet treat’, especially in places like France and Italy – their cakes are like works of art. Coming from Australia where we have more of a ’Women’s Weekly’ approach to cakes; the ostentatious decoration of France’s petits fours, for example, really appealed. The book seemed like a good idea as the universal appeal of a cake was clear. Every culture, from pretty much time immemorial, has had its own form of sweet dish – often associated with reverence or celebration – and I felt that this could be explored. I researched what are considered the most beloved cakes around the world and compiled a list. I investigated each cake to write my description of it’s flavour and presentation, as well as its history and most interesting tidbits. Then I drew them all!

What’s the best place in Melbourne for cake or a sweet treat?

For cake, absolutely without question, Beatrix in North Melbourne. If you’re after a more ‘bread–like’ snack, for instant a croissant or brioche pastry, Baker D. Chirico in Carlton is the best in that department.

What other projects have you been working on that we can expect to see this year?

My favourite on-going project is the weekly still life drawing class that I teach at Lamington Drive gallery in Collingwood. I choose a theme, set up a scene on a table, and 20-30 people come in to explore drawing the still life on an iPad Pro. Exploring digital drawing is a new and exciting activity and always promotes interesting conversation.

Alice’s still life drawing classes have taken a pause during isolation but are set to resume later this year.

The Art of Cake is available now. Text by Alice Oehr.

AU$24.99


Posted on May 11, 2020
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Shortlist: Illustrated Book of the Year at the 2019 ABIAs

Australia Modern has been shortlisted for the Illustrated Book of the Year award at the 2019 Australian Book Industry Awards. We’d like to extend a warm congratulations to the authors, Hannah Lewi and Philip Goad, the designer, Stuart Geddes, and all of the contributors and editors involved with the creation of the book.

Get to know Australia Modern

Australia Modern is the most complete survey of modernist Australian architecture, interiors and landscape design spanning 1925 to 1975. With a focus on buildings and places that still exist, the book features 100 significant site examples by Australia’s most revered architects, rich archival imagery and expert essays exploring how modernism has shaped Australian society.

The book pays tribute to all types of examples of Australian modernism, whether big or small, famous or everyday. From the Sydney Opera House and the National Gallery of Victoria, to a Pop-Brutalist courthouse in regional Victoria or a modest lawn bowls club, Australia Modern recognises both the iconic and the now-obsolete. As the authors note, these examples are ‘part of our history, tangible physical reminders of the twentieth-century hopes, aspirations and growth of our local communities, cities, towns and landscapes’.

Where to catch the award ceremony – that’s right, you’re invited!

This year, the ABIAs will be held virtually via the official YouTube channel. The perk of going virtual? Anyone can tune in to watch the announcement of the winners on Wednesday 13th May from 4pm AEST.


Australia Modern is available now. Text by Hannah Lewi and Philip Goad and design by Stuart Geddes.

AU$80.00


Posted on May 4, 2020
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My Bedroom is an Office: Joanna Thornhill on your Interior Design Dilemmas

When My Bedroom is an Office was published in March 2019, we had no idea it would be so relevant over a year later. Now, Joanna Thornhill reminds us that even if your office is just an outdoor table at the end of your bed, it’s still worth making it a space you are happy to spend the day in.


No one wants to stare at a messy workspace at the best of times, least of all when dozing off in bed at the end of the day. But if the bedroom is your only viable space to set up shop, however small the available area, if you’re savvy and organised you can create a spot that functions as a place of productivity without causing nightmares.

For the workspace itself, think about repurposing a piece of furniture that will fit the aesthetic of your bedroom. A bureau or secretaire can work brilliantly, and you can just shut the hatch when you’re not using it. A simple writing desk, console or even small dining table can be a good option, but try to make a raised platform for your monitor (perhaps just a shelf resting on two wooden battens) to ensure that it sits at the correct eye level; you can tuck your keyboard under this when it’s not being used. If your table has no drawers, a basic fabric skirt fixed around the top can hide a multitude of sins, from printers to power cables.

Left: Hiding in plain sight can be a good approach for the bedroom office. Through the use of cute accessories, charming vintage furniture and a pretty overall aesthetic, this study spot is a chic addition rather than an unfortunate eyesore.
Right: An ingenious fold-down wall desk can work wonderfully in a tiny space. A purpose-built unit allows you to keep your laptop and a few other essentials hidden away, while a wall-mounted drop-leaf table or a drop-leaf butterfly table would do a similar job.
Below: Natural materials can offer the perfect counterbalance to a tech-filled study space. Paired with simple floral cuttings and touches of greenery, this work nook looks the opposite of corporate. Clever, subtle tech, such as the lamp that incorporates a wireless charging base, allows the desktop to remain relatively cable-free.
Image © Tiffany Grant-Riley / 91 Magazine

Since space will no doubt be limited, think laterally to make the most of your work nook. If your desk is in an alcove, this can offer the ideal spot to add shelves for storage, but otherwise a ladder-style leaning desk unit may be most efficient, or even a modular shelving system incorporating a desk. Soften the appearance of work paraphernalia such as box files or ring binders by covering them with fabric or wallpaper swatches that tie in with your room decor, and be creative with storage – why not keep archived paperwork in a small vintage suitcase, for example, or stack your printer paper in an old wooden fruit crate?

An ugly office chair will never enhance any bedroom, so consider working from a more visually pleasing dining chair or even a padded stool. If this is your full-time workspace, however, a proper computer chair is best for your body, so shop around for an aesthetically pleasing one (they may be few and far between, but they’re out there). If you’ve already got a bog-standard one, try covering it with a chunky throw when it’s not in use, or make fitted covers in a charming fabric to give it a more homely feel.

Joanna Thornhill
Joanna Thornhill, author of My Bedroom is an Office. See Joanna’s Instagram takeover here

If you’re up for a DIY challenge, try converting a cupboard or wardrobe into a bijou office. Add a deep shelf across the whole space at desk height, place additional shelving above for storage, tuck your printer underneath and simply shut the door when you’re done.


My Bedroom is an Office

This is an extract from My Bedroom is an Office, published in March 2019, by Laurence King Publishing, $29.99, available here.


Posted on April 27, 2020
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At home with Thames & Hudson Australia

Like so many throughout the world, our team is working from home. Some of us are surrounded by plants, some by arts and crafts, all of us by books. We love seeing the ways people are making new workspaces at home and we wanted to share some of ours with you.

Michelle Brasington | Publicity Manager

Here is my workspace. I have a lot of light streaming in through the kitchen window in the mornings and it prompts me to get the dishes done before I start work!

Design Lives Here design: Claire Orrell. Plants for the People cover design: Alissa Dinallo. Photography: Georgia Blackie.

My go-to books at the moment are:

Plants for People: A modern guide to plant medicine

This ode to plants reconnects me to nature making me feel relaxed and comforted. I am working my way through Erin’s recipes for teas and my favourite so far is the ‘daily multi’ which is packed with nutritional goodies.

Design Lives Here

This is definitely an aspirational book for me! I find it fascinating how these bespoke pieces of furniture and lighting have found their home and fit so well in these stunning architecturally designed houses.

My co-worker, Charlie the whippet, is probably the most stylish part of my home! I love all dogs, but there’s a special place in my heart for whippets. She’s a good listener and never argues when I talk to her.  All she wants is a pat and a dog biscuit!

Jackie Money | Marketing Manager

Firstly, these pictures of my house are entirely misleading, because I could never keep it so clean. Thank you to this content piece for making me tidy up. Secondly, welcome to my (working from) home.

My desk gets some lovely afternoon sunshine, making a great natural filter for video meetings. I keep that pile of work books on the chair next to me for easy reference, and art supplies at the ready for my lunch break.

RIGHT: Framed print by Carlos ARL, lovingly given as a birthday gift

When the sun gets a bit much, I can retreat to my bedroom where the bookshelves live. The books which don’t fit there have to live in piles stashed around the apartment. That doesn’t mean I love them any less than the bookshelf ones, but it does mean I have more books than I have proper places to put them.

The Flower Expert cover design: Evi-O Studios. Cover photography: Nikole Ramsay.

Lately, I’ve been pouring over The Flower Expert by Fleur McHarg. The only flower I could identify before reading this book was a sunflower, and now I can tell you what a rose looks like. Maybe even a daisy. It has so many brilliant tips on arranging flowers, like what colours to put together and how much green stuff (ie. foliage) to use. If you’re a flower novice like me, or a master like Fleur, this book will bring you pure, colourful joy.

Lisa Schuurman | Editorial Assistant

Here is my work from home desk. I’ve retreated to my parents’ house on the Mornington Peninsula for some fresh air and space while self-isolating. Currently half my desk is my mum’s sewing area and the other half is taken up by my computer, books, flowers from the garden and quite often Pepper, my dog. She has a habit of sitting in my chair but most of the time she’s under the desk trying to nibble my toes. 


I am one of those messy people who will tell you everything is organised, which is half true, but I definitely try to squish everything in wherever I can. The bookcase includes: some of my favourite THA books, a lot of YA from when I ran an online book club, a yellow duck, a fifteen-year-old lucky horse shoe with my name stamped into it, my favourite vinyl records, a small snow globe of a sheep from NZ and one of my favourite postcards that says ‘de wereld is mooier met jou’ which translates from Dutch to ‘the world is more beautiful with you’.

To match my slightly chaotic shelves, I am also a messy reader. I start multiple books and never finish them, don’t read for many months and then I’ll end up reading multiple books at a time. One book I haven’t put down is Portraits Destroyed by Julie Cotter. I started at THA just when we were beginning to work on the book but I never got a chance to read it until now. Julie Cotter has such great insight into the fascinating world of portraits and the role they play in history. You also can’t deny the power of a great pic section in bringing the words to life. 


Posted on April 22, 2020
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A Q&A with design expert Penny Craswell

Photography by Fiona Susanto

Sydney-based editor, writer and curator Penny Craswell has built a career doing what she loves: showcasing exceptional Australian architecture and interiors and writing about why they really matter. Now, Penny has released her first book, Design Lives Here, a compelling look at the connection between spaces and objects that puts the spotlight on local makers. We spoke to Penny about the inspiration behind the book, her favourite project featured, and her predictions for the future of Australian contemporary design.

Where did your love for design, architecture and interiors stem from?

It all started in Amsterdam, where I had originally planned to do an internship for a photography magazine (my first degree was Art History and Curatorship).The photography magazine didn’t have enough desks, so I went to Frame magazine, which happens to be the world’s biggest (and best) design magazine. I fell in love with design there, and when I moved back to Australia, I decided to pursue a career in design magazines and writing.

How does this translate into your blog, The Design Writer?

My blog features amazing design happening in Australia – from architectural and interiors projects like houses, restaurants and retail, to the best design objects, furniture and lighting. I also promote ethical design – design that is doing good for the environment and society.

Design Lives Here goes a step further by paying homage to local designers and makers who have crafted bespoke pieces of furniture and lighting for stunning Australian residential architecture and interiors. What led you to this project and how did it take shape?

I have a real love of interiors stemming from my time as Deputy Editor of Indesign magazine and Editor of Artichoke magazine. Far more than just colours and patterns, it is an incredible skill of understanding how spaces are used and how they should be proportioned – a too-large room is just as badly designed as a too-small room. But I also love design objects – my masters thesis was about objects and products, and how people attach stories to them – how they are made, how they are used. This book combines the two – it’s about the stories attached to both interior and object.

The idea for the book was to show the beauty of Australian design – I wanted to pair each house or apartment with one piece of Australian furniture or lighting design. In some cases, I found the pairing through the architect or interior designer and in some cases I found it through the furniture or lighting designer.

Photography by Michelle Brasington

For those who haven’t read Design Lives Here, can you tell us a bit more about the importance of spaces and objects being connected by the design process?

Every designer, whether they’re an architect, interior designer, object designer or fashion designer, starts with an idea and then works this through various iterations – sketching by hand or on a computer or both – and then works with materials to make that idea come to life. Through exploring how something was made, we can peel back the layers and truly understand its meaning and value.

Is there a takeaway for our readers on how they can bring this ethos into their own homes?

I would say that the first solution is not necessarily the best solution – sometimes you need to go through a process to find the right answer. Obviously, professional designers are the experts, so hire them if you can to help you, especially on larger projects. I would recommend that everyone consider buying Australian design – the quality and originality of the design is there, often without the huge price tag.

Do you have a favourite project from Design Lives Here?

I tried to choose a range of projects – large and small, urban to remote, for small families and large. But for me, my favourite has to be Indigo Slam by Smart Design Studio – it is a truly monumental house that is also intimate in places, and the furniture, designed and made by Khai Liew in Adelaide, is exquisite.

What would you say is the most unique object featured, and is there more to its story than revealed in the book?

I really love the Black Sambuca Chandelier by Ruth Allen – she is a glass artist and she recycles used Black Sambuca bottles – those long elegant glass shapes – into pendant lights. I didn’t mention it in the book, but Ruth told me that black glass is quite rare so working this way offers the designer/maker the chance to recycle something that would otherwise be post-consumer waste, while also working with a rare material.

Sunflower chair (Khai Liew) at Indigo Slam (Smart Design Studio), photography by David Roche
Black Sambuca chandelier (Ruth Allen) at Kiah House (Austin Maynard Architects), photography by Tess Kelly

In the book, you say that ‘the Australian dream of owning a quarter-acre block with a picket fence and a garage is no longer relevant – or at least no longer so simple.’ Can you explain why this is?

It is partly because property prices are so high these days that many young people can’t afford a mortgage on one salary the way our parents could – and sometimes they can’t afford it with two salaries. These days, we may not need a garage as many people prefer bicycles and/or public transport. Also, for financial reasons, apartments are becoming more popular in Australia, as is inter-generational living.

Where do you think Australian contemporary design is headed?

All signs show that Australian design is continuing to grow. I think we need to work on educating the general public about the value of design – there is a burgeoning design industry in Australia and people need to know they can choose to buy Australian design. As long as this continues to happen, the future looks bright for designers, makers, manufacturers and brands looking to grow their business.

What other projects are you working on, and what’s next for you?

I’m working on my blog right now and doing some preliminary research for my next book!

Design Lives Here is available now. Text by Penny Craswell and cover design by Claire Orrell.

AU$59.99


Posted on April 21, 2020
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Mind Travel: Nina Karnikowski Takes You on Your Wildest Journey Yet

Words by Nina Karnikowski, author of Make a Living Living, introduction by Bianca Jafari

Nina Karnikowski is one of Australia’s most loved travel writers. Her career has seen her journeying through Mongolia in ex-Russian military vehicles, exploring the Namibian desert in open-sided safari trucks and dodging icebergs in Antarctica in an icebreaker ship. But, for Nina, travel is more than just a job.

Our adventures (imagined, planned or taken) shape a unique part of who we are. They help form our beliefs, expand our way of thinking and provide endless inspiration. With many of the world’s international borders now closed, there’s no obvious replacement to fill the void. Now, Nina brings us one step closer, taking us on a journey that defies physical boundaries.

Nina Karnikowski, photography by Peter Windrim

Last week, I learned a new word. My mum taught it to me, sending me a BBC article she’d read about something called ‘fernweh’. Call it motherly intuition, but it was the exact word I had been searching for. It means, literally, ‘distance sickening’, and nods to that deep craving we all occasionally have to see far-flung places.

‘What if our lust for travel causes us a deep yearning pain, an ache that reminds us we have to get out and see the world?’ asked the BBC article. ‘What if we’re trapped inside our homes because a virus has taken the Earth and its inhabitants hostage, and we feel despair that we simply cannot travel at all?’

The story was a comfort. Having been a travel writer for the past seven years, visiting a dozen countries a year on assignments covering destinations as diverse as Antarctica, India and Zambia, to Japan, Nepal and Peru, the sudden end to this constant wandering has left me feeling stagnant and uninspired.

Reading about ‘fernweh’, though, reminded me how many other travel-hungry humans are stuck in their homes feeling this very same thing – this growing restlessness, this deep thirst for the exotic and the strange and the extraordinary, that seems increasingly far away with every passing day. Maybe, I’ve been thinking, in the absence of real travel and in the face of this very real crisis, we might need to start escaping for some mind travel occasionally, taking inner journeys in the absence of outer ones.

But how do we plan these inner journeys? Well, I think we start by appealing to our senses. This past week, for example, when an intense craving to visit India crept up on me, I brewed pots of sweet masala chai and listened to my favourite Bollywood music and burned nag champa incense and dreamt of the wild adventures I’ll eventually have in the Indian Himalayas when this life pause is over. And yes, I also spent time leafing through the pages of Make a Living Living to find the India tales tucked away in there. It helped.

Mukul Bhatia, one of 26 inspirational creatives featured in Make a Living Living, photography by Aleena Das

Films, books and podcasts are other things we can ‘pack’ for these mental journeys around the globe. Over the past week I’ve escaped to 18th-century Qing dynasty China while watching Ang Lee’s Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon, northern India via Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited, and Greenland, Iceland and Afghanistan during The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Diving into transportive travel podcasts like Conde Nast Traveller’s Women Who Travel and Travel With Rick Steves has also proven to be a wonderful escape portal. I’ve spent time ‘travelling’ via forgotten coffee table books, to Africa via Peter Beard’s stunning photographs, and India through Steve McCurry’s. I’ve also been dipping into Paul Bowles’s Travels, Collected Writing, 1950-93, covering tales from Morocco to Kenya, Thailand to Sri Lanka and beyond, and Leigh Ann Henion’s Phenomenal, a Hesitant Adventurer’s Search for Wonder in the Natural World, which whisks the reader away to Mexico to witness the great monarch butterfly migration, to Venezuela to see their notorious lightning storms, and Hawai’i to climb active volcanoes.

Mood boarding is another fun way I’ve found to mind travel, grabbing a stack of old magazines, some scissors and glue and a bunch of coloured pencils, as well as found objects like coins, flowers and feathers, and cutting and pasting my way to a faraway land. It’s a way of immersing yourself with a place in a tactile way (I explain in further in one of the eight creativity-stoking exercises peppered throughout Make a Living Living), and could even prove a useful starting point for organising your next journey when we’re all ready to take flight again.

Mood boarding, photography by Peter Windrim
‘From mimic to master’, one of eight exercises in Make a Living Living

Some of the best ‘adventures’ I’ve taken since this all started, though, have been while sitting still. Simply sitting and listening to the sound of my breath in my body has allowed me to not only accept the situation just as it is, and to transform fear into curiosity and creative thinking, but also to cut through the noise and find fresh time and energy to share with those closest to me.

Home meditations and yoga classes via YogaGlo.com have been pulling me out of catastrophic thinking, as have listening to podcasts like Ten Percent Happier by Dan Harris, a practical deep-dive into mindfulness and Buddhism aimed at ambitious modern listeners, and those by Buddhist teacher Tara Brach. These tools have opened up potent periods of stillness and clarity in my days that have made me realise that the greatest adventure any of us might hope to take right now, or perhaps ever, is that of going nowhere at all.


Make a Living Living is for anyone who has ever wished they could build a successful career doing something they love. Structured around the stories of inspiring individuals, from a vegan chocolatier to a nomadic photographer and a tiny-house builder, the book explains how they achieved their ideal existence, and the challenges they faced along the way.

Make a Living Living, published in March 2020, by Laurence King Publishing, $29.99, available here.


Posted on April 16, 2020
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Kids games and activities to entertain the whole family

We took our epic collection of fun, family activities on a balcony picnic to give them a whirl! Read on to see what we’re playing and how they work.

Jungle Bingo

For ages 3+

Classic bingo with a jungle twist! Play along with the blue Ulysses butterfly and the inedible tomato frog, along with many other exotic jungle creatures. Easy to play and simply delightful, for all animal-loving children and adults.

LEFT: 150 tokens, 48 jungle tokens in one lion head box, 8 double-sided game cards and one large game board | UPPER RIGHT: game card and tokens | LOWER RIGHT: close up of the beautifully designed game board, tokens and lion head box, illustrated by Caroline Selmes

Jungle Bingo, illustrated by Caroline Selmes. Published by Laurence King Publishing.

$29.99

Build Your Own Mars Colony

For ages 6+

Build Your Own Mars Colony is a pop-out assembly set, no scissors or glue necessary. Set up your own rockets, astronauts, robots and hover craft. Heck, name your space cat Major Tom and enjoy hours of extraterrestrial fun.

UPPER LEFT: flat lay example of two pop-out boards, illustrated by Jana Glatt | LOWER LEFT: close up of assembled pieces | RIGHT: Mars colony, assembled and ready for take-off!

Build your Own Mars Colony, illustrated by Jana Glatt. Published by Laurence King Publishing.

$24.99

I Saw It First! Ocean

For ages 4+

300 sea creatures are hiding on this game board – can you be the first to spot the clown fish or the killer whale? The rules are simple: take a creature token from the box and show it to the group. The first to spot the creature on the big board, wins the token. The one with the most tokens, wins!

LEFT: the great double-sided, hexagon board, tokens and token box | RIGHT: close up of the beautifully designed sea creature tokens and board
LEFT: sea creature tokens sunny side up, featuring gorgeous illustrations by Caroline Selmes | RIGHT: sea creature tokens, flipped over to reveal their proper names

I Saw It First! Ocean, illustrated by Caroline Selmes. Published by Laurence King Publishing.

$29.99

The Superhero Handbook

For ages 6+

All you need to know to become the ultimate superhero! Featuring 20 activities and a sticker sheet, this colourful activity book reveals superhero secrets like how to make yourself invisible, and handy tips from finding your superhero name to designing your costume.

LEFT: The superhero handbook featuring illustrations by Jason Doyle | UPPER RIGHT: open page on superhero gadgets, with words by James Doyle and more illustrations from Jason Ford | LOWER RIGHT: flicking through the pages

The Superhero Handbook, text and illustrations by James Doyle and Jason Ford. Published by Laurence King Publishing.

$19.99

Puzzle Play

For ages 2+

Colours, animals and numbers combine in this beautiful jigsaw. Children will love these five simple puzzles, making learning fun.

LEFT: Puzzle play box surrounded by its colourful puzzle pieces | UPPER RIGHT: the five four-piece puzzles | LOWER LEFT: close up of a puzzle combination, featuring the beautiful illustrations by Jana Glatt

Puzzle Play, illustrated by Jana Glatt. Published by Laurence King Publishing.

$19.99

The Big Sticker Book of Birds

For ages 3+

This book is packed with more stickers you can shake a tail feather at (over 200!) and glorious activities to stick them on. Design a hoopoe’s crown, stick the right egg in its nest and play blackbird bingo in this beautifully designed sticker activity book.

LEFT: The Big Sticker Book of Birds by Yuval Zommer| UPPER RIGHT: Puffins, chillin’ and one making their way through a maze | LOWER RIGHT: stickers! So many stickers.

The Big Sticker Book of Birds, text and illustrations by Yuval Zommer. Published by Thames & Hudson UK.

$17.99

Dogs & Puppies: A Memory Game

For ages 4+

Featuring 25 breeds of your favourite four-legged friends, this memory game will keep you entertained for hours.

LEFT: open game box, featuring the classic card design on one card and a golden retriever puppy on the other. We’ve named him Bert | RIGHT: game cards, featuring the Pug cards face up. All illustrations by Marcel George

Dogs & Puppies: A Memory Game, illustrated by Marcel George. Published by Laurence King Publishing.

$21.99


Posted on April 9, 2020
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Alice Oehr’s wonderful world of cake: a gallery

The Art of Cake is illustrator, designer and artist Alice Oehr’s playful ode to cake for its devotees everywhere. Through her distinctive, quirky style, she captures cake as an art form that satisfies not only our taste buds but also our eyes and imagination.

Learning about the history of fifty cakes adored across the globe is like the sweet escape you didn’t know you needed. We’ll take a bet here and guess that you don’t know the story of the Cannoli, the origin of the Éclair, or the scandal behind the Sachertorte. Alice covers them all with a sense of nostalgia and whimsy. The Art of Cake also features six of Alice’s own homespun recipes to keep you busy and baking.

Take a look through our gallery of six of our favourite cakes from the book: the humble carrot cake, the controversial pavlova, the dainty strawberry shortcake, the strikingly layered red velvet cake, the elegant éclair and finally the alluring black forest gâteau.

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The Art of Cake is available now. Text and illustrations by Alice Oehr and design by Ashlea O’Neill

AU$24.99 / NZ$29.99


Posted on April 8, 2020
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Join our Worldwide Collage Party or Host Your Own Extraordinary Virtual Event

collage example, collage

In Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage, artist Maria Rivans has sourced over 1,500 interesting images that can be combined to make one-of-a-kind works of art.

The word collage describes both the technique and the resulting work of art in which pieces of paper, photographs, fabric and other ephemera are arranged and stuck down onto a supporting surface. With roots in the early twentieth century Dadaism movement, collaging was popularised by famous artists like Man Ray and Hannah Höch. It has since evolved into a lasting art form that can be found everywhere from teen girls’ bedroom walls to the mood boards that inspire the new collections of illustrious fashion houses.


What do I need to get start a collage?

A collage party is the perfect feel-good activity regardless of whether you are gathered at the same kitchen table or video chatting from afar. The beauty of collage is that you probably already have enough material laying around the house — old magazines, family photos, wrapping paper, newspaper clippings, food packaging.

collage

You can organise a virtual collage party with your friends on video platforms like Zoom or Houseparty. With some good tunes in the background and a cup of tea (or glass of wine!) by your side, it won’t be long before you’re all lost in the bizarre world of collage.

If you’re staying home with young artists, collage is the perfect way to occupy an afternoon. With a bit of help with the scissors, little hands will love choosing their images and getting messy with the glue.

It’s time to get started! For inspiration, check out our author Maria Rivans or incredible Australian artists Madelaine Buttini and Karen Lynch.

Maria Rivans "Juno", collage, artwork, example
Juno by Maria Rivans

Share your work with #ExtraordinaryCollage

On Thursday 2nd of April, Laurence King Publishing are hosting a worldwide virtual collage party and you’re invited.

Simply share your collage masterpiece on Instagram with the #ExtraordinaryCollage for a chance to win a copy of Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage. Maria Rivans will be choosing five winners on April 14th.

collage

This is an extract from Extraordinary Things to Cut Out and Collage by Maria Rivans.

Published in March 2020, by Laurence King Publishing, $29.99, available here.


Posted on March 31, 2020
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#SupportingLocal: bookstores offering delivery and more

Now is a more important time than ever to support your local bookstores. Stock up for your personal library and check out our live list of bookstores offering free delivery services, pick-up options and over-the-phone book recommendations to get you through.

This is a live list, get in touch if you would like to add a service being offered by a local bookstore.

VICTORIA

Aesop’s Attic (Kyneton): Accepting phone orders and offering a drive through pick-up service.

Antipodes Gallery & Bookshop (Sorrento): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free home delivery to local suburbs.

Avenue Bookstore