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    Monday, March 01, 2010

    Insert Coin Here

     
     

    Insert Coin Here, is a group exhibition curated by Nella Themelios and Kim Brockett that is part of the 2010 L'Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival cultural program.

    Comprising vending machines strategically placed around the Melbourne CBD, Insert Coin Here explores hierarchies of value and mechanised systems of exchange.

    The Insert Coin Here vending machines contain limited edition 'fashion objects' which are randomly dispensed when a member of the public inserts a $2 coin. The artworks contained in the machines have been produced by over 60 Melbourne-based artists, designers and craft practitioners.

    Monday, March 08, 2010

    Pothole Gardens

     
     

    Guerilla Gardening is taken to a new level by quirky British artist and graphic design student Pete Dungey.

    Guerilla Asphalt Gardens, a creative solution to surface imperfections. :) We love it.

    Dungey has perfected the art of filling potholes with soil and flowers, undeniably enhancing the aesthetic of weather beaten roads. And, since guerilla art is often effective at capturing the attention of passersby, guerilla asphalt gardens may do the same.

    Monday, March 22, 2010

    Crop Art....Japanese style

     
     

    Most rice fields in Japan, and throughout much of Asia, are much more than a simple place to grow food. In some cultures, whether or not a farmer owns land on which to cultivate rice is symbolic of his stature in the class system and overall social hierarchy. They spend hours of time not only in the fields, but also blessing and decorating the granaries within which they’ll store the rice once it has been harvested.

    So, in true Japanese style, the art of growing rice has been taken to a new level. Crop art — created by strategically arranging and growing different colors of rice plants — can be seen in farming communities across the country. The largest and finest work is grown in the Aomori prefecture village of Inakadate, which has earned a reputation for its agricultural artistry.

     
     

    TED is a US based not-for-profit enterprise devoted to the propogation of Ideas Worth Spreading. TED started out in 1984 as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment & Design.

    In the spirit of Ideas Worth Spreading TED has created a program called TEDx, a series of local self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience.

    TEDxSydney at CarriageWorks on Saturday 22 May 2010 will feature a selection of Australia's leading visionaries and storytellers showcasing their Ideas Worth Spreading LIVE to a group of thinkers ... as well as ONLINE to the world at large. At this invitation-only event, a curated group of changemakers, innovators, thinkers, creatives, cultural leaders & social pioneers will witness a back-to-back schedule of talks, performances and other multimedia surprises showcasing “Ideas Worth Spreading” from a carefully selected coterie of presenters whom the event organisers (and their networks) feel have something valuable to contribute.

     
     

    Eco artist Edina Tokodi is making her mark in one of Brooklyns’ trendy suburbs. With an emphasis on the touchy feely, her moss installations challenge preconceived notions of art and graffiti.

    The mossy graffiti art offers an opportunity for interaction with nature within the city boundaries, and the artist believes strongly that the reaction (or lack thereof) of passersby speaks volumes. In an article in Inhabitat Edina says, ‘City dwellers often have no relationship with animals or greenery. As a public artist I feel a sense of duty to draw attention to deficiencies in our everyday life.’

    Tuesday, April 13, 2010

    State. Respond.

     
     

    Recent debate within the design community would suggest that sustainability is, or should now be, a fundamental consideration for all designers. Certainly, there is substantial evidence to show how design is making a positive difference in the troubled world in which we live. However, the design industry also continues to contribute to unsustainable systems of waste and excess and has played a significant role in many of the problems we now face. This is both a confronting and exciting time for designers as they make decisions about the work they do, the way they do it and the impact it has on our lives and our planet.


    Object Gallery invited creative directors from five outstanding design studios – each based in New South Wales and each with a genuine track record in the area of ethical and sustainable design – to respond to this statement.

    Bird Textiles was one of them.

    How did we respond?

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010

    Free As A Bird

    No matter how much the wind huffs and puffs through the hills above Byron Bay, the home of Rachel Bending, founder and creative director of leading sustainable fashion and homewares label Bird Textiles, and her partner Campbell is one house that certainly won’t blow down – despite the fact that it’s made of straw.

    As someone who’s passionate about environmental responsibility, Rachel knew straw bale would be the perfect choice for the home she planned to create in the lush Byron Bay hinterland. A traditional building material with serious eco cred – it’s a renewable natural resource with exceptional thermal insulating properties – straw bale is undergoing a renaissance in dwellings. “It’s durable and, when you combine it with passive solar principles and an awareness of the site’s environmental considerations, you can design a house with significantly fewer energy requirements,” says Rachel.

    Read more from this interview with Home Beautiful Magazine May 2010.....

     

    Wednesday, May 12, 2010

    Dumpster Diving

    If it’s true that one man’s trash in another man’s treasure, Goldsmiths (prestigious UK art school ) design graduate Oliver Bishop-Young should be an extremely wealthy man. The London-based designer repurposes rented skips under the guise of the ‘Skipwaste Project’ to create patches of communal outdoor space, challenging what we perceive as waste and wasted space.

    He has transformed skips into a variety of cool outdoor spaces, including a swimming pool, a living room, a garden, a skate ramp and a campsite.  His designs aim to encourage recycling and sharing discarded objects as well as creative uses of space in a crowded city.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010

    Tails for Whales

    Ben Peacock and Matt Perry from The Republic of Everyone only work on products, services and brands that do good in the world. Things that encourage recycling or save energy, initiatives that save lives, ideas that promote healthy living and get kids off the couch. They have developed a business focusing exclusively on sustainability and bringing about social change to business.

    They are do-gooders who are good at doing. Win win. :)

    We met them last year at Eat Green Design @ Sydney Design Week and think they are fab.

    So, with the whales/japan thing in the news again we thought some creative cool to prickle peoples conscience and change their mind set was in order.

    Monday, May 24, 2010

    Deconstructed Architectonics

    Founded in 1948, the Art League is one of the oldest non-profit visual arts organizations in Houston and is the first alternative art space in Texas, USA. 

    But for some time, the Art League has generated relatively little interest amongst either the art crowd or the general public. Perceived (fairly or not) as more of a kaffeeklatsch for local artists of mediocre talent and ambition than as a dynamic organization with interesting programming, the Art League has, for over 30 years, quietly gone about its business of housing classes and exhibitions in a grouping of nondescript white houses in the Montrose.

    Over the years, there have been many abortive attempts to tear down those houses and make a grander architectural gesture; and it seems, finally, that this most recent attempt is actually going to come to fruition. To celebrate, the oft-disregarded Art League has sponsored what is the most exciting installation in Houston in recent memory.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    Ghosts of Gone Birds

    Enough with the Olympics posters, official or otherwise.....this, my friends, is priceless.

    Doco maker Ceri Levy is the brains behind Ghosts of Gone Birds. Working with hip creative agency Good Pilot out of London Town, Ceri and over 120 artist, writers and muso friends and supporters, have come together to raise awareness for BirdLife International’s Preventing Extinctions programme.

    Switching off now? Don’t. This campaign is brilliant.

    ‘We are raising a creative army for conservation through a series of multimedia exhibitions and events that will breathe artistic life back into extinct birds species’ says the team at Ghosts of Gone Birds, ‘Shedding light on front line conservation work being done around the world to prevent any more birds migrating to gone status’.

    An innovative art exhibition, spoken word and music events make for a tidy creative events programme. But it is the brand identity, images and series of information posters which sell the concept and cause so brilliantly. Do read on to see the series of posters, and follow this link to their website to read the ‘Ghost Stories’ behind each image.

    Ten out of ten from Mama Bird.

    Bring it on.


    Here’s five favourite highlights that we’re looking forward to the most......but for a full programme please go to www.sydneydesign.com.au


    Young Blood Designer Markets   Way back in 2005, Bird featured in the very first Young Blood Designer Market. Offering an opportunity to buy direct from the best new design talent in the country, Young Blood features fashion, furniture, jewellery, graphics, industrial design and more. This curated market is a glimpse into the future, a critical launch pad for Australia’s talented young designers, as well as a vibrant market for the design-savvy shopper.

    Wednesday, July 28, 2010

    The Audio Design Museum

    How's this for a wicked idea.

    Object Gallery, and the guys who brought us the Sydney and Melbourne Design Guides, have got together to create the Audio Design Museum.

    The theory is, no gallery space could ever be big enough to capture the creativity of an entire city. So, they’ve done away with the concept of a conventional design museum, and made the city the exhibition space.....with tours that guide towards hotspots of design and the stories and people behind it.

    You can download the audio tours and accompanying maps, for free, direct from the Audio Design Museum website straight to your mp3 player or iphone and hear designers tell there story as you pound the pavement.

    For those of you who didn’t see the recent SBS doco, The 1000 Journals Project is an ongoing collaborative experiment attempting to follow 1000 journals throughout their travels. The goal is to provide a method for interaction and shared creativity among friends and strangers.

    The project officially launched in August of 2000, with the release of the first 100 journals in San Francisco. It was started by ‘some guy’ who gave them to friends, and left them at bars, cafes, and on park benches. Shortly thereafter, people began emailing him, asking if they could participate. So he started sending journals to folks, allowing them to share with friends, or strangers.

    Those who find the journals add something to them. A story, drawing, photograph, anything really. Then they pass the journal along, to a friend or stranger, and the adventure continues.

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    The Living Garden of Knowledge

    An astounding living library built from 40,000 reclaimed books has sprouted in the middle of the forest as part of the 11th International Garden Festival in Métis, Quebec. Designed by Thilo Folkerts and Rodney Latourelle, Jardin de la Connaisance, or the Garden of Knowledge, is a unique outdoor library that features living books sown with several varieties of mushrooms. Playing off the theme of paradise and the Tree of Knowledge, the temporary garden brings the books back to their roots in a natural setting.

    The colourful discarded books were stacked to create garden walls, benches and carpets that are integrated within the site and structure of the forest. In an amazing example of book architecture, the books are stacked like bricks, while open volumes form cushioned carpets on the forest floor. Latourelle worked in collaboration with Folkerts of 100Landschaftarchitecktur to design the ‘utopian’ garden as a compelling new way to experience the forest — as an information platform as well as a return to nature.

    Tuesday, February 01, 2011

    An edible revolution

    Slim striped eggplant, fat purple eggplant, green tomatoes, flares of bright yellow sunflower, corn coming into cob and kale... what has happened to Sydney's Town Hall Square?

    To put it simply, the farm has come to town... or the garden, at least. Where there was once only paving, passers-by glance, realise that this is no ordinary garden, then stop to look at the edibles that have invaded the Square.

    Over the coming weeks fresh produce will ripen before city workers’ eyes, including tomatoes, eggplants, capsicums, sunflowers, lettuce and silver beet.

    The display is part of this season's City of Sydney Living Colour display which can be seen in the city's squares. Themed ‘green living’, the display celebrates community gardens and embraces new ideas to help residents and businesses adopt sustainable practices by reducing carbon emissions, water and energy used when delivering food from growers to shoppers. In Australia, the food supply chain produces 23 percent of Australia’s total greenhouse gas emissions - that includes direct emissions from agriculture and emissions generated from energy, transport, food production, processing and distribution.

    Tuesday, April 12, 2011

    Reverse Graffiti

    Sustainable communication......street art.......green graffiti. Call it what you will. A new style of communication has hit the streets and the corporate world is sitting up and taking note.

    An early pioneer of the movement is Englishman Paul Curtis, better known as ‘Moose’. No paint, no defacing, Moose takes his cue from the ‘wash me’ messages on the back of trucks. He works in sooty tunnels and on dirty road sidings, by inscribing images, slogans and tags in the dirt. He has been commissioned by a number of brands, such as Smirnoff, who want to convey a sense of “clean” in an innovative way.

    Other artists have used snow, chalk and sand in the same way.

    Leading the way internationally is Dutch new media and communication agency Greengraffiti. Working in the public, government and not for profit sectors, their messages are clean and strong. In their words, ‘using our business as a tool for social and environmental improvement, we aim to be the world market leader in sustainable communication.’

    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    Knitty, Gritty and Lego?

    The work of two artists is creatively, and literally, filling gaps at locations all around the world.

    You’ll remember our previous post on Pothole Gardens. These guys are patching holes with two completely different materials.

    Jan Vormann’s material of choice is lego....which he uses to fill in damaged or decaying brick or stone walls. The visual effect is rather surreal...theres something quite odd but strangly captivating about the finished ‘artworks’. Dispatchwork is an ongoing global project with roots in Bocchigano, Italy. With a growing following and requests for participation, he has broadened the concept to dispatchers worldwide, and the phenomonen has already spread to over 35 countries.

    Juliana Santacruz Herrera is a girl after my own heart, working with colourful yarns and braids to repair ugly potholes on the streets of Paris. Once again, the effect is quite surreal but beautiful, with splashes of colour bringing streetscapes to life.

     

    Tuesday, June 21, 2011

    The Tree in Changing Light

    'We wrote philosophies, built faiths and took every kind of comfort from trees. They gave language to our existence as we put down roots, stretched our limbs, budded in infancy and were felled in old age.

    They were mute companions to our lives and worshipped beyond themselves as the better part of balance and aspiration.

    They offered steadiness and long patience even as we failed in those.

    They offered an image of completion, which was an illusion, but it was enough.

    Theirs was a whisper in the wind to the human ear both tragic and hopeful. Civilisation grew from exploiting, destroying, venerating, and looking back on them.

    Trees led us to ourselves and we stood against them, trunk to trunk, arms upon branches, our thoughts tangled in the stars.'

    Tuesday, June 28, 2011

    Seedbom - a war on terra

    Their strapline reads “War on Terra, seedboms are friendly bombs exploding with flower power for responsible rebels in the war against weary wastelands”. .....and eco vandals around the world are soaking and shaking with covert rebellion.

    Following the growing movement in guerrilla gardening, these funky little seedboms are handmade in the UK from reclaimed and recycled materials such as post consumer paper and used egg cartons. They also contain organic peat free compost, organic fertiliser and a selection of easy to grow flower seeds. The seedboms breakdown over time and biodegrade into the environment leaving only flowers behind.

    The concept struck a chord with Selfridges new concept store in the UK, ‘Grow’ , and so in collaboration with Selfridges and Guerillagardening.org , Seedbom were given the enviable opportunity of creating a Selfridges window display with their product, in Selfridges main windows Oxford Street, London.

    DeKalb Market opened last weekend, in downtown Brooklyn, New York.

    Another inner city artist market? Well, maybe. But the thinking behind DeKalb has a little bit more to it.

    Its fair to say Urban Space have been reinventing spaces for over 30 years now, both in the U.S and in the UK. Camden Lock, begun by Urban Space in 1978, is the fourth busiest visitor destination in Greater London. In the 90's it was my local weekend haunt. Many businesses I know, found their feet in Camden markets. Not least, The Body Shop founded by one of my all time greats, the late Anita Roddick. So, knowing Urban Space, in conjunction with local designers Young Woo & Associates are behind this initiative, is as good a place as any to start.

    Brooklyn is known for its history in manufacturing, ship building, and as a commercial port, so it's only fitting that its latest community destination is made up of a collection of salvaged shipping containers.

    Tuesday, August 09, 2011

    one tree, 478 lemons

    We've been blessed with a bumper crop of lemons this year, here at Bird HQ in Byron Bay. Homegrown, organic lemons. 478 so far, to be exact. From one little tree! And still counting. Eek.

    It's something to do with all that nutritious chook poo mulch our little chooks have been scratching down the hill towards it me thinks. And lots of love and sunshine too.

    Lucky for us, the chooks have been laying lots of eggs too lately, so we had in mind something we could make with all our eggs and lemons. Even luckier for me, my very handy helper Little Miss Q,offered to help harvest the lemons off the tree. And even luckier still, my mum, aka Granny Ang, is a bit of a dab hand at old fashioned lemon curd.

    Dare I say it, but after 30 years in the Womens Institute (the British version of the CWA) Granny Ang has got the humble sponge and the mighty preserve (and quite a few other little gems) down pat. She's been keeping us busy sending over all her award winning recipes. We've been cooking up a storm in the kitchen of Bird HQ, and the fruit of our labours is going down a treat with friends and family. If you'd like a very special recipe from Granny Ang's recipe file read on......

    Tuesday, September 13, 2011

    Richard Rogers' ode to Wales

    ODE  1. A lyric poem in the form of an address to a particular subject, often elevated in style or manner, written in varied or irregular meter and expressive of exalted or enthusiastic emotion. 2. A poem meant to be sung.

    Many of you will know that I grew up in Wales. That’s Old South Wales, rather than New South Wales. The land of song.  ‘We’ll keep a welcome in the hillside, we’ll keep a welcome in the vales, this land you knew will still be singing, when you come home again to Wales....’ Sigh.

    This Christmas I’ll be going home for Christmas in Wales. We are taking our daughter home to the land of song for the very first time.

    So it seems kinda fitting to share a special bit of Wales with you today. To share with you a building whose structure ebbs and flows with the songs of Wales, encapsulating the heart and soul of its nation.

     

    Hyper-minimalist poster designs of the classic children’s stories we’ve grown to know and love by former design gun for hire, Christian Jackson of Square Inch Design.

    There are more here.

    What’s not to like. :)

    Tuesday, October 25, 2011

    Every Object Tells A Story

    Wikipedia defines the hobby of collecting to ‘include seeking, locating, acquiring, organizing, cataloguing, displaying, storing, and maintaining whatever items are of interest to the individual collector’.

    Some collectors are generalists, accumulating merchandise, or stamps from all countries of the world. Others focus on a subtopic within their area of interest, perhaps 19th century postage stamps, milk bottle labels from Sussex, or Mongolian harnesses and tack.

    For me, over the years, my small highly collectable, rather exclusive collection of hand blown glass birds, by reknowned Finnish glass designer Oiva Toikka has been somewhat superseded by a larger collection of birds. You see, roughly around the time my nickname became ‘Bird’ my dear friends and family took it upon themselves to start buying me bird themed presents. I should clearly state, I had no hand in this decision, it was as if a great big fluoro light went on in the collective brain of those around me. From here on in, I was going to be easy to buy presents for. And that they did. Bless them.

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    Eco Chic for Three

    A block of land in Byron Bay, slowly evolved into one couples prefect eco-house, designed to have the lightest possible footprint on the land.

    Rachel Bending remembers the first time she laid eyes on the Byron Bay hinterland and the strong connection she felt to the area. ‘The Byron Shire is very similar to where I grew up in ‘Old’ South Wales in the UK’ she says. ‘Both have stunning, unspoilt beaches, rolling hills and farming land, leading to rugged, wild forests and cliffs’.

    With her partner, Campbell Rowe, Rachel bought a block of land in Byron Bay in 2003. To familiarise themselves with the property and see how it reacted to natures elements, such as the sun and wind, Rachel and Cam spent four years living part time on the site in a caravan, all the while commuting to Byron Bay and Sydney to run Rachel’s environmentally focused business Bird Textiles.

    Read the rest of this interview, from the current November issue of Australian Womens Weekly, by clicking this 'read more' link.

    Love it or hate it, modern, abstract BritArt is back in the headlines this month with the launch of the 2012 London Olympic poster series. The designs are for the Games’ official commemorative posters which will be shown around the world over the next ten months.

    A predictable cry of ‘infant school art’ from the UK's Daily Mail has been tempered by a more informed ‘touching idealism’ from The Guardian. Art critics are kinder, but it seems members of the public were hoping for a more ‘crowd-centric’ approach.

    The twelve leading UK artists selected to design the posters, including four Turner prize-winners, have stirred up quite a storm despite following in the footsteps of art greats David Hockney, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichenstein, all of whom created posters for previous Games.

    Tuesday, December 06, 2011

    Spontaneous City in the Tree of Heaven

    Spontaneous City is a space creation experiment for birds, appearing in a number of urban green spaces across the UK over the last 18 months.

    Started in London in 2010, and continuing in Norwich, Norfolk in 2011 for the Norfolk Festival, the sculptures are installed by art and architecture collective London Fieldworks.

    The sculptures are made from hundreds of bespoke, wooden bird and bug boxes that create a sculptural ‘habitat’ for the birds, insects and invertebrates that occupy the gardens, providing spaces for shelter, nesting or feeding.  The design of the boxes reflects the local architecture, a metaphorical interplay between the condition of the animal and the human.

    Images 1-4 are taken from three new sites in Norwich. The boxes in image 5 reflect the architecture of the nearby Worlds End housing estate in Chelsea whilst images 6-8 refelct the Georgian terrace and 1960's flats that surround the neighbourhood park.

    If you are in the hood check them out. Mama Bird.

    Wednesday, December 28, 2011

    We'll keep a welcome in the hillsides...

    This weeks post from the homeland is on a stunning art installation in Cardiff, the capital of Wales.

    Wales is a land of contrast. The draw of its great natural beauty, the rugged coastline, and magical mountains, moorlands and valleys, contrast with the scars left by the coal mines of the 1900’s. A nation, whose wealth was built exporting coal from the South Wales Valleys to the rest of the world, helped to power the industrial age. In his time, the Third Marquis of Bute, who owned Cardiff Bay docks, was the richest man in the world.

    The regeneration of Cardiff Bay is now widely regarded as one of the most successful urban regeneration projects ever undertaken in the UK.  The area has undergone a massive transformation over the past 20 years, now hosting world class buildings like The Senedd (see my previous post) and Wales Millennium Centre, home to the Welsh National Opera.

    Tuesday, February 07, 2012

    Folk of the kin.

    I first came across Kinfolk Magazine late last year, and fell head over heels in love.

    It's a bit like the divine Dumbo Feather magazine, but with their own style, content, and format. Their magazine, like Dumbo, leaves me feeling warm, and gooey ....part of a community based on core grass roots values, good design and food!

    Their Manifesto reads, ‘Kinfolk is a growing community of artists with a shared interest in small gatherings. We recognize that there is something about a table shared by friends, not just a wedding or once-a-year holiday extravaganza, that anchors our relationships and energizes us. We have come together to create Kinfolk as our collaborative way of advocating the natural approach to entertaining that we love. Every element of Kinfolk—the features, photography, and general aesthetics—are consistent with the way we feel entertaining should be: simple, uncomplicated, and less contrived. Kinfolk is the marriage of our appreciation for art and design and our love for spending time with family and friends.'

    We love.

    And so do others, looking at their rapidly expanding stockist list!

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    The Gorgeous and Magnificent Emma Magenta

    Some of you may have recognised our lovely bird logo as the work of author and artist, Emma Magenta. For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, Emma is the author of a series of adult picture books; The Peril of Magnificent Love, A Gorgeous Sense of Hope, The Origin of Lament and The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch. Her books have resonated with thousands of women around the globe.

    Her most recent creation; The Gradual Demise of Phillipa Finch is Emma’s first foray into the world of animation and follows the emotional journey of Emma’s alter-ego Phillipa Finch, from death to life. A sixteen episode series screened on ABC1 in 2011 that seeks to bridge the gap between human emotion and technology via an interactive website.

    Phillipa is the pin up girl for the emotionally twarted. Each episode tumbles back through her past relationships, and follows her journey from the numb, torpid and stupified to the land of the emotionally fulfilled.