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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 (Richmond, Albert Park and Elsternwick): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free same day delivery to local suburbs for orders over $30 placed before 3pm.

Avoca Hill Bookstore (South Yarra): Free delivery to local suburbs for orders over $20 and next day delivery for in stock items.

Beaumaris Books (Beaumaris): Over-the-phone book recommendations, free gift wrapping and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Benn’s Books (Bentleigh): Accepting phone, Instagram and email orders and offering free delivery to Bentleigh, East Bentleigh, McKinnon, Moorabbin and Murrumbeena.

Blarney Books (Port Fairy): Accepting phone and Facebook orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Book and Paper (Williamstown): Accepting Instagram, Facebook and text orders and offering home delivery to local suburbs.

Brunswick Bound (Brunswick): Accepting phone and online orders and offering free delivery to Brunswick, Brunswick East, Brunswick West, North Carlton, North Fitzroy, Coburg, Moonee Ponds and Essendon.

Brunswick Street Bookstore (Fitzroy): Accepting phone, email and online orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Collins Moonee Ponds: Accepting online orders and offering click and collect services.

Collins Ballarat: Accepting online orders and offering free home delivery within Ballarat.

Coventry Bookstore (South Melbourne): Accepting online orders and offering free delivery for orders over $20 with next day delivery for items that are in stock.

Diabolik Books (Mount Hawthorn): Accepting phone orders for delivery and offering home delivery within a 3km radius of the store.

Dymocks CBD: Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery for orders over $50.

Dymocks Camberwell: Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Dymocks Tooronga: Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Eltham Bookshop (Eltham): Accepting phone and email orders and offering delivery to local suburbs.

Escape Hatch Books (Kew East): Free delivery to local suburbs.

Fairfield Books (Fairfield): Accepting phone orders and offering both a pick-up from your car service and free delivery to local suburbs.

Farrell’s Bookshop (Mornington): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Happy Valley (Collingwood): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to Collingwood, Fitzroy, Clifton Hill and Carlton North.

Hares & Hyenas (Fitzroy): Delivery via Books-on-Bikes for those staying in their homes or who cannot afford postage. 

Hill of Content (CBD): Accepting online, phone and email orders and offering free delivery for orders over $50.

Ink Bookshop (Winchcombe): Free delivery in Mansfield and surrounding areas.

Jeffreys Books (Malvern): Accepting phone, email and online orders.

Just Books (Bairnsdale): Free home delivery to customers in Bairnsdale, Lakes Entrance and surrounding areas.

Metropolis Bookshop (CBD): Accepting online orders and offering free postage delivery for orders over $50.

My Bookshop by Corrie Perkins (Toorak): Accepting phone orders and offering home delivery within a 20km radius of the store as well as a same-day delivery service if order is placed before 3pm.

Neighbourhood Books (Northcote): Accepting online orders and offering free delivery to Northcote, Thornbury, Preston, Reservoir, Fairfield, Carlton North, Carlton, Fitzroy North, Fitzroy, Collingwood, Princes Hill, Clifton Hill and Brunswick.

New Leaves (Macedon Ranges): Accepting phone orders and offering free delivery to the Macedon Ranges area.

Paperback Bookshop (CBD): Accepting phone and email orders.

Readings (Carlton, Doncaster, Hawthorn, St Kilda and Malvern): Accepting online orders and offering free delivery for orders over $60.

Squishy Minnie (Kyneton): Accepting online orders and offering free delivery within the Macedon Ranges.

The Book Bird (Geelong West): Accepting phone, Instagram and email orders and offering free delivery to Geelong, Geelong West, North Geelong, Newtown, Manifold Heights, Rippleside, Hamlin Heights, Herne Hill, Bell Post Hill, and Bell Park.

The Bookshop at Queenscliff: Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to the local area.

The Grumpy Swimmer (Elwood): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to Elwood and local suburbs for orders over $25.

The Leaf Bookshop (Ashburton): Over-the-phone book recommendations, accepting phone orders and offering free delivery within a 5km radius of the store.

The Little Bookroom (Carlton North): Accepting online orders and offering free delivery to Carlton North, Carlton, Fitzroy North, Fitzroy, Princes Hill, Clifton Hill, Brunswick, Northcote and Coburg.

The Sun Bookshop and The Younger Sun (Yarraville): Accepting phone orders and offering free same day delivery to Yarraville, Seddon and Kingsville, and next-day deliveries by car to Spotswood and Newport.

Thesaurus Books (Brighton): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery to Brighton, Brighton East, Hampton and Bentleigh. 

Top Titles Bookstore (Brighton): Accepting phone orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Torquay Books (Torquay): Accepting online orders and offering delivery to local suburbs.

Turn the Page (Cowes): Accepting phone orders and offering local delivery.

Verso Books (Healesville): Free delivery to local suburbs.

NSW

Beachside Bookshop (Avalon): Accepting phone, email and online orders and offering both a carpark pick-up service and free delivery to local suburbs.

Berkelouw Books (Cronulla): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free home delivery to Cronulla, Kurnell, Woolooware, Caringbah, Miranda, Gymea, Kirrawee and Sutherland on the 26th March.

Berkelouw Books (Hornsby): Personalised, curated book lists as well as pick up and home delivery with free shipping for orders over $99.

Berkelouw Books (Leichhardt): Curated book lists here, accepting phone orders and offering $5 delivery for orders over $49 or free delivery for orders over $99 to local suburbs.

Berkelouw Books (Rose Bay): Free home delivery to Rose Bay, Vaucluse, Watsons Bay, Dover Heights, Point Piper and Bellevue Hill.

Better Read than Dead (Newtown): Delivering curated staff picks right to your desktop or phone screen via their Virtual Bookseller which you can access here, and offering free delivery across Australia.

Book Bazaar (Umina Beach): Offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Bookoccino (Avalon): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free delivery within a 10km radius of the store.

BooksPlus (Bathurst): Free delivery within Bathurst.

Collins Booksellers (Orange): Offering free delivery across Orange.

Dymocks (Chatswood): Accepting phone and email orders for delivery.

Gertrude and Alice (Bondi Beach): Accepting phone orders and home delivery around the Bondi and Tamarama area.

Gleebooks (Glebe): Offering free postage delivery to Inner Western suburbs or Australia-wide for orders over $50.

Harry Hartog (all stores): Offering curated book lists here.

Harbour Bookshop (Ulladulla): Accepting phone, email and social media orders and offering $6 delivery across Ulladulla.

Kinokuniya (Sydney CBD): Accepting phone and online orders and offering over-the-phone book recommendations.

Lost in Books (Fairfield): Offering delivery across Australia and digital creative programs.

Megalong Books (Leura): Recommendations over the phone and free home delivery to local residents in the Upper Mountains

Oscar and Friends (Double Bay): Free home delivery in Surry Hills, Redfern, Double Bay and Bellevue Hill.

Potts Point Bookshop (Potts Point): Accepting phone and online orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

Reader’s Companion (Armidale): Free delivery to customers in Armidale, Uralla and Guyra district.

The Book Room at Byron (Byron Bay): Free same day book delivery in the Byron shire and Lennox Head.

The Bookshop (Bowral and Kiama): Personally curated bookstacks, accepting phone and email orders, and offering delivery to local suburbs.

The Little Lost Bookshop (Katoomba): Accepting phone, web and email orders and offering free delivery across Katoomba.

The Wandering Bookseller (Katoomba): Accepting email orders and offering free delivery Australia-wide.

Wise Words Bookshop (Moree): Accepting phone or DM orders and both mail order and home delivery.

TAS

Fullers Bookshop (Hobart): $5 delivery across Tasmania.

Petrarch’s Bookshop (Launceston): Delivery to Launceston.

The Devonport Bookshop (Devonport): Accepting phone orders and offering free delivery across the Devonport area.

The Hobart Bookshop (Hobart): Free delivery within the Hobart metropolitan area as well as a pick-up service.

ACT

Dymocks Canberra: Free delivery in the ACT.

Dymocks Belconnen: Free delivery in the ACT and Murrumbateman.

QLD

Avid Reader (West End): Free delivery to local suburbs and free postage delivery across Australia for orders over $50.

Books@Stones (Stones Corner): Free delivery across Australia until April 8th.

Dymocks (Brisbane): Free delivery for orders over $75.

Dymocks (Toowoomba): Free delivery to people over 70 and $2 shipping to local suburbs.

Folio Books (Brisbane CBD): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free postage to Brisbane customers for orders of two books or more.

Mad Hatters Bookshop (Manly): Free delivery to Wynnum, Manly and suburbs within 5km of the store for orders over $30.

Mary Who? (Townsville): Accepting phone orders and offering free delivery to the inner Townsville area for orders over $50.

Riverbend Books (Bulimba): Accepting phone and online orders and offering both a pick-up option and home delivery to postcodes 4170 and 4171.

Sequel Books (Moorooka): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free home delivery to local suburbs.

The Book Tree (Toowoomba): $2 home delivery to customers in the 4350 postcode.

Where the Wild Things Are (West End): Accepting phone orders and offering offering free home delivery to postcodes 4170 and 4171 and free delivery to other areas for orders over $50.

WA

Beaufort Street Books (Mount Lawley): Free delivery within a 5km radius of the store.

Collins (Cottesloe): Accepting online and phone orders and offering free delivery in Western Australia.

Collins (Bunbury): Free home delivery on purchases over $30 to Bunbury, Eaton, Australind and Dalyellup areas and postage to other areas for $6.95.

Crow Books (East Victoria Park): Accepting phone and email orders and offering home delivery to local suburbs.

Dymocks (Busselton): Free home delivery within the South-West, including same-day delivery if in-stock books are ordered before 2:30pm.

Dymocks (Morley): Accepting phone and email orders and home delivery at a reduced price of $2 for Booklover members or $5 for non-members in the suburbs of Bassendean, Bayswater, Inglewood, Kiara, Mirrabooka, Morley, Nollamara, Noranda, Tuart Hill and Yokine.

Dymocks (Karrinyup): Accepting phone and email orders and home delivery at a reduced price of $2 for Booklover members or $5 for non-members in the suburbs of Karrinyup, Trigg, Innaloo, Gwelup, Scarborough, North Beach and Karine.

Dymocks (Joondalup): Accepting phone orders and offering free local delivery.

My Little Bookshop (Halls Head): Free delivery from Perth metro area to Bunbury.

Paperbird Books (Fremantle): Free delivery to Fremantle and surrounding suburbs.

Planet Books (Mount Lawley and Northside): Accepting online, phone and email orders and offering free delivery to local suburbs.

SA

Imprints Booksellers (Adelaide): Accepting phone and email orders and offering free postage across SA and free home delivery around Adelaide.

Matilda Bookshop (Adelaide): Accepting phone orders and offering free postage across SA and free home delivery to local suburbs.

Mostly Books (Torrens Park): Free delivery south of Adelaide, to the suburbs of Mitcham and surrounding suburbs.

The Raven’s Parlour (Tanunda): Delivery to local residents in quarantine or self-isolation.

NT

Red Kangaroo Books (Alice Springs): Accepting phone and email orders and delivering across Alice Springs.

Books are everywhere.

Plenty of bookstores that support us not listed here will be delivering online, and you can also purchase books from Booktopia and other online retailers.

The Australian Booksellers Association’s Love Your Bookshop Day is also sharing a range of ways in which you can continue to support your local bookstore, including purchasing vouchers, signing up to their e-newsletter list and pre-ordering titles. #loveyourbookshopeveryday


Posted on March 25, 2020
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The beginner’s guide to brewing medicinal plants

‘Often the easiest approach is the most potent.’

Learn the difference between teas, infusions, decoctions and sun brews with master herbalist Erin Lovell Verinder’s guide to brewing medicinal plants. Find this extract in her new book, Plants for the People, alongside her accompanying recipes for brews to aid immunity, digestion, vitality, and sleep.

Photography by Georgia Blackie

Teas, infusions, decoctions and sun brews have been in use for as long as plants and people have been kin, and are four of the most accessible ways to work with plants, dried or fresh.

Essentially, infusions, decoctions and sun brews follow the principles of tea, but they are amplified in the medicinal sense. Medicinal teas are made by steeping the plant material in boiling water for a quick 10–20 minutes. Follow with a simple strain and sip mindfully.

An infusion involves longer steeping in boiling water, for a gentle extraction and activation of the plant material. It is best used for the softer aerial parts of a plant – think flowers, leaves, buds and berries. Bear in mind that there are some plants that prefer a cold-water infusion as their delicate properties are sensitive to heat. Infusions extract the volatile oils, vitamins and precious enzymes of medicinal plants, so be sure to cover the infusing concoction to trap all of these beneficial elements. Infusions can be 20–30 minute brews or left for 4–12 hours to deepen the medicinal impact.

A decoction is used more for the woody parts of plants – think roots, rhizomes, seeds, twigs, bark – which require more time and amplified heat to liberate the medicinal constituents. A decoction calls for a slow, covered boil, around 20–40 minutes.

A sun brew is simply an infusion made by combining dried or fresh herbs with filtered water, sealing and popping out in the sun to brew for a day.

A golden principle of medicinal teas, infusions, decoctions and sun brews is that they are best used straight away. As water is their base, there is no preservative present and we want to avoid any mould formation. However, infusions can be kept for up to 24 hours; sun brews and decoctions can be refrigerated and will stay active for around 48 hours.

A Guide to Brewing Medicinal Plants

Herbal Teas

Pour boiling water over the dried or fresh herbs and steep for 10-20 minutes. Strain out the plant material with a fine-mesh sleeve, and enjoy.

Infusions

Add the plant material to a heatproof mason jar, fill with boiling water and infuse for 3-4 hours minimum, or leave overnight to deepen the strength. Simply strain out the herbs with a fine-mesh sleeve and sip throughout the day. Infusions make a perfect iced tea; however, if you desire a little warmth, you can gently heat on the stove.

Decoctions

Simply add your hardy herbs to a saucepan with water, and bring to a boil. Allow the concoction to simmer for at least 20-30 minutes, then strain and enjoy!

Sun Brews

Spoon the herbal blend of your choice into a glass jar, generally filling around half the jar with fresh plant material or a quarter of the jar with dried plants. Fill to the brim with cool water, pop on a muslin top or lid to keep the bugs away, and leave out in a sunny spot to imbue the brew with warmth.

Plants for the People is available now. Text by Erin Lovell Verinder, photography by Georgia Blackie and cover design by Alissa Dinallo.

AU$39.99 / NZ$45.00


Posted on March 17, 2020
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A Q&A with plant whisperer Erin Lovell Verinder

Photography by Georgia Blackie

‘Plant medicine is your birth right.’ This is the mantra of Erin Lovell Verinder, a fully qualified and much-loved Western herbalist, nutritionist, energetic healer, mentor and educator. Her first book, Plants for the People, draws on ancient wisdom with a modern approach to medicine. Inviting you to return to the roots, this is the ultimate beginner’s guide to using plants to restore wellbeing. We chatted to Erin about her journey to discovering the healing realms of the plant world and inspiring others to do the same.

Where did your passion for naturopathy, healing and the plant world begin? 

I have felt a deep sense of belonging amongst nature for as long as I can recall. When I think of my childhood, I think of the height of the Eucalyptus trees in the park nearby and the fragrant smells of summer. The plants made an early impression on me.

I was enamoured with all things esoteric and mystical and began studying energetic healing (crystals, reiki, kinesiology, colour therapy, sound healing, breath work) at 16 years old I was not your typical teenager, that’s for sure! Training in the healing realms for many years taught me so much about the spiritual, mental and emotional bodies, and I really yearned to know more about the physical body. This is when I began training in Naturopathic medicine – forking off into deeper studies in Western Herbal Medicine and Nutritional Medicine, graduating with my bachelor’s degree as a Herbalist and Nutritionist. I loved learning about how plants hold an embodied power with a deep affinity for our bodies, and how ultimately nature’s way is the greatest healer.

Tell us a bit about your naturopathic philosophy. For you, what does it mean to be a true naturalist?

To me, being a true naturalist means walking the plant path – there are many ways to do this! I walk this path dedicating my life to working with plant medicine, by choosing to live amongst wild nature and by doing my very best to be a woman in tune with nature in all of her glorious facets.

I guide people to shift their health stories and thrive with the assistance of plant medicine as a gateway to radically awesome health. I have been working within the field of healing for 21 years now, with a strong focus on my clinical practice with clients, bridging the gaps between naturopathic and nutritional medicine, grass roots herbalism, and intuition. Much of my mission is to assist and educate people on the generous healing nature can offer us all, in combination with honouring and listening in to our bodies and beings. This is my holistic approach to health and healing and my naturopathic philosophy.

Photography by Georgia Blackie
Photography by Georgia Blackie

What does a typical day for you look like at home in the Byron hinterland?

I rise with the sun, mornings are slow and soft, and include breakfast at home with my husband around the kitchen table. There is always a meditation, pottering in my herb garden, a beach swim or a bush walk (communion with nature). We work from home, which affords us a lot of freedom and comfort. My days are full of mentoring, clinic, writing, or creating in some way. I make a commitment to take breaks, with a pot of herbal tea under my big pecan tree often. All work is switched off by 5pm, and as the sun sets and the yin of the night ushers in, there is always a nourishing home cooked meal, a sleepy time tea, conversation, candlelight, books, calm music and then in bed by 9pm.

What about a day in the clinic?

The days in my clinic are full and seem to zoom by. I follow my daily rhythms and set my hours with clients and mentoring around this. For me, being in practice for many years has given me a lot of opportunity to refine what works best for me as a clinician and space holder. As much as it is key to activate your intuition when working with people’s health, it is a very heady job that demands a lot of mental focus! I need it to feel paced, with little breaks, nourishing snacks and meals in between, and plenty of time with each client or student to fully be present for them. I keep my mornings chill, and although I sometimes work until late in the evening with clients, I am sure to switch off and give myself space to decompress. For this reason, I keep a lot of supportive foundations in place for myself to be able to do my work with clarity and confidence. It is an incredibly rewarding job to witness people get better and improve their health outcomes with natural interventions and plant medicine support. Truly it never ceases to amaze me that this is the work I get to do and offer.

Plants for the People is the perfect guide for plant medicine aficionados and those who have just started out on their plant path. What would your main piece of advice be for the beginners about to delve into your book?

To start with what resonates, which plant/s jump out to you in the Materia Medica section? Which recipes sound good to you? Start with what you are drawn to the most; the plants and recipes that stand out to you are usually what you may be needing the most.

Photography by Georgia Blackie

Do you have a favourite recipe from the book?

It is very hard to choose one. I do really love the Elderberry elixir recipe, which is super delicious and a great staple to keep in the fridge to support immunity.

What’s next for you?

This year is big, bold and bountiful for me! I will be promoting the book in three counties, travelling, continuing to work with clients and mentoring in my clinic, building my digital offerings and writing more.

Plants for the People is available now. Text by Erin Lovell Verinder, photography by Georgia Blackie and cover design by Alissa Dinallo.

AU$39.99 / NZ$45.00


Posted on March 11, 2020
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Jonathan Drori takes us Around the World in 80 Trees

Trees are one of humanity’s most constant and most varied companions. From India’s sacred banyan tree to the fragrant cedar of Lebanon, they offer us sanctuary and inspiration – not to mention the raw materials for everything from aspirin to maple syrup.

Jonathan Drori’s bestselling book, Around the World in 80 Trees, is now available in paperback. In this extract, we take a closer look at something local, the Jarrah, and then journey to Iran to hear about the origins of the pomegranate.


Jarrah

Eucalyptus marginata, Western Australia

Jarrah

Jarrah: a name that sounds quintessentially Australian. The word comes from the Nyungar language of the continent’s far southwest. In pre-colonial times, there were millions of acres of jarrah forest on the leached soils of what is now called the Darling Plateau. It is a majestic tree, easily 40 metres (130 feet) high and its trunk 2 metres (6 feet) across, with rough, very dark-brown bark. Gloriously fragrant flowers, miniature white starbursts, festoon the tree in clusters of ten or so, attracting bees, which make a distinctively malty, caramel-flavoured honey from its nectar. Jarrah is the linchpin of an important and complex forest ecosystem, home to unspeakably cute marsupials with names to delight any Scrabble player: the numbat, the potoroo, the quoll and the quenda.

Jarrah trees are long-lived – at least 500 years and up to a millennium or more – if they get the chance. British colonists quickly saw the value in the rich red jarrah wood, which was immensely strong and resistant to rot, insects, wind and water. It was eagerly taken up for shipbuilding and harbour pilings. When convicts arrived en masse from 1850, the fl ood of cheap labour meant that jarrah could be exported across the British Empire to feed its insatiable appetite for railway sleepers and other durable infrastructure such as telegraph poles, wharves and even tea sheds. A network of steam-powered sawmills and railways sprang up to extract the timber.

Jarrah

On the other side of the world, Londoners were trying to work out
what to use to pave their roads, which by the 1880s were hectic with horsedrawn traffic. Stone blocks and cobblestones were deployed on substantial sections of main roads, but they were expensive and caused horses to slip and skitter in the city’s frequent rain. Tarmac, known then as macadam, would still need another few decades of development before it was robust enough. Then there was wood. Softwood deal and pine paving from the Baltic had advantages over stone: it was much quieter, more easily swept and kinder to horses’ hooves. But those woods wore and rotted quickly, and would soak up the swill of equine urine and ordure and, under pressure from a heavy wheel, squirt it out at passers-by. Unsurprisingly, then, when jarrah wood was exhibited in 1886 at the Indian and Colonial Exhibition in London and advertised as a durable paving material, there was immediate interest. It turned out to be extraordinarily hardwearing, losing only 3 millimetres (1∕8 inch) a year on busy roads. Lasting decades and blessedly non-porous, it was popular with man and beast alike. By 1897, despite the huge shipping costs and distance, some 30 kilometres (20 miles) of London’s busiest and swankiest streets had been clad in Australian jarrah wood – millions and millions of blocks, mostly laid over concrete. Back in Australia, the huge demand spawned many competing and unregulated jarrah-wood companies. Competitors repeatedly dropped their prices to gain orders, to the point that in 1900 Australian jarrah was being sold in England for less than vastly inferior woods brought from nearby Sweden. It was a lucrative but ludicrously unsustainable business; the forests could never withstand such rapacious exploitation. Despite the rapid forest loss, it wasn’t until the end of World War I that laws were introduced to manage more sensibly the trees that remained. And while asphalt replaced wooden paving blocks soon afterwards, the demand for jarrah timber for construction work never went away.

Aside from a few spectacular protected areas, most of the jarrah forests are gone now, felled for timber or to make way for agriculture and mining. What is left is at risk from global warming and the cascade of complex changes that come with it. The fungus-like organism Phytophthora cinnamomi is causing deadly dieback, and in summer there are increasingly frequent droughts and heatwaves. The original unbridled exploitation of jarrah and the depletion of its fragile ecosystem coincided with the demise of Nyungar culture. The remaining jarrah is again in danger, this time from climate change, to which we all contribute and by which all cultures are threatened.

Jarrah

Pomegranate

Punica granatum, Iran

Pomegranates feature frequently in writings from ancient Egypt and classical Greece, in the Old Testament and Babylonian Talmud, and in the Qur’an. Their abundance of seeds and juice consistently link the fruit to fertility. The ancestors of the cultivated pomegranate grew several thousand years ago in arid, hilly regions between Iran and northern India, and today’s cultivars still prefer hot days and cool nights. Small, many-branched trees of 5–12 metres (16–40 feet), with shiny leaves of deep green, they are long-lived, perhaps to 200 years. Pomegranate flowers are a sight to behold. Distinctive calyxes, protective layers around the base of each flower, form sturdy funnels from which crumpled petals burst exuberantly in lurid shades of scarlet and crimson.

Pomegranate flowers

Pomegranate fruit range in colour from yellow with a blush of pink to burnished rose or even maroon. They have a tough, leathery skin, ensuring the fruit last well after picking; historically, they were a refreshment taken on long journeys. Inside, held within a spongy cream membrane, are hundreds of seeds, each within a juicy sarcotesta (a swollen seed coat), ranging from translucent pink to deep purple. The turgid grains interlock satisfyingly with one another – a triumph of efficient packing – and the juice within each one is delectably sweet, tart and mildly astringent. These are ample compensations for the dry woodiness of the seeds and the dilemma, for some, of whether to spit or swallow.

While fresh pomegranate fruit, juice and cordials are widely available from the western Mediterranean to south Asia, the Iranians have truly embraced pomegranate culture. Specialist stalls stock juice from different cultivars. Mounds of seeds – fresh, dried or frozen – are ready to be sprinkled on top of juice or ice cream, sometimes with a pinch of thyme. In autumn, fresh juice is boiled until it thickens into dark-brown molasses, a key ingredient of khoresht fesenjan, a chicken and walnut stew. And of course, Tehran has the requisite annual pomegranate festival.

Pomegranates have a reputation for health benefits. Traditional uses for diarrhoea, dysentery and intestinal parasites are long established, and the fruit contains antioxidants that are likely to be beneficial; some gung-ho anti-cancer and anti-ageing claims, however, require better evidence. But perhaps we shouldn’t dismiss the psychological benefits of a fruit whose consumption requires our undivided attention.

Pomegranate fruit

Jonathan Drori is a Trustee of The Woodland Trust and The Eden Project, an Ambassador for the WWF and was for nine years a Trustee of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. He is a Fellow of the Linnean Society and the Zoological Society of London, and a Member of the Institution of Engineering and Technology. In 2006 he was made CBE. You can read his full biography here or listen to his TED talks here.

Jonathan Drori

This is an extract from Around the World in 80 Trees. Text by Jonathan Drori and illustrations by Lucille Clerc.

Around the World in 80 Trees paperback edition, published March 2020, by Laurence King Publishing, $24.99, available here.


Posted on March 3, 2020
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The art and musing of Ken Done

Playful, vibrant and bold, Ken Done’s artwork is truly one-of-a-kind. In the Ken Done: Painting Australia series, Ken captures his love of the Australian landscape, from the joyful shout of Sydney and the Aussie Beach to the calm beauty of the Outback and Reef.

Scroll through some selections of Ken’s work below, carefully curated from each book and accompanied by his charming commentary.

Story by Jackie Money

SYDNEY

Sailboats on music sheets
The Wednesday Race I, 1980. Oil crayon and ink on paper. ©Ken Done

“The world-famous musician James Morrison is an old friend. He once released an album of music inspired by a number of my paintings. In one song he gave a musical notation to the way I had placed my drawings of yachts in this work, The Wednesday Race. Who could ask for more?”

– Ken Done

Book cover of Ken Done's Sydney
Cover design: Evi-O.Studio
On the cover: White Opera, yellow sky, 1998. Acrylic on canvas. ©Ken Done

BEACH

Sunbakers at the beach
Sunbakers II, 1995. Acrylic on canvas. ©Ken Done

“This work was one of a number I showed in my first exhibition in Paris. The picture of the sunbaker by the famous Australian photographer Max Dupain is one of our most revered images. I’ve made numerous paintings using the iconic form as a graphic device, always with reverence and respect.”

– Ken Done

Book cover of Ken Done's Beach
Cover design: Evi-O.Studio
On the cover: Balmoral I, 1993. Oil and acrylic on canvas. ©Ken Done

OUTBACK

Ned Kelly in a canyon
Nolan canyon, 2019. Oil on canvas. ©Ken Done

“When I look at the Outback, I often think of Sidney Nolan. One of our most influential artists, I was lucky enough to meet and talk with him a couple of times. For me, he will always be the Kelly figure looking at the landscape.”

– Ken Done

Book cover of Ken Done's Outback
Cover design: Evi-O.Studio
On the cover: Postcard from the Bungle Bungle, 2001. Acrylic on canvas. ©Ken Done

REEF

Sea creatures
Drawings of things in the sea, 1993. Oil, acrylic, oil crayon, pencil and ink on canvas.
©Ken Done

“A jelly and a fish. Then a jellyfish. Lots of things you find in the sea. This painting, now in a big Japanese collection, is fun. Some images are tight, and some I’ve played games with. Being underwater should always be fun.”

– Ken Done

Book cover of Ken Done's Reef
Cover design: Evi-O.Studio
On the cover: Zebra fish, 2013. Oil and acrylic on linen. ©Ken Done


Posted on February 26, 2020
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Shortlist: Cornish Family Prize for Art and Design Publishing

Four of our books have been shortlisted for the coveted Cornish Family Prize for Art and Design Publishing.

Warm congratulations go to the creators, collaborators and contributors of Australia Modern, Step into Paradise, Harry Seidler’s Umbrella and The Light Fades but the Gods Remain.

As part of NGV’s Melbourne Art Book Fair, taking place from 13 – 15 March, this prize is a celebration of art book publishing and supports innovation in the field. We are honoured to have our books shortlisted in such an important initiative.

Read on for a glimpse into these stunning shortlisted books.

AUSTRALIA MODERN

Hannah Lewi and Philip Goad | Book design: Stuart Geddes

The essential text on Australian modernism with rich archival imagery and expert essays on how modernism has shaped Australian society.

The Sydney Opera House under construction, 1974-75. Photograph: Michael Lewi.

Capitol Theatre, Melbourne, VIC, 1921-25. Architect: The Office of Walter Burley Griffin and Peck & Kempter. Photograph: Walter Burley Griffin, 1939. Pictures Collection, State Library of Victoria, H2009.21/73.

STEP INTO PARADISE

Jenny Kee AO and Linda Jackson AO | Book design: Daniel New

The compelling stories of iconic designers Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson, creators of a bold and unashamedly Australian fashion identity.

Jenny and Linda wearing Linda’s Tutti Frutti and Love Letters outfits, cotton, Bondi, 1975. Photograph: Annie Noon, Linda Jackson archive, MAAS Collection.

Models Micki and Gerlindé wearing Jenny’s knitwear, cotton, with handpainted straw hats, Palm Beach, NSW, 1979. Photograph: Linda Jackson, Linda Jackson archive, MAAS collection.

HARRY SEIDLER’S UMBRELLA

Joe Rollo | Book design: Garry Emery

An incisive and personal collection of writings on architecture and design, offering an exciting way of looking at the built world.

Hamer Hall: Melbourne VIC. Photograph: John Gollings

Seidler House: Killara, Sydney, NSW. Photograph: Max Dupain © Penelope Seidler

THE LIGHT FADES BUT THE GODS REMAIN

Bill Henson | Book design: Daniel New

A glimpse into Henson’s brilliant mind as he ponders the passing of time.

Untitled 55 1985–86. Photography: Bill Henson

Untitled 153 1985–86. Photography: Bill Henson. Monash Gallery of Art, City of Monash Collection.


Posted on February 14, 2020
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The other side of the world: An extract from Mirka Mora

A glimpse into Mirka’s first strides in Melbourne after emigrating from Paris, taken from the chapter ‘Movers of the new force’.

Upon arriving in Australia, the Moras found themselves in a house at number 6 Ellindale Avenue, in the suburb of McKinnon, 12 kilometres to the south-east of Melbourne’s CBD. Feeling dislocated and isolated, Georges and Mirka did not like it at all: ‘I couldn’t stand it, it was so dead.’

Mirka had always sewn her own dresses, and made frequent Saturday trips to the city to buy fabric from the fashionable Melbourne department store Georges. On one of these visits the man behind the fabric counter asked her if she was a seamstress. Although this wasn’t really the case, she nevertheless answered ‘Yes’. Impressed by this French ‘dressmaker’, he began to send her clients. Some of the commissions were challenging – a man’s suit, for example. But Mirka had always been resourceful; she waited until her husband was in bed and unpicked his jacket to see how it was made, sewing it back up again afterwards, all done while he was still sleeping. She soon had many customers, making ‘ladies clothes, suits and all. I never said no to anything. I had to work so hard, and I had the two girls to help me’. One of her assistants was Helen Ball, who would later marry the painter Leonard French (1928–2017). Mirka was already taking liberties with convention: she recalls a ‘very beautiful and elderly lady’ for whom she made a raincoat with slit pockets. At the fitting, Mirka realised that she had put one pocket up and one pocket down. But the lady ‘must have seen my shock when I saw that and she said, “Oh, this is so modern and I love it, I love it!”’ and kept it as it was.

Through a woman they met on the plane to Melbourne, the Moras were introduced to Colin Wainwright, a lively character who had many connections in the city. Colin became a friend – and even came to live with them in McKinnon. One day Mirka, tired of the suburban house after a few months living there, told him that she could not stay any longer – she wanted to find a proper studio to live in. Colin found the studio/apartment for her – in the centre of Melbourne, at Grosvenor Chambers, 9 Collins Street. It had a rich history, having been the studio of artists Sir John Campbell Longstaff (1861–1941) – who had once demolished a wall to let in the horse he was painting; Frederick McCubbin (1855–1917); and Arthur Streeton (1867–1943). The situation wasn’t straightforward: the landlord was a tad grumpy, and other people, including the painter Lina Bryans (1909–2000), were also interested in the studio. It took a lot of persuasion (which included suggesting that Mirka was opening a French-style haute couture studio) and Georges’ patience and diligence to convince the old man to rent it to them. In mid-1952 the family moved into 9 Collins Street, where they lived for the next 15 years.

Mirka was visited at the studio by many customers. The most important encounter – for her, for Georges and for Melbourne’s art world – happened via an introduction from the Herald newspaper’s music critic John Sinclair, whom she had met at a party at a customer’s house. (He was notorious for his sharp tongue: ‘Beware of snakes, spiders and Sinclair’ was a common warning given to musicians coming to play in Melbourne.

Sinclair was a friend of John and Sunday Reed. John (1901–81) and his wife Sunday (1905–81) were patrons of modern Australian art and literature, and their house, ‘Heide’, in Bulleen, Victoria, was a hub for avant-garde artists. Sidney Nolan (1917–92), Albert Tucker (1914–99) and Joy Hester (1920–60) lived and worked at Heide for lengthy periods. In 1977, Sunday donated 25 of the 27 paintings in Sidney Nolan’s Kelly series – painted by Nolan at Heide – to the National Gallery of Australia. The Reeds’ house and collection ultimately became the public art museum Heide Museum of Modern Art.

Sinclair recommended the young French seamstress to Sunday Reed, who rang the next day to order a dress. Sunday apparently never wore the dress (an elegantly simple white linen garment), and instead hung it on the wall because it was so beautiful.

The meeting with Sunday Reed was to have a great influence on Mirka’s career and on Melbourne’s art scene for the following decades. It triggered a long-lasting friendship between the Reeds and the Moras, who became instrumental in the revival of the Contemporary Art Society (CAS) and in the creation of the first Museum of Modern Art in Melbourne, in a local environment that was at the time quite bleak for the arts.

Mirka with her ‘Bip’ doll. Photograph by Sabine Cotte.
Mirka with her ‘Bip’ doll. Photograph by Sabine Cotte.

Mirka Mora: A Life Making Art is available to purchase here.


Sabine Cotte is a French-Australian paintings conservator. Trained in Paris and Rome, she worked for French national museums for ten years before moving to Melbourne in 2001. She has led several workshops in the Himalayan region for UNESCO, ICCROM and private NGOs, training local people in conservation and in disaster recovery, and has published articles in professional journals and given talks at conferences. She is an Honorary Fellow of the Grimwade Centre for Cultural Materials Conservation, University of Melbourne, where she is also a casual teacher. Her PhD focused on the materials and techniques of Mirka Mora and led to the writing of this book.


Posted on August 8, 2019
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Meet Natalie King, series editor of the new Mini Monographs

Image (left): Sean Fennessy

Natalie King has a gift when it comes to visual culture, creative collaboration and bringing attention to both new and established artists. We spoke to Natalie – curator, professor and now series editor – about her career path, the inspiration behind our new series Mini Monographs, her goals for the year to come, and more.

Natalie, how did you start out in the art world, and what brought you to curatorship?

My paternal grandmother was a ballerina and we were very close. As a child, I adored going to matinee ballets with her at the Forum Theatre and remember the enchantment when the lights were dimmed and the ceiling glimmered with a trompe l’oeil sky. I was also an avid reader during a tumultuous adolescence and fiction allowed me to go into imaginary realms. I convinced a friend at school to illicitly procure his sister’s copies of books by D.H. Lawrence which I found scintillating.

On reflection, these childhood experiences shaped my pathway into curatorship though there was a temporary detour studying law. After a couple of years at law school, I travelled solo to Florence to study Italian and found myself taking respite in churches with frescoes and wandering through museums. It was like falling in love. Soon after, I changed my course to art history and museum studies at Monash University.

Where did the idea for Mini Monographs come from, and how did the project take shape?

The initial concept for Mini Monographs was formulated by publisher Kirsten Abbott with whom I have a prior relationship having worked with her on Tracey Moffatt: My Horizon for the 57th Venice Biennale 2017. We shaped the concept of Mini Monographs comprising a special selection of images accompanied by an essay from an author from a parallel field, adding an extra frisson.

Conventional monographs often accompany a retrospective exhibition and take a long time to compile, whereas our Mini Monographs celebrate a unique selection of images alongside a captivating essay, paired and in dialogue, compact and accessible. We especially want to celebrate the exceptional practices of women artists and hope that the series will be timeless.

Image from Polixeni Papapetrou: The Visitor, 2012. Images courtesy of the artist, Michael Reid Gallery, Sydney, and Jarvis Dooney Galerie, Berlin. Digitised by Dr Les Walkling.

How did you select Polixeni Papapetrou and Del Kathryn Barton as the first artists for the series?

We believed that both Poli and Del are immensely worthy of being represented in the first tranche of Mini Monographs, inaugurating this new series. It’s an original and unique concept that celebrates Poli’s distinctive photographic ensembles and Del’s sensual portrait paintings.

What do you think defines Polixeni Papapetrou’s work?

Poli was a close comrade and colleague, who sadly passed away one year ago. We worked closely on the sequencing of her images and it is a tribute to her that this was our final project together. She was both feminist and feminine in her approach to all aspects of her life. Previously, I have curated Poli’s photographs into the Dong Gang International Photo Festival in Korea and the TarraWarra Biennial: Whisper in My Mask in 2014, plus I have published various interviews and essays on her work, so we had a strong affinity.

Poli’s work is defined by a highly staged and taut mise-en-scène, choreographed with costumes, sets and props and featuring her children, especially her daughter, Olympia. On the cover, we have selected Heart from the series Eden 2016. Here, Olympia holds a wreath or garland of flowers against a floral backdrop and dress, the patterns merging foreground and background. I think Poli might have been thinking about the Garden of Eden and the afterlife as well as celebrating the cusp of feminine adolescence and adulthood. The maternal gaze is powerful in Poli’s photographs, and her work is about relationships and love, staging and theatricality, landscapes and loneliness.

Images from Del Kathryn Barton: (left) what am I also, 2013. Courtesy of Del Kathryn Barton and Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery, Sydney; (right) i am true about this, 2007. Courtesy of Del Kathryn Barton and Karen Woodbury Gallery. Photos: Jenni Carter. 

And Del Kathryn Barton?

Del works adeptly across painting, drawing, film, textile and sculpture in highly ornate renditions of friends, family and characters often merging with creatures. Having won the coveted Archibald Prize twice, Del has a feminine sensibility, yet there is an uncanny or foreboding quality to her sinewy figures.

We love Joanna Murray-Smith and Sarah Darmody’s personal essays accompanying Polixeni Papapetrou and Del Kathryn Barton respectively. What do you feel each essayist brings to the monograph?

Thank you. I also love the unexpected qualities to Joanna Murray-Smith’s and Sarah Darmody’s writings, which are both deeply personal, reflective and original essays. Joanna’s relationship with Poli invoked a certain intimacy, whereas Sarah’s experience of motherhood and viewing Del’s retrospective at the NGV lends a giddy vividness and velocity to her writing, almost like the frenzy in Del’s paintings.

What was the selection process behind all the breathtaking images in both books?

We worked closely with the artists and, at times, with their gallerists on the sequencing of images so that rhythms unfold. In particular, I worked one year with Poli on the arrangement of visuals: arranging, rearranging and deleting images, almost like a form of choreography. Lesser known images are placed in tandem with more familiar works to take the reader on a visual journey.

Image from Polixeni Papapetrou: Study for Hattah Man and Hattah Woman, 2013. Images courtesy of the artist and Michael Reid Gallery. Sydney, and Jarvis Dooney Galerie, Berlin. Digitised by Dr Les Walkling.

What have you enjoyed most about the process of bringing the series to life?

I am really proud of the series and have relished the process of working with Thames & Hudson, especially the visionary Kirsten Abbott and the artists whom I admire immensely.

In 2018, you were a finalist in the AFR 100 Women of Influence. How do you hope to use this influence in 2019?

It was an honour to be a finalist in the AFR 100 Women of Influence. I try to advocate and support other women to ascend and flourish. I am part of Mentor Walks whereby senior female professionals meet monthly for a walk and talk at dawn with emerging leaders to discuss their burning issues and concerns.

I hope I can show other women that together we can build inspired, collaborative working environments that can lead to transformation in our fields and beyond. We must remember that we aren’t aspiring to the existing paradigm of leadership but are making a new one. And, we have an obligation to steward our creative resources for the betterment of a faltering society. 

Image: Alli Oughtred

Natalie King is a curator and writer working in Melbourne. She is currently Enterprise Professor at the Victorian College of the Arts, and was named in The Australian Financial Review 100 Women of Influence awards for Arts, Culture and Sport in October 2018. Natalie was also Chief Curator at Melbourne Biennial Lab, Creative Associate of MPavilion and Curator of Tracey Moffatt: My Horizon at the 57th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennale 2017, as well as the editor for Tracey Moffatt: My Horizon.


Posted on June 6, 2019
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Unlock the potential of shared spaces with Shared Living.

A very special Q&A with the author as well as your chance to win.

Shared Living: Interior Design for Rented and Shared Spaces features 21 shared homes around the world that are getting it right. Inspirational rather than aspirational, these homes are the work of creative thinkers who focus on savvy ways of decorating eclectically rather than with big ticket items. A weatherboard cottage in Sydney boasts a ready-made gallery with an enviable swapped-art collection; an apartment in Berlin exudes bohemian luxury through a combination of vintage finds and exotic curios; a Tokyo share house reveals a bedroom art installation; and a small London apartment merges bold colours with clusters of collectables to achieve domestic harmony.

With the reality of share houses becoming a long term option for the new generation of adults, Emily is working to reverse the bad rap that share houses have traditionally received. We spoke to Emily about her passion for designing spaces and her inspiration for Shared Living.

Read on for our very special interview with Emily, and scroll down for your chance to win a stack of books for your share house!

Q: Emily, what made you decide to create a book about interior design for shared spaces?

I had been writing about multi-million-dollar homes (as a writer for realestate.com.au) where boujee couples were able to spend thousands of dollars on their décor and I just couldn’t relate to what I was writing about. I thought to myself ‘hey, I love design and I have friends who love design, why should we be discounted in the design world just because we share a house and have a limited budget?’

Emily Hutchinson (left) with her housemates Maddy Dixon and Felicity Burke.

Q: Where did your passion for designing spaces come from?

I grew up with a mum who had a passion for interior design, but preferred to keep her colour palette beige. I think from growing up in this more pared back environment, I rebelled and opted for a style that showed off colours, collectables and creativity.

As soon as I was in my first share house at 21, I started to gain more confidence in my style. I would get a rush from finding something unique at a garage sale, or bringing home a new plant baby for my window sill. Looking around after a long day and enjoying the objects I had carefully selected for my space sparked joy and it still does to this day.

Q: How did this project take shape, and how long did it take you to compile all of these contributions?

The book took about a year to get all the photo shoots and words completed. I wasn’t just getting interviews back from one person, most of the time it was waiting for all of the housemates to come back to me with their responses to my questions because it was so important to have each of their voices in the story.

I hope they can all look back on it one day and fondly say ‘I remember that share house! What a time!’

Q: Did you come out the other side with any new revelations about shared living?

Yes, absolutely. I really appreciate my own housemates’ design choices much more than I did before. I often look at the things they bring home now, which might not be something I would have chosen, but it just works in our space and reinforces the fact that shared living is about being open with your housemates’ styles and willing to try something new. I think my own style has evolved because of this.

Q: Do you have a favourite household in the book?

They are all very special, but there is a historical apartment in the heart of Berlin which I wanted to move straight into. It’s lived in by a furniture designer, so the home is filled with unique creations and the other housemate buys and sells vintage clothes.

Hello dream living situation!


GIVEAWAY: WIN A STACK OF COFFEE TABLE BOOKS FOR YOUR SHARE HOUSE

To celebrate the release of the book, we are giving away $300 worth of coffee table books (of your choice) for your own share house. All you have to do is fill out the form below and tell us, in 25 words or less, what is your favourite share house story?

Competition ends 8pm Thursday 4th April. Winners announced and notified Friday 5th April.



Posted on March 27, 2019
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Celebrating the life of fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld

The one-man fashion phenomenon has passed away, aged 85

When Karl Lagerfeld took the helm of Chanel in 1983, he set out to radically shake up and update its image – not only through bold collections but also by choosing to photograph the fashion house’s campaigns himself, a move that was unprecedented for a fashion designer at the time.

Chanel: The Karl Lagerfeld Campaigns

Though Lagerfeld began his career with designer Pierre Balmain before moving onto Patou, Chloe and then Fendi, it was his pioneering and irreverent work with Chanel that catapulted him to Rockstar status and cemented him as a beacon of inspiration to those in the global fashion community.

An undeniable modern master of couture, Karl was also famously outspoken. His pronouncements on fashion, women, art, politics, love and life, have been seized upon by fashionistas, acolytes and sages around the world. Cultivated, unpredictable, provocative, sometimes shocking – Lagerfeld’s ‘bon mots’ were as impossible to ignore as the man himself.

The World According to Karl: The Wit and Wisdom of Karl Lagerfeld

In celebration of Karl Lagerfeld’s life and achievements we are pleased to present a selection of titles by and about the fashion icon.


Posted on February 20, 2019
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A Q&A with Kim Walvisch, author of The Burbs

We spoke to Kim Walvisch about her new book, The Burbs: A Visual Journey Through the Australian Suburbs 

How did you start as a photographer, and what was your inspiration to create the @sublurb Instagram account?

My daughter was an atrocious sleeper and the best way to get her to nap was to go on long walks around the local streets. Sometimes I’d walk for hours and, to keep myself occupied, I started taking photos of things that caught my eye – weird gardens, unusual chimneys, unique fences, peculiar letterboxes and other odd suburban details. I decided to start sharing those photos on Instagram to my account @sublurb and, after a number of years, I built up quite a loyal following of people also interested in suburban curiosities. Whenever I left the house to push Peggy in her pram, I’d also take my camera. I started travelling to suburbs all over Melbourne and photography became a serious passion. I decided to create an archive of what the Australian suburbs looked like before there was so much architectural development. I was keen to capture old-school suburbia before it vanished.

Who are your favourite photographers?

I’m a huge fan of American photographer William Eggleston and his use of colour. I’m crazy about Stephen Shore and his shots of banal scenes across the States: lots of old cars, parking lots, storefronts and that kind of thing. Joel Sternfeld takes photos in a similar vein, same with Fred Herzog. I’m basically a huge fan of colour photography of mundane or ordinary subject matter and the places we live.

What draws you to photographing homes?

A few things. I definitely appreciate certain styles of architecture, such as art deco and mid-century modernism, so I’m attracted to houses that reflect those eras. I also like unusual architectural detail that might appear on simpler postwar houses – ornate chimneys, stair railings, fancy brickwork – special touches that would have been made by brickies and other thoughtful tradesmen. I feel like a lot of housing today just doesn’t reflect the same level of technical skill, so I’m always on the lookout for those stand-out details. I’ve seen a house where the chimney is shaped like a large jug. Apparently, the owner was a wine connoisseur and had this detail built in especially. I love that kind of thing. Sometimes the ‘plain Jane’ houses have very special touches.

What is it that draws you to the buildings you photograph?

I’m looking for buildings with personality. I like imperfection, dilapidation, obvious signs of ageing. I like to capture buildings that might imminently disappear. I’m also a huge fan of symmetry, so I love houses that have symmetrical gardens or old matching chairs on the porch. Peculiar buildings intrigue me too. I’m looking for homes, buildings or gardens that convey the occupant’s eccentricities.

What was the biggest challenge you faced in creating The ’Burbs?

Deciding what pictures to include! I literally had thousands of shots, so it was really hard narrowing it down to a number that could be featured in the book.

How long did the project take?

I’ve been accumulating photos for about seven years now and was always hopeful a book project would arise. Thankfully, Thames & Hudson gave me the opportunity to share my shots with a larger audience.

This is your first book. What have you most enjoyed about the process of creating it?

I’ve found the whole process pretty fascinating. My first ever job was in a bookshop and I’ve always had a bit of a dream of creating my own book. I had no idea the publishing world moved so slowly, so it’s definitely been an exercise in patience! I enjoyed working alongside the designer and seeing the pages come to life. The most exciting moment was going into the Thames & Hudson offices and flicking through the advance copy. It was like holding a baby for the first time!

Kim Walvisch has been steadfastly documenting Melbourne suburbia for the past five years. Her Instagram account @sublurb now has more than 13k followers. She has taken photos in more than 100 suburbs and created a nostalgic archive of how things looked before the takeover of development. 


Posted on December 12, 2018
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Bohemian Living: An interview with the author

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‘Everyone lives in a bubble, so why not make it a beautiful bubble.’ – Gavin Brown
An interview with the creator of Bohemian Living

 

 

Bohemian Living by acclaimed Australian photographer and writer Robyn Lea features the homes of 20 accomplished creatives from Australia, Europe and the USA and celebrates what it’s like to live a uniquely creative life. In each artist’s profile, Robyn explores their often unusual childhoods and often unorthodox adult worlds, asking what does it mean to be bohemian in the modern world.  

We spoke to author Robyn Lea and her editor Kirsten Abbott about this visually stunning and thought-provoking new book.





Robyn, firstly, congratulations on this, your new book. It is stunning to behold and the stories behind your pictures are a delight. They are insightful, curious and sometimes sad – providing such texture to the artists’ homes and deep insights into their styles. This is a book that feels very personal to read. How did the project take shape for you?

When Kirsten Abbott from Thames & Hudson Australia called me to discuss this concept, I was immediately attracted to the idea. I’ve always loved writing about art. When I studied at RMIT, I did some journalism subjects and I’ve always had a deep interest in understanding why people are who they are. This book really allowed me to explore that question and feed my curiosity. More than any other book I’ve done, I think this book has a broad appeal. The diversity of the artists, their interests and their backgrounds will speak to many different people.

I know you as an acclaimed photographer; I think everyone who reads this book will agree that you are a beautiful writer too. You clearly love words as much as you do pictures. How did you start writing and what do you enjoying reading?

I started writing regularly when my husband and I moved to the US with our children in 2011. The country was just beginning to regain a little confidence after the global financial crisis, but local agents weren’t putting on new photographers, and photographers were not getting as much work. So it was quite a hard time to be there. In an effort to stay sane and feed myself creatively, I called interesting people in New York and asked them if I could interview and photograph them. Surprisingly, given I did not have a writing CV, most of them said yes. I then found a magazine that printed my stories. Each time I created a new feature, the process got a little easier and over time my confidence in interviewing and writing began to grow.

In regard to books I enjoy, well, I certainly love art and design books. Two of my favourite books, which I purchased in the 90s,are The English Archive of Design and Decoration and The French Archive of Design and Decoration, both published by Thames & Hudson. I also love biographies and autobiographies and prefer those written about women. Favourites include Personal History by Katharine Graham and Indira: The Life of Indira Nehru Gandhi by Katherine Frank.



What prompted the idea of the book initially?

Kirsten: I am quite a maximalist and I wanted to see a book that celebrated maximalist, eccentric interiors with real people and the way they create a space with meaning.

How did you select your list of people to interview and photograph?

Robyn: It started out as a very long list of artists whose work I felt drawn to. I took the list to Kirsten and we narrowed it down together. Then I would dive into some more research on each person – looking deeper into their work, their lives and how they viewed the world. Logistics, of course, also played a par tin the final selection – how many weeks I would be in a country, for example,and who was available at that time. As I got into it, I also found that one interview led to another, that the artists would recommend others in their networks, or people they admired.

Your eyes light up when you talk about research, Robyn!

Yes, I do love research, it stimulates the grey matter and forces you to consider things from other perspectives. Trying to understand someone’s point of view when it’s different to your own experience can be fascinating and it can even be transformative. This project did that for me and I hope it will for others too. .

Were there any themes that emerged during this project?

Robyn:  Ah, yes, as I wrote in my introduction, I’ve always thought of my camera as a magic key, a key to adventure and key to connecting with people. What was interesting was that the motif of the key also came up in the work of a few artists I interviewed and that they also felt drawn to a symbol of a key, a key that connected them to different worlds.

What was the was the most challenging part of this project?

Robyn:What was surprising, and what emerged as a major theme, was how much significance there was behind the interiors: that these homes really weren’t designed for the approval of others, or to be sold, but as a personal extension of self and artistry – like living visual diaries. As I started to understand this, I realised that the artists’ homes told me so much about their dreams, their troubles, their hopes, their heritage and their families.

Artist Gavin Brown said to me: ‘Everyone lives in a bubble, so why not make it a beautiful bubble.’ This really resonated with my experience on this project, as one of the most attractive themes I experienced was a shared sense of joy. Modern life is busy and domestic life can really weigh you down; it can be very monotonous and mundane. I found a lot of the artists worked to maintain the joy in their homes and their lives.

What was the most challenging part of this project?

Robyn: Well, for me it was writing the first paragraph of the introduction! I drafted it a number of times, but it just never seemed right. It was only after I saw the final book cover design by Daniel New, with the concept of the key, that everything clicked, or should I say unlocked. I’ve always thought of my camera as a magic key – a key to adventure and key to connecting with people. It made perfect sense to open the introduction with that concept. What was interesting was that the key motif also appeared in the work of several of the artists, including Annabelle Adie and Barnaba Fornasetti.

Page Stevenson

After interviewing so many fascinating people, what tips, or insights do you have for others who would like to emulate bohemian style?

Robyn: That is good question, as all of the artists were truly unique, but if I had to outline some commonalities I would say:

  • Follow your heart, not trends
  • Celebrate colour
  • Collect on your travels
  • Showcase your obsessions
  • Decorate with passion and personal meaning

Bohemian Living is available now and features the lives and times of artists including Barnaba Fornasetti, Joshua Yeldham, Simone Bendix, Helene Schjerbeck, Greg Irvine, Gavin Brown, Peter Curnow, Claire Guiral and many more.

More about Robyn Lea

Robyn Lea is an acclaimed photographer, writer and director whose work has been published in Elle Décor UK, The New York Times, Vogue, Architectural Digest, Wall Street Journal and The New Yorker Magazine amongst many others. She is the bestselling author of Dinner with Jackson Pollock: Recipes, Art and Nature and Dinner with Georgia O’Keefe: Recipes, Art and Landscapewww.robynleaphotography.com

Robyn Lea and Kirsten Abbott

Posted on November 21, 2018
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For the love of gardening: a Q&A with Simon Griffiths

To celebrate the publication this week of the stunning Garden Love, we caught up with photographer, gardener, dog lover and bestselling author Simon Griffiths, to discover a little more about his fabulous new book, his approach to photography, how he got started and, of course, dogs, plants and country gardens.

How did you first start as a photographer, and what was your earliest inspiration?

I got my first camera when I was about 5 years old – a funny plastic ‘Diana’ camera, but it used real film, and I was hooked. At school I was good at art and science, and I suppose that’s why I was drawn to photography, as it’s that creative mix of both. After high school, I went to study photography at RMIT, which is still probably considered one of the best photography courses in the world.

Who are your favourite photographers?

I love Eugène Atget, a French 19th-century photographer, who was one of the first people to photograph gardens. His work documented French streetscapes and gardens around Paris, and also the French people. His body of work is still amazing all these years later. He had special times of the year when he would shoot gardens, such as when the buds were just about to burst in spring, which he said made the trees glow. He created stunning images, all on an early plate camera.

Jardin [du] Luxembourg (Luxembourg Gardens); Eugène Atget, French, 1857 – 1927; Paris, France, Europe; 1902 – 1903; Albumen silver print; Image: 17.5 x 22.1 cm (6 7/8 x 8 11/16 in.); 90.XM.64.54
Eugène Atget [No restrictions or Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

John Dugdale is another photographer whose work inspires me. His beautiful still lifes and portraits are shot on a plate camera and printed using early photographic techniques. They have a quiet, fragile beauty to them, which is different to the clinical properties of digital photography.

How many books have you been involved in, and do you feel that the process has changed at all?

I have worked on over 70 books now. They really are a passion of mine and I have been lucky enough to travel all over the world shooting for different authors and publishers. Garden Love is the fourth book I have both written and photographed.

The process has changed a lot over the years. I used to shoot on film and it was always stressful to be travelling with 400 or 500 rolls of film and going through x-ray machines, worrying the film would be damaged. Digital is fantastic and has helped free up the creative process for me: I can shoot as many images as I want as there is no film budget now for books. When I started, the books I worked on had a limited number of colour photographs, with many still printed in black and white, as printing in colour was much more expensive. Now there seems to be no limitation to the number of photographs a book can contain.

What draws you to photographing plants and gardens?

I’m a gardener at heart, so I approach shooting gardens from that perspective. I’m interested in plants, in how they grow and in documenting that. You can learn something from every garden you visit. It might be a colour combination or a plant you have never seen before, or it might be the way a gardener has grown a plant, pruned or shaped it. If you lived for 1,000 years, you would still not learn everything about gardening and that’s what fascinates me. And when I’m not photographing gardens, I’m gardening at home.

What is your favourite part of your own garden?

I love the topiary in our garden – the Buxus (English box) shapes I have been clipping for 10 years now, which act like punctuation marks in the garden in the same way that full stops or exclamation marks complete a sentence. The topiary gets clipped twice a year and helps give the garden structure. I actually think I might add some more as it’s very effective.

Was there anything uniquely Australian that connected all of the gardens in the book?

Yes – all the incredible stories the garden owners had about snakes and other garden critters. One gardener, who thought she had picked up the garden hose, had actually picked up a snake. And nearly all the garden owners had stories like it. Gardening in Australia is a difficult process – we have a climate of extremes, and lengthy periods of drought – and you could only be in Australia with all those snake stories.

What inspired you to feature the dogs (and other animals in your new book)?

The dogs and cats or other animals we choose to surround ourselves with become part of our gardens, bringing them to life – they are as much a part of the garden as the plants themselves. I have two whippets and our garden wouldn’t be the same without them. Animals bring life and warmth to a garden.

If there was one garden from Garden Love that you would like as your own, which one would it be?

I have to say probably ‘Foss’. It’s a really magical place, and you always feel great whenever you wander around the garden there. It’s six parts magic, four parts garden. Last time I was there, the Manchurian pear trees were in flower, and it was incredible. The blossom was so thick on the trees, it was like walking through a large white fluffy cloud.

Plants, Dogs and Country Gardens … what else do you need to add to the list, for complete happiness?

A cottage and books, then life would be perfect.

Garden Love, priced $59.99, is available now in all your favourite book shops across Australia.


Posted on September 27, 2018
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John Russell and Vincent Van Gogh

John Russell was a close friend of Vincent van Gogh and Auguste Rodin, taught impressionist colour theory to Henri Matisse and dined with Claude Monet.  Watch this fascinating short video to learn a little more about the particular bond he shared with Van Gogh.

John Russell: Australia’s French Impressionist has been published by the Art Gallery of NSW to accompany the exhibition of the same name which runs until November. 

Bringing together 120 paintings, drawings and watercolours – including a number of works by his contemporaries – this major retrospective is the first survey of Russell’s work in 40 years. It offers fresh perspectives on French impressionism, reintroducing Russell’s extraordinary painting to today’s audiences.

John Russell: Australia’s French Impressionist by Wayne Tunnicliffe

Posted on September 21, 2018
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Wild Land, a journey into the Earth’s last wilds

Four years in the making, this is one of the most ambitious travel stories of our time.

Wild Land is an epic and unprecedented portrait of some of the most untouched parts of our planet, and a timely message highlighting the urgent need for them to be preserved for the future of the planet, and a future on which humankind’s very survival is dependent.

The video below shares the story of the inspiration behind Peter and Beverly Pickford’s quest to find the last remaining wild lands on each continent, as well as some of the stunning images they created on their journey.

Wild Land by Peter and Beverly Pickford

Posted on September 14, 2018
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The beautiful Southern Highlands of New South Wales

Author Jaqui Cameron on the unique appeal of the Southern Highlands of NSW, and its community.

I am not a horticulturist. At this point in my life I am barely even a gardener, but I grew up with a large country garden and understand the dedication such a space demands. Having lived on a farm in the Southern Highlands with my young family for nearly a decade, growing and selling trees, I have come to know the dedication and passion of garden owners in this area. I also know that every garden comes with a tale as unique as its design and I’m incredibly inquisitive – some would say nosy! I love writing, I love a good story and I have always loved a great romance.

Over the years I have learnt that the Southern Highlands is an area with a gardening history as rich and deep as the local soil. Well known for its beauty, it has long attracted garden enthusiasts because the climate provides the opportunity to celebrate the beauty of a garden across the four distinct seasons. What is not so well known is the extraordinary variety of gardens that exist across the region, nor that it can deliver four seasons in a single day, with a clear summer morning quickly transformed by a thick wintry mist rolling in.

I have spent countless happy days driving along the quiet village streets and country laneways of the Southern Highlands, looking over gates and hedges, desperately trying to get a glimpse of whatever hidden gem might lie beyond.

I have met a wonderfully eclectic community of gardener owners, garden specialists and artists, and I have been lucky enough to visit some of the most breathtaking landscapes. I have found the beauty and the very personal love affairs people have with their gardens inspiring and delightful, and with each new discovery the idea to create a book telling the stories behind Southern Highlands properties began to grow. I wanted to uncover hidden, previously unseen gardens and explore the passions of the owners who had dreamt and worked hard to create their own private oases. My challenge was to find these private gardens and convince their owners to allow me to share their stories.

That’s where the strength and generosity of the local community came to the fore. It quickly became evident to me that there is no ego in a garden. At each site I visited, the owner would recommend another garden they considered to be an equal, if not grander, triumph with its own amazing story.

This serendipity led me to the wonderful characters, beautiful gardens and amazing stories that fill this book. I was overwhelmed with suggestions and never disappointed.

Beyond the Garden Gate, by Jaqui Cameron 

You never can tell what lies beyond the garden gate.

Text © Jaqui Cameron, Photography © Sue Stubbs


Posted on September 7, 2018
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The First Colour – an extract from Chromatopia by David Coles

In this extract from his new bestselling book Chromatopia, author and master paint maker David Coles looks at the origin of ochre – believed to be the first pigment used to create human artworks.

The oldest human artworks still in existence are vivid depictions of animals, humans and spirits that were created using ochres. There is evidence of their use as far back as 250,000 years ago. Ancient ochre artworks are found all over the world, from the earliest cultures of India and Australia to the famous cave paintings of Lascaux in France.

Naturally occurring iron-containing ochres of the earth provide a wide range of yellow, red and brown colours.

The natural mineral could be collected or dug-up and then simply ground against a harder rock and water added to make fluid. Later civilisations refined this process to include washing the ochre of impurities, drying and then grinding to a fine powder. 

Yellow ochres are an impure form of iron oxide called limonite. They can also be roasted to produce other hues

by placing on a fire or in an oven. A moderate heat turns the yellow to orange; stronger heat makes the colour turn red. These roasted red ochres are often called ‘burnt’ (for example, burnt sienna). Naturally occurring red ochres are richer in anhydrous iron oxide called haematite. They also vary widely in shade, hue and transparency.

There are many earth pigments whose specific colour comes from natural mineral admixtures. The pigments known as ‘umber’ contain iron plus manganese oxide that lends a greenish hue. Iron-oxide-free earths are not strictly ochres, but it is important to include them here as their use alongside the true ochres is significant throughout history; white earths from pipe-clay, black earths of manganese and the light green pigment terre-verte (green earth) from mineral celadonite.

Text © David Coles from CHROMATOPIA, published by Thames & Hudson.

Photographs © Adrian Lander

Chromatopia by David Coles is out now.  AU$49.99

Posted on September 7, 2018
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Botanical Treasures from Cook’s First Voyage

This is the first full-colour publication of some of the most extraordinary botanical prints of the 18th century. Banks’ Florilegium is not only a great scientific record, but also a major achievement of collaborative Enlightenment art, and a work of botanical illustration of outstanding beauty.

Joseph Banks accompanied James Cook on his first voyage around the world between 1768 and 1771. A gifted and wealthy young naturalist, Banks collected exotic flora from Madeira, Brazil, Tierra del Fuego, the South Pacific, New Zealand, Australia and Java, bringing back over 1,300 species hitherto unknown to science.

On his return, Banks commissioned over 700 superlative engravings as a scientific record. Known collectively as Banks’ Florilegium, they are some of the most precise and exquisite examples of botanical illustration ever made – yet they were never published in Banks’ lifetime.

The present selection has been made from a unique limited colour edition of the prints, with expert botanical commentaries provided by Professor David Mabberley. Mel Gooding describes the Endeavour voyage and the making of the Florilegium. An afterword by Joe Studholme outlines the history of the modern printing.

Mel Gooding is an art historian, writer and curator. He has taught at Edinburgh and Wimbledon Schools of Art, among others, and contributes regularly to the art press.

Professor David Mabberley has served as Executive Director of the Royal Botanic Gardens and Domain Trust in Sydney. He is an Emeritus Fellow at Wadham College, Oxford, Adjunct Professor at Macquarie University, Sydney, and Professor Extraordinary at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands.

Joe Studholme co-founded Editions Alecto and undertook the printing of Banks’ Florilegium from the original copper plates between 1980 and 1990.

‘Splendid … much to enjoy for the general reader’
Apollo

‘A stunning piece of history, art and botany in one’
The Field

‘This magnificent modern compilation is quite breathtaking in its beauty and detail’
This England

‘Beautifully crafted and lovingly presented … a joy to behold’
The Garden, Royal Horticultural Society’s magazine

 

 

Contents List

The Making of Banks’ Florilegium I: The voyage of Endeavour, Mel Gooding • The Plates, David Mabberley • The Making of Banks’ Florilegium II: The Florilegium, 1772–1990, Mel Gooding • The Modern Printing of the Florilegium, Joe Studholme

 

Specifications

Format:Hardback with tipped on colour plate to front board (without jacket)

Size:35.5 x 26.5 cm

Extent:320 pp

Illustrations:181

Publication date:19 October 2017

ISBN:9780500519363


Posted on July 16, 2018
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An Interview With Author Yuval Zommer

The internationally renowned children’s author discusses exploring the ocean in his latest work ‘The Big Book of the Blue’.

“I try to connect with my inner child: that eager curiosity about the world around us,” explains author Yuval Zommer. Having applied that winning process to bugs and beasts, his latest creation is The Big Book of the Blue – supplying readers with illustrated fun facts about everything from whales and dolphins to jellyfish and sea turtles.

The non-fiction book process is a lengthy one, notes Zommer. “It’s double or more the pages of a normal picture book, and you’re packing in lots of information. Details are very important to me, like the patterns, textures, structures and just sheer beauty. Nature is an unparalleled artist. Even the tiniest creature is amazing when you look at it closely – which is what children do.” There’s a lovely literal example of that in the book, as Zommer gets up close with krill through a magnifying glass.

“Children appreciate anatomically correct depictions,” notes Zommer. “When I draw, I try to understand the creature’s shape, movement and colour palette, then add in the detail. I always think: ‘What is its essence?’” He worked with sea life expert Barbara Taylor to ensure that “everything is factually robust, as well as asking what would be fun to discover – those quirks and surprises.”

From interacting with fans of his books on social media and at events, Zommer knows they’re adopted by a wide age range, so he takes care to include elements for everyone: from striking visuals for non-readers through to fascinating facts for those who are knowledgeable about the topic. Appropriate analogies help readers connect (such as comparing sea turtles’ sight to swimming goggles), and there’s plenty of wit to make parents smile.

One striking aspect of his work is the way that he overlays text and pictures. “My pet hate is books with one page that’s just an image and another that’s a big chunk of text. That’s a disconnect. Reading is about travelling through the story. It also works well for repeated reading, as you come back and discover something new, or can easily find your favourite page.”

Zommer’s personal favourites include the jellyfish page, which is backed by black so we can see the jellyfish glow and get a sense of their transparency, as well as the evocative night-time krill page and that depicting the duality of penguins: gangly on land and “almost balletic” in their grace underwater. But he’s delighted with the book’s overall variety, reflected too in its form: “It’s good to have a mix of portrait and landscape pages in a large format like this, so readers can twist the book or read it upside down. It adds another dimension to the experience.”

On a more serious note, there’s a section on threats to marine life – from oil spills and overfishing to global warming and plastic. “It’s something I thought about from the start. Even as a child, I was interested in ecology and wanting to protect the planet,” recalls Zommer. “It’s something kids really connect with, and they want to know how they can help.” An illustration of a whale whose belly is packed with plastic waste is a potent image for readers of any age.

Zommer is thrilled that his books have been translated into different languages and travelled everywhere from Europe to China, America and Russia. “The books travel more than I do! Once a book exists, it has its own life – you never know where it will go or who will read it. I love seeing kids getting into reading, and it really shows that children worldwide are fascinated by nature; its appeal is universal. That gives me great joy.”

Interview conducted by Marianka Swain @ The Arts Desk.


Posted on June 14, 2018