'The beautiful is in nature, and it is encountered under the most diverse forms of reality. Once it is found it belongs to art, or rather to the artist who discovers it.' Gustave Courbet
[spring is for picking dandilions after the rain]



Can't you smell it in the air...spring around the corner! Spring is all about taking a deep breath and catching jasmine on the breeze, spinning about in the fresh air and receiving the sun's kisses, dipping toes (or all of you if you are a child!) into still-icy water and squealing with delight! Mostly, just remembering to smile and enjoy...
We are working on capturing some of the wonder + delight of this magical season in our holiday art workshops and will be posting here in the coming days of colour pallette's and inspiration...

More information on times and other special details are just being finalised but I thought I would let you know in as much time as possible that we are taking bookings for these classes NOW! Please email me at to register your interest.
Can't wait to see you there!

I'm in love with triangles + tessellations

hmmm, maths + art...
who knew I could become addicted!
For those children who are mathematically minded, spatially aware and love puzzles - tessellations are for them! There are so many great printables online that children can design their own patterns and learn colour theory + design principles at the same time.
I played with the triangle this weekend in other ways and love the modern installation I will use in our art class tomorrow at Riverbend! This 'mini bunting' is a great way to use up fabric scraps and so easy for the children to make with only one stitch to hold!
Half the fun of an art class is the 'theatre' that comes together to inspire the children - from great literature + great artists to natural materials and creative installations!
I hope the children enjoy the classes as much as I love putting them together!

cubes cubes cubes!

My, this week has flown by...running two different classes and designing exciting new SPRING holiday workshops, I have tumbled in to this weekend almost forgetting to post our painting adventures leading up to this week's Riverbend art+books workshop.!
I am so looking forward to this workshop as we wander our way through a beautiful book, 'Why I love Australia', noticing the stunning artwork and being inspired by the poetic prose. We will discuss the art of pattern, in particular tesillations and geometric pattern.
My second child LOVED this project, being very particular and precise, she rose to the challenge of selecting complimentary and neutral colours and designing a pattern using a grid of triangles! The project requires concentration and some fine brushwork, but I think the results are STUNNING! A very modern, abstract work of art on a lovely wooden substrate!

a journey through tonal collage

'oh..what a dreamy setting for creating...but where is the pink paper + sparkles?'...

As the children sketched and chatted about their favourite insect during Monday's first workshop at Riverbend books + teahouse, they realised that they needed to use a balance of different materials, in the same warm natural tone, to create interest in their collage. A few were stumped, they encouraged one another and regailed with tales of their own insect adventures...and the following work in progress and beaming smiles is evidence to me of creativity blossoming!...

I hope to collect a few more photos of finished work - sadly I missed my opportunity at the end to snap some and several went home with extra materials to add the finishing touches! [Photo's of my wonderful students shown here are used with permission]

material delight

Oh there is something about a wild windy, rainy day and being tucked inside creating!!
There are some days when I love my job to bits!
The smell of weathered leather
The precision of cutting and punching holes
The satisfaction of gathering...especially in newly made vessels!
The delight of a little voice on the bench beside me singing 'miss polly had a dolly who was sick, sick, sick....' while thrusting a toy stethoscope into said dolly's tummy!
I think I will lay these out for a little after-school test-making
ready to be stamped with unique designs, just as we will do in the Gallery Cafe stamping series commencing this Thursday afternoon...
this week we will begin with inspiration from great artists who have used linocut technique in their art, we will sketch and plan our designs...ready for our coming weeks when we carve + create...and finally stamp some beautiful leathergoods + stationery with our very own designs!
Such satisfaction in gathering...such anticipation of wonderful making!

gathering * part IV cubes

Here on the eve of commencing our Riverbend afternoon classes.....

Oh some wonderful Geometric Goodness!
Sanding smooth beautiful timber cubes, in readiness for painterly designs all inspired by geometry in art!
In our Riverbend books+art Workshop 2 - I have had to make a change and bring this class forward to next week as I had mis-calculated Fathers Day!!, we will explore the world of colour theory, learning of complimentary and contrasting colours...planning our designs in coloured pencil on paper, before transfering to our cubes with arcylics.
We will be inspired by the poetic prose and beautiful artwork of Bancroft's 'Why I love Australia' and discuss great 'Cubist' artworks and other abstract works.
These beautiful 3D works of art will make a lovely paper weight for Dad for Fathers Day!

[Thornton Willis's triangular composition, 'Alien' (2005)]


'Sometimes I have believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast!' Lewis Carroll

gathering * part III insect detective

With inspiration from the world of insects, collage works from the Great Henri Matisse and Eric Carle, a gathering of materials from timber+veneer+leather+fabric, a wonderfully tactile experience is coming together for our first class at Riverbend on Monday afternoon!

:: inspiration

:: layout - my children play

:: lots of glue...

:: waiting to dry!

weekend wandering

Weekends are for:

colour+chaos - dolls on a stick
tastes+sugar - strawberry icecream, fairy floss
dagwood dogs with tomato sauce
oh the smells - up close with the animals
riding the waves - crowds, crowds, crowds
the Ekka...


'The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.'
Marcel Proust

Riverbend classes * short description

We have had a wonderful influx if enquiry regarding the RIVERBEND BOOKS + TEAHOUSE classes - thank you for visiting here, welcome!
I apologise if you have had trouble determining the cost of classes, I have added a note at the top of the website, please email to take advantage of some great discounts! There is a chance these classes will book up today so hurry and book now!

Some who have recieved emails from me today will have a brief outline of the Riverbend workshops...I thought it would be useful to post a brief description here!
The 'gathering' series of posts will detail some of the wonderful materials + inspiration we will be using in our classes!

WORKSHOP 1: 'the insect detective'. Exploring the wonderful title by Steve Voake, we will design and create a textural+tonal collage using timber veneer in the style of Eric Carle!

WORKSHOP 2: 'owl moon'. A classic title wandering into the world of night time wildlife, we will make a tactile fabric owl family to hang in a beautiful garland!

WORKSHOP 3: 'why I love Australia' a stunning collection of Aborigional-inspired images + poetry by Bancroft, we will design and paint our own geometric + abstract designs onto a beautiful wooden cube - a perfect gift for Fathers Day!

WORKSHOP 4: 'collecting colour' a sensational local tale of the art of weaving, we will use natural and textural materials to introduce children to basic weaving techniques and produce a beautiful artwork!

You may attend one, or all of these workshops - please take advantage of the discount for booking multiple classes. All mixed media workshops promise to inspire the imagination and teach techniques that enable your child to produce beautiful works of art!
look forward to meeting you soon xx

gathering * part II leather goodness

We are very excited about the creativity that comes forth at the hand of your children as they learn to carve their very own stamps! In this second series of stamp making, we will look at new inspiration in geometric shapes and patterns.
Right now, we are loving the leather - soft and beautiful - ready to be made into exciting products and stamped with their very own designs - notebooks, keyrings, bookmarks - just the perfect gift idea for a special Dad on Fathers day!
Book now for this exciting 3 week series running on Thursday afternoons from 3.45-4.45pm at the Gallery Cafe Carindale.
PLACES ARE LIMITED AND FILLING FAST! We start two weeks today - Thurs 24th August 2011!

wool and more wool

these beauties are causing quite a stir in my household - for family and guests alike!
We now have a neverending supply of wool for projects, present-wrapping...and if you are very creative like my children...wrapping up a WHOLE house!!
If you are curious, leave a comment on this post and I will let you in on the little secret of where to get these from!!

gathering * part I

What do these four things have in common you might ask!..

Timber + insects + 'The insect Detective' by Steve Voake + Eric Carle!
Our first 'BOOKS' workshop at Riverbend of course!
We will be digging deep into the wonderful story 'The Insect Detective' by Steve Voake. Overturning leaves, looking under bushes....all to discover where our favourite insects are hiding!
Timber is such a warm, textural, inviting material...we are going to use recycled timber 'veneer's' for our art project in this class, calling together a beautiful contrast of colour and texture in the style of Eric Carle!
Where Eric is a master of colour collage, balancing colour and texture, we will be focusing on the warm + cool tones of timber to create variation in our creative collages of our favourite insects!
These collages will not only be a beautiful creation at the hand of your children, they will be display-worthy in their modernist simplicity also!
Please visit or instore for a wonderful selection of Children's books, including 'the Insect Detective' which will be available for purchase in connection with our class!
Really looking forward to beginning these classes xx


These days are Golden aren't they...
The only time of year that the sun warms + comforts...I love it!
This colour is vibrant, startling even, and it is playing out a winter-symphony against the olive greens, grey-brown bark and brilliant blue of the sky.
I am captivated by the...

:: cotton-wool ball wattle blossom

:: The magnificent jacaranda leaves singing their finale in golden yellow before falling softly bare

Are you noticing the 'yellow' around about you in these days?
I am inspired to bring a little inside - golden-yellow makes me happy!
In fact, I think a little yellow painted artwork with the children is calling...

just because * part I

Last week these arrived
Just because...

It has been a big few months
There has been considerable success
There is cause to pause and be grateful

And as these cut beauties dip their heads,
I gather their feather-soft but still radiant petals
to chanel my creative energies into a new experiement
natural dying using gathered and found things, kitchen produce,
adding a new sense of purpose to our wanderings
I will bring you part II of the experiment soon...

new classes * exciting new venue!

We are thrilled to announce a new + exciting venue to compliment our already thriving classes at the Gallery Cafe, Carindale.
WEAVE+WONDER are partnering with

to bring you a new series of four stand-alone workshops based around exceptional book titles!
Riverbend's commitment to literacy for children and good quality literature marries well with WEAVE+WONDER'S passion for inspiring children to greater forms of self-expression through reading great books!
I have spent many a happy hour - with my children and not - browsing the wonderful bookshelves at Riverbend and enjoying an exceptional coffee on the tree-curtained front deck. I am really looking forward to running this first series of after school workshops in this wonderful venue!

Classes commence Monday 22nd August 2011 at 3.45-4.45pm.
These are run for 5-12yr olds.
earlybird, multiple class booking + sibling discounts apply, BOOK NOW!

The four book titles we will be featuring in these classes are coming together with some great projects to encourage your child's creativity as well as producing high quality art using natural materials and themes.
I will be posting the book titles as well as project descriptions and planning here in the coming days so keep an eye out!

Please pop on over to RIVERBEND WEBSITE for online book shopping, location details and more!