Monthly Archives: July 2016

Understanding the Black Box

Life, walls and houses, by Wendy Johnson

In the presence of one's home. Judi Elliott. Glass. H 30 cm. x W 18cm. 2014. Image credit: Rob Little. Never been shown in Canberra.

In the presence of one’s home. Judi Elliott. Glass. H 30 cm. x W 18cm. 2014. Image credit: Rob Little. Never been shown in Canberra.

It’s hard to imagine that the Aussie invention, The Black Box, used to record every nanosecond of an aircraft’s flight, has inspired beautiful pieces of art created out of glass. Canberra artist Judi Elliott, has been inspired by this flight data recorder. Her new solo exhibition—Black Box: Life, walls and houses—showcases how this piece of complex technology can be seen as a metaphor for life. Black Box: Life, walls and houses, on now at Craft ACT: Craft and Design Centre, is a ‘must-see’ exhibition.

Judi is a distinguished and highly acclaimed glass artist. She’s ‘one of ours’, working quietly out of her studio in the suburbs of Canberra. Judi was the very first glass graduate from the School of Art (now Australian National University) Glass Workshop. That was in 1984 and the artist has been practicing for more than three decades, with her work included in prestigious Australian and international collections.

(Two small houses) Judi Elliott. On our Street 1.  Height 19cm x 19cm. Cast cut and assembled glass. On our street 2, Height 19cm x 15cm. Cast, cut and assembled glass. Image credit: Rob Little.

(Two small houses) Judi Elliott. On our Street 1. Height 19cm x 19cm. Cast cut and assembled glass.
On our street 2, Height 19cm x 15cm. Cast, cut and assembled glass. Image credit: Rob Little.

Black Box: Life, walls and houses includes colourful, three-dimensional houses Judi has created of glass. For Judi, the houses reflect ‘life’ and the phases we all experience as we grow up, love, get educated, work, gain experience and move.

Photo by Edge Light Photography

Photo by Edge Light Photography

Judi was inspired to create this themed exhibition after pondering what The Black Box is, what it does, and how it works. Hailed by many as one of Australia’s top 10 inventions, the box records from take-off to landing. It begins its cycle again on the next journey. For Judi, this is very much akin to the cycle of human life. Judi is also inspired by our relationship with the built environment, especially the work of architects. Her colour palette is vibrant and The Black Box is represented in this exhibition by black dots appearing in the glass.

Judi’s creative process is fascinating. She produces full-scale drawings and then cuts individual pieces of glass to size from each one. Judi next uses her signature, technical glass style to cast, cut, fuse and assemble each house. Judi is a 2016 Hindmarsh Prize finalist and has been an Accredited Professional Member of Craft ACT since 1999.  She’s exhibited her work in Australia and overseas since the 1980s.

Photo by Edge Light Photography

Photo by Edge Light Photography

“Judi is a trail blazer who was in the first intake into the glass workshop established by internationally renowned glass artist Klaus Moje at what is now the ANU School of Art,” says Rachael Coghlan, Chief Executive Officer of Craft ACT. “Under Klaus, she learned kiln-formed glass techniques, which she’s been working with and adapting since.”

This exhibition was curated by Mel George, Curator Craft ACT, who has more than 20 years’ experience in the craft and design sector and more than a decade in curating exhibitions and mentoring emerging artists and practitioners. Mel is also an award-winning glass artist.

Also on now at Craft ACT is Embracing Innovation Volume 6, an annual curated showcase which this year captures innovation in the creative arts. It showcases international, national and local designers. Lostfourwords will write about this exhibition soon, so stay tuned.

Photo by Edge Light Photography

Photo by Edge Light Photography

Both Black Box: Life, walls and houses and Embracing Innovation Volume 6 run until 27 August and are free to the public. Visit Craft ACT’s brand new website, which includes opening hours.

Sweet Treats from Rawspirations!

By Emma Dowling

Let’s be honest. Eating paleo or raw is easy—it’s good for you, it’s healthy, it’s fresh (mostly organic) food with little or no gluten, colouring, flavouring, processing, or added sugar. So far, so good—right? But, when it comes to cooking paleo it’s a whole different, and somewhat daunting, ball game. It’s a bit like living before the kitchen was invented as you make almost everything from scratch. And when it comes to desserts—no sugar, easy-peasy cheat flavours, no packets, and no chocolate(!) OMG! What kind of dessert is that!

Rawspirations e-book

Image from Rawspirations

Fast getting over grinding our own corn and doing a million-and-one things with a coconut, we were pretty excited when we got a copy of Rawspirations brand-new Sweets & Treats e-book. With over 50 amazing vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar recipes to tempt your taste buds, this little book includes both raw and baked treats, smoothies, cakes and slices, and big and little bites, and we taste tested more than a few at The Divine Rawspirations High Tea Event earlier this year and they passed with flying colours!



Many of the recipes in the e-book have a fairly long list of ingredients, so make sure you have everything before you start, and some ingredients such as cacao butter or white chocolate butter, hemp protein powder, and coconut nectar, you’ll need to source from a health food shop. However, once you’ve got all you need, the ‘what you do’ bit is fairly straightforward.

We road-tested a few of the easy ones to start with:

Caramel and coconut balls

Caramel and coconut balls

Caramel and Coconut Balls—super, super easy! Basically you just blend everything in a food processor, shape into balls, and roll in the coconut. This is a great one for beginners.

Raw chocolate chia and  hemp truffles

Raw chocolate chia and hemp truffles

Raw Chocolate Chia and Hemp Truffles—another super easy one! Only seven ingredients, toss in the food processor, roll into balls, and freeze! Another good one to start with.

Triple choc mint slice

Triple choc mint slice

Raw Vegan Triple Choc Mint Slice—this one is a bit tricker and with four different layers you need to give yourself plenty of time, and we found it easier to soak the cashews from early morning, make the slice in the afternoon and leave overnight in the freezer before you add the choc icing. Tricky and time consuming but well worth it; especially if you want impress with your raw vegan cooking skills!

Then we side-stepped … sort of … this one isn’t from the cookbook but it’s pretty damn good! Raw Coconut Bounty Bars—totally awesome! This recipe is available from Rawspirations Facebook page.

Raw coconut bounty bars

Raw coconut bounty bars

The Sweet & Treats e-book is available from Rawspirations website for only $15. The recipes are in simple steps and easy to follow, and accompanied by the most gorgeous mouth-watering pics. So watch this space for more road and taste testing … might have to give the Chocolate Mudslide Thickshake a go next!

Sweets & Treats ebook by Sabrina Muscat from Rawspirations

Winter 2016 ChinWag Out Now!

Download your copy at and find out why we foster care, what to look for in the senior years, book a table at our Trivia Night, how to recognise signs of nervousness and fear in dogs, and take a look at recently adopted pups!

ARF Chinwag Winter 2-2016 image

Our cover girl in this issue is Gypsy who is now living happily in her forever home.

For more information about ARF and how you can help, visit our website and like us on Facebook



By Wendy Johnson

It’s a place where the nation meets. It’s held 229 events, meetings and conferences in the past 12 months. Its kitchen team dishes up gala dinners for up to 1,400 guests. And in a year, it’s contributed more than $60.6 million into the Canberra economy. It’s no wonder that the National Convention Centre Canberra picked up two top awards at the 2016 Australian Hotels Association (AHA) ACT Hospitality Awards held earlier last week.

The awards were for Best Meeting and Events Venue and Best Restaurant Cookery Employee (both General Division). They’re the latest in the growing list of awards being regularly won by the Centre, which also include a prestigious Australian Tourism Award.thumbnail_Moody tables

If the National Convention Centre Canberra has done anything over the past few years, it has worked hard to boost its position in the highly competitive national and international convention centre market, bringing as much business to the capital as it can. The ripple effects are impressive for Canberra, with guests of injecting funds into the accommodations, hospitality, tourism and retail markets while here.

The AHA Best Meeting and Events Venue Award—the second year the National Convention Centre Canberra has won this category—celebrated the Centre’s services and facilities, which include an auditorium with 2,460 seating capacity, four tiered-seat theatres, an exhibition hall, ballroom, and workshop rooms.

It also celebrated the major renovations that have brought a new look and feel to the Centre and provide a stylish backdrop that suits the caliber of events it holds, including, in 2016, FASHFEST for the second year in a row.thumbnail_P1060277

“The $5.4 million in funding over two years from the ACT Government to improve customer experience has created tremendous opportunities for us,” says Stephen Wood, General Manager. “It also provides great opportunities for Canberra as a whole.”

The renovation project has delivered new carpet, upgraded the star dressing room, reception, foyer and conference office, and other projects to be completed by the end of 2016 include upgrading digital signage and other technical and security components.

Nikhil Jain, Executive Chef

Nikhil Jain, Executive Chef

Best Restaurant Cookery Employee Award went to Nikhil Jain, Executive Chef, who has worked in Australia, India and the UK for some of the best hotels in the world. Nikhil’s team of 10 designs creative culinary experiences showcasing all Canberra has to offer, including award-winning produce and wines. He team scored 90 per cent on guest satisfaction in 2015.

Mouth-watering mains

Mouth-watering mains

The Centre also runs a sustainable kitchen, processing organic waste, using certified sustainable fish, recycling fryer oil, managing food wastage (including through vermicomposting) and providing rescued food to OzHarvest. The kitchen has been recognised five years running by the ACT Government for Actively Recycling.

“The strength of team members was integral to the Centre winning two top awards, as was the Centre’s commitment to being very much a part of the Canberra community,” says Stephen. “We don’t operate in isolation here. We support the local community in a myriad of ways and are proud to be part of the capital’s innovation and growth.”

This thinking holds true of the Crowne Plaza Canberra, which along with the Centre, is part of global Intercontinental Hotels Group. The Crowne Plaza was also a multiple winner at this year’s AHA awards, taking out four awards—Outstanding Community Service and Achievement, Best Restaurant Service Employee (Accommodation), Best Front of House Employee and Best Environmental Practice.

Other 2016 AHA ACT Hospitality Award winners include:

Best Hotel Restaurant: Monster Kitchen & Bar, Hotel Hotel

Best Wine List: Mezzalira

Best Restaurant: Pomegranate

Best Meetings and Events Hotel (Accommodation): Hyatt Hotel Canberra

Best Local: The George Harcourt Inn

Best Mid-Range Accommodation (3-3.5*): The Brassey Hotel

Best First Class Accommodation (4*): Little National Hotel

Best Superior Accommodation (4.5*): QT Canberra

Best Deluxe Accommodation (5*): Hotel Hotel and Jamala Wildlife Lodge