Author Archives: gracienumber1

Shop early. Shop local.

Ever had this feeling? This year, shop early, shop local, shop Canberra Christmas markets.

If Santa has a mega tip for all of us, it’s to avoid stress this holiday season by getting your Christmas shopping done and dusted early. And in Canberra, there’s no shortage of opportunities to do just that with several Christmas markets rolling out this coming weekend—two of the biggest close to one another at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) with both offering plenty of opportunity to buy local and handmade (also free entry and free parking).

The Handmade Market, an institution and now in its tenth year, has more than 150 stalls, including many Canberra artisans and local designers. Interstate stallholders are only permitted at the market if what they sell is Australian made. This special Christmas Market, held 7 to 9 December, is on at the Budawang and Coorong Buildings at EPIC. Stallholders sell a wide range of quality products, including artwork, jewellery, fashion, crafts and items that celebrate this special time of year. Yummy food to enjoy during the holidays is also on hand.

Elegant Elves will be at the Canberra Christmas Market with unique wreathes, stockings and other fabulous Christmas decorations and gifts.

Also at EPIC is the Canberra Christmas Market, with more than 1,750 square metres of shopping, including Christmas decorations and gifts, artisan products, pressies for pets and festive food goodies, including gingerbread houses, cookies, cakes and puddings. Marketgoers will also find gifts that are perfect for stocking stuffers and other products sure to put a smile on your face. The market, which also runs the Canberra Fashion Market, Three Sixty Market and the Canberra Kids Market has been going strong for five years. It’s on at the Fitzroy Pavilion at EPIC from 8 to 9 December.

The little ones in your life will look gorgeous in the outfits created with love by Handmade by Charley.

The Bus Depot Markets has festive items at all weekend markets from now until Santa arrives. It’s every Saturday and Sunday before Christmas.

Have a laff in the loo with toilet paper covers celebrating Santa’s arrival, available at the Canberra Christmas Market.

We vote a mighty big YES for shopping local, to support our local economy and support local makers who pour their hearts and souls into creating gorgeous items. We also vote a mighty big YES for avoiding the chaos that starts to build the minute the calendar hits 1 December. And we vote a mighty big YES for heading to one-stop shopping opportunities that have all your Christmas needs covered.

Happy shopping everyone. And happy holidays.

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The Network of Possibility

Dr Kim Vella started the Network of Possibility to fill a gap for safe and inspiring networking for women.

Networks. They can inspiring. They can be a talkfest that adds no value to your life.

On a personal front, Kim Vella finds networking where people ‘tell, sell or yell’ frustrating and exhausting so she started her own, for those in the work world and those outside it.

The Network of Possibility is a philanthropic initiative designed to unite community-minded Canberra women who want to use their time, energy and skills to give and learn from others.

‘This is not your typical networking group,’ says Kim who is an accredited executive coach with a PhD in Sociology from ANU.  ‘It’s designed as a neutral and inclusive space focused on your purpose, not your level, status or rank. We don’t shove our business cards down people’s throats. We don’t need to present elevator pitches or prove ourselves. We already know that everyone who comes is worthwhile.’

The Network of Possibility invites a guest speaker to each event, someone who has or is making a significant transition in life. Their stories are truly motivating.

Dr Danielle Klar, owner of Plumery Jewellery

This month, on 28 November, Dr Danielle Klar will talk about her journey to jewellery. Danielle was on a career trajectory and determined to become the Secretary of a department. Then she was diagnosed with cancer and later told she had life-threatening clots in her legs and lungs. She almost lost her life.

At the November Network, Danielle will talk about the process she went through to get to where she is today, which is working part-time as a GP in her husband’s medical practice and part-time with her daughter in Plumery, the bespoke jewellery business Danielle started during her long recovery.

Butterfly Wings Brooch is a brooch and a pendant. Nearly 25cts of ruby invisibly set, and over 1.5cts of diamonds.

Other Network guests have included Kristen Holzapfel who spent several years working as a child protection social worker. While her career was rewarding, it took its toll and nearly broke Kristen’s heart and her body. Kristen turned her experience into something positive, writing a book called Selfless: A social worker’s own story of trauma and recovery.

The Network has also had guests such as Pip Seldon, from the Healthy Tradie Project and Kerstin Oberprieler from Pentaqest which provides gamified experiences.

While many career women attend the Network so do those who aren’t currently working. ‘These could be women on maternity leave, or mental health leave, or someone just taking a break,’ says Kim. ‘Sometimes it’s hard for these women to find an inspiring space. The Network fills that gap because it’s completely non-judgmental. You don’t have to put your wares on display.’

Kim wanted the Network to be purely philanthropic, and so it is. A silent auction is held at each one raising money for three women’s charities—Karinya House, Toora Women Inc., and YWCA Canberra.

It was a light bulb moment that led Kim to develop The Network of Possibility. She was at a ‘typical professional networking awards event’. She sat beside a female lawyer in the public service who was settled in her career but not entirely happy with it. She didn’t want to change jobs but was looking for meaning and purpose, to feel more fulfilled. She said she didn’t know where to find it.

‘This inspired me to create a group where women could come together to get a sense of purpose and meaning with no strings attached,’ says Kim. ‘The Network attracts women who want to expand their circles of influence and drive change in another way. We share defeats and triumphs and learn from others. The Network makes peoples’ hearts sing.’

If you’d like to attend the 28 November Network of Possibility, book here.

 

The creative minds behind Canberra’s Aeon Academy

Canberra is packed with creative minds. Talented people who enrich our community in so many ways and on so many levels. The line-up of true innovators includes a local artist and a yoga teacher who devote their lives to inspiring kids to learn through creative and active play.

This story begins after award-winning Canberra artist, Teffany Thiedeman, graduated with a Bachelor of Visual Arts from the ANU School of Art and Design. She had a young baby, was practicing her art part-time but needed more. She started tutoring art classes for kids and it didn’t take long before Teffany realised there was a massive craving for her unique approach. She began teaching larger classes from her home studio, Hearth, where Teffany showcases an evolving range of figurative and sculptural work.

‘The classes got so big we even held them in the driveway,’ says Teffany. ‘The kids loved them and so did their parents.’

Hearth Studio: Home is where the art is.

The next chapter of this story sees Teffany’s partner, Mathew Long—a yoga teacher who graduated from the Australian National University in Canberra, majoring in Anthroplogy, Archaeology and History—joining forces with her. Realising the duo was on to a good thing, Mathew recommended that the classes be formalised and that their passion for igniting sparks in young people be transformed into a proper business.

Aeon Academy was born and that was 15 years ago. Since opening, with Yarralumla Primary School its main base, Aeon Academy has seen thousands of kids pass through its foundation and specialised programs for kids as young as three to teens up to 16 years of age.

‘Mathew has always been a game’s master,’ says Teffany, ‘and he was able to bring another type of programming to the table, including dramatic adventures which are so wonderful for learning. We’ve worked hard at developing creative and active play programs that aren’t available elsewhere in Canberra.’

Aeon Academy is famous for its dramatic adventures.

On Saturday, 24 November, Aeon Academy will celebrate its 15th birthday with a big bash at Yarralumla Primary School. All families are welcome from across Canberra, not just those who have kids enrolled at the Academy.

‘We’re all about spurring the imagination and building the compassion of future generations, especially important for not just individual kids and their families, but Canberra as a whole,’ says Mathew. ‘Our before school, after school and holiday programs are unique, enriching and memorable, so much so that several of our current educators were themselves students.’

Today, Aeon Academy is a not-for-profit social enterprise. It runs open houses four times a year, to give back to the community. The upcoming open house celebrates Aeon Academy’s 15th birthday and is going to be the biggest party yet.

The line-up of birthday activities includes a dramatic adventure tournament to raise funds for Freyja Christiansen and her fight against cancer. There will be art activities, including making badges and creating Aeon Academy’s famous cardboard go-carts. Live music will be by Scroggin, a local band made up partly of former teachers and students from Aeon Academy. An exhibition of art created by kids will be held, with fantastic ceramic work the students have made with a bird theme. It will feature bird baths, bird houses and awesome avian animalia.

At the 15th birthday bash, Aeon Academy will announce the winners of its inaugural Scholarship Program, with scholarships being awarded to five children.

 Aeon Academy is all about learning through creative and active play.

Aeon Academy runs free open days around four times a year, welcoming kids from across Canberra and their parents, to enjoy a day of inspirational activities. At this one, a mega birthday cake will top off celebrations.

Canberra is so fortunate to have creatives like Teffany and Mathew who have the courage of their convictions and who are prepared to solely dedicate their lives to building an inspirational place for us all to live.

The birthday bash is part of Design Canberra, a month-long festival rolling our 150 activities across the capital. Teffany hosted an Open Studio in Hearth, as part of the festival, which also included a line of functional wares under her domestic label ‘Fetish Designs’. Teffany works predominantly in clay but also with bronze, fibreglass, paper, stone and wax.

‘Art permeates my every day life and my every day life is entangled with my art,’ says Teffany.

Mathew, Founder and Creative Director of Aeon Academy, and Teffany, Founder and Artistic Director, welcome all Canberrans to their open day,10 am to 4pm, 24 November. More information: http://www.aeonacademy.com.au

Stay with us at LFW for more profiles of inspirational and hard-working Canberrans who make a difference to our lives in so many ways.

 

 

 

A story of a pear-shaped woman

Lovin’ thunder thighs. Designer Bronwynne Jones with model Swan Ricco at FASHFEST 2017. Image: Avon Dissanayake.

For years, Brownynne Jones was frustrated with fashion, so much so that she started her own label. We all have different shapes—hour glass, watermelon, banana, apple and pear. While there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that, says Bronwynne, the reality is that it’s easier to shop fashion for some shapes than others.

Bronwynne is pear shaped and proud of it.

‘I used to think there was something wrong with my shape because I could never find lovely clothes that fitted just so,’ says the designer. ‘Then it dawned on me that it wasn’t my problem, it was the fashion industry’s problem and so I began making my own clothes. That’s when I started to feel great and stopped worrying about how I looked.’

Image of Tiahna taken at FASHFEST 2017 by Naimat Ahmed.

Thunder Thighs is a label for the perfectly pear shaped, although Bronwynne now knows her designs fit a range of shapes, even the tall and thin. ‘It was fabulous to discover this, although the pear-shaped is still my main aesthetic,’ says the designer.

This Thursday, at M16 Artspace, Brownynne is launching an exhibition as part of Design Canberra Festival. ‘Curvature Couture: Design and the pear-shaped woman’ officially opens at 6 and runs until 25 November. M16 is where Bronwynne has her studio.

The exhibition showcases what Bronwynne does best—focus on shape as a feature not as a flaw. She’ll host a short fashion event using a combination of models with interesting shapes, such as Bec and Trish from HAUS Models. She’ll also use women who aren’t professional models. The common thread is that every woman who appears in the show is in love with their body shape and fashion.

Bec from HAUS Models. Image: Naimat Ahmed.

Thunder Thighs is still a young independent label and Brownynne has learned heaps since presenting her first full collection on the catwalk at FASHFEST in 2017. ‘FASHFEST is a real platform for local designers and an important one,’ says the designer. ‘I was so nervous, but the collection looked amazing on the catwalk and the feedback was  fabulous. The team members behind FASHFEST are so willing to share knowledge and encourage you.’

Sustainability is important to Bronwynne and she’s committed to using new and natural fabrics as much as possible and sourcing interesting roll ends and remnants. She also uses pre-loved garments, deconstructing them and using elements in her designs. A classic example is Bronwynne’s hugely popular ‘Shirt Front Back Top’, which she’ll present at ‘Curvature Couture’.

Bronwynne’s famous ‘Shirt Front Back Top’. Image: Naimat Ahmed.

This shirt is fitted at the top and has a swing back to skim over the thighs, but women who have a tummy love it too. ‘To enhance interest, I include an insert using men’s shirts and, more recently, women’s scarves,’ say Bronwynne. ‘Customers even bring in their own shirts and scarves, ones that hold memories, so the garments I make for them are highly personal and a major talking point.’

At the opening of Curvature Couture, and throughout the exhibition, guests can check out their shape against life-sized panels by String, local artist Paul Martin. The garments on the catwalk will be put on mannequins after the show and form part of the exhibition.

Brownynne presented her first full collection on the catwalk at FASHFEST in 2017. Image: Doug Hall, Studio Vita.

You can also hear Bronwynne talk about her designs at M16 on 15 November at 1pm. She’ll also present a short workshop on dressing thunder thighs on 25 November at 2pm.

In the meantime, join Bronwynne at ‘Curvature couture: Design and the pear-shaped woman’ for the official opening this Thursday, 8 November, at 6pm. The fashion show starts around 6.30.

 

 

Baked in the morning, cooked at night

Baked on Mort Street, Braddon

When bragels first hit Canberra we headed out to brunch on them, fascinated by this cross between a bragel and a brioche. This trademarked product was the invention of Baked on Mort Street in Braddon. The place was new. The bragel was new. And the concept of this new French patisserie was new.

Over time Baked has matured and expanded and is now an official ‘brasserie’, fully licensed and offering up exquisite dishes that are a tasty combo of the owners’ French heritage and modern Australian living.

Owners Clement Chauvin and Abel Bariller are both seasoned and award-winning operators. Abel is more or less at the helm of Baked Brasserie these days and Clement is still cooking up a storm around the corner at Les Bistronomes.

Duck French crepes with braised duck–sensational

Baked’s interior has changed a fair bit since our first visit—it’s smarter looking with fun features dotted about the place, including some sweet colourful cushions shaped like donuts (OK, they aren’t exactly bragels but they’re funky).

The menu has expanded and it’s a delish read from top to bottom. It was lunchtime and we couldn’t wait to dig in. The pork rillettes are just as fabulous as they are at Les Bistronomes when they’re on the menu. Repeat. ‘Just as fabulous’.

This dynamite duo is famous for the amazingly creamy and decadent duck liver parfait, this one created with a sensational sour cherry compote. Super yummy.

Donuts or bragels? Actually, they’re cushions.

These dishes were both from the small plates menu and were sensational so we decided to keep sharing, next moving on the melt-in-the-mouth cured Atlantic salmon, served with crunchy squid ink crackers and also ponzu, soy and sesame—with none of the flavours overpowering the salmon.

We could have chowed down all day on small plates but need to road test the large plates. Tip: do not go past the duck French crepes with braised duck, hoisin sauce, cucumber, shallots and coriander.

We wanted to leave a wee bit of room having explored the wonderful display of sweets at the front of the brasserie. We ended our Baked experience sharing a generous slice of gluten-free almond cake, which is truly a Baked specialty.  And did we mention sharing a couple of gorgeous looking tarts?

It’s fabulous that Baked is now licensed (you can also byo for $15 a bottle). Abel is a wine aficionado (actually that’s not quite true, he’s an amazing wine expert and a Knight of Cognac). The wines on the menu are quirky and super reasonably priced (we’ve spotted some in other restaurants for much more moola).

A sweet ending …

A fabulous option, if you’re in the Braddon area for brekkie, is the banquet served until noon (minimum of two people). You start with coffee or tea, croissants and jam, move to granola and then scrambled eggs on toast with bacon or cheese. You can wash it all down with juice if you’d like. The concept is super for business people who want to concentrate on meeting time and not fussing over a menu.

The bragels aren’t lost at Baked. Indeed, they’re as popular as ever during the day. Dinner is when they quietly disappear…but no matter because the line-up of options for evening dining is impressive. Once more, Baked offers small and large plates and you can indulge in a dinner-only degustation (minimum two people) for $65—a great deal for a seven-course chef menu.

Check out the desserts.

On our visit we chilled listening some cool tunes (jazz) and loved watching the world go by. We sat inside but could easily have enjoyed sitting outdoors. It’s a spacious space that enjoys the sun.

Baked is open except for Mondays. Breakfast, lunch, dinner Tuesday to Sat and breakfast and lunch Sundays. 6179 8812. 44/38 Mort Street.

Easy eating.

GOWNS AND MOVING RUNWAYS

Sixteen metres of tulle. A creation by Megan Canning Designs. Image: Martin Ollman.

You could feel their hearts beat. The hearts, that is, of the models wearing voluminous, long gowns at FASHFEST last Friday night (19 Oct). They weren’t just wearing magnificent pieces, they were wearing them while on the long, moving escalators in the foyer of the National Gallery that formed part of the overall runway.

How tricky was it? Consider this. One gown was created with a whopping 150 metres of tulle.

Would the fabric get caught? It didn’t and the show was nothing short of majestic.

Model: Kahu Kapea from HAUS Models.

‘The nature of this event meant we simply couldn’t go out for a broad model casting as we have in some other years,’ said Andrea Hutchinson who co-founded FASHFEST and who is also the event’s Model Director. ‘We needed experienced models who could not just walk in such large gowns, but handle them gracefully on moving escalators, first going down and then going up. It was tricky, especially entering and exiting the escalators. The models had to maneouvre them without interrupting the flow of the show or getting the garments caught.’

Another graceful gown by Megan Canning Designs. Image: Doug Hall, Studio Vita

FASHFEST is ‘changing it up’ and this was its first full show at a cultural institution. The event sold out, with VIP seats going first. Even the standing room upstairs at the top of the escalator was packed with guests staring down over the models for a very different perspective indeed.

The event started with Megan Canning Designs, with the showstopper, 16-metre tulle gown. It was breathtaking watching model Kahu Kapea, from HAUS Models, manage the gown while walking to the cool tunes of zares, Canberra DJ and electronic dance producer. And it wasn’t just Kahu who had to manage massive mounds of fabric. Many other models did too.

Super model Anneliese Seubert (l) with young designer Charly Thorn, walking the finale.

Next up was the evening luxe collection by young designer Charly Thorn, with legendary model Anneliese Seubert modelling an elegant long silk dress which Charly has fondly called the ‘Anneliese Dress’. Charly designed the bold black and white pattern, called ‘stargaze’, and had it printed in Sydney. Some solid pieces in the collection were made from wool and they all popped—pinks, yellows, greens and blues.

Charly Thorn’s new collection pops with colour.

Last, but not least, appeared the collection by Hajar Gala Couture, each piece exquisitely detailed. This is true couture. It takes ages for Hajar to design, fit and make each of her luxury gowns.

Hajar Gala Couture. Image: Martin Ollman.

Pre-show, guests gathered upstairs for a ‘Quandong Paint Cocktail’, created by Archie Rose for FASHFEST and inspired by Lichtenstein’s brushstrokes. As soon as the drink is swirled, the Quandong Paint leeches into it, changing the flavor from a simple gin old fashioned into a native peachy delight.

Models gracing moving escalators–a tricky business indeed, says FASHFEST’s Andrea Hutchinson. Image: Jack Mohr.

Pre and post-show, guests were entertained by Simon Anau while getting up close to a small exhibition of gowns by the three designers, to see just how much work goes into each one.

The National Gallery of Australia was a magnificent backdrop for the first ‘change it up’ event for FASHFEST. So what’s next? Clint Hutchinson says planning is well underway for the next major FASHFEST event in December and Canberrans might just see FASHFEST pop up in-between.

For exclusive updates and special offers, sign up to FASHFEST’s newsletter: www.fashfest.com.au

The Quandong Paint Cocktail created for FASHFEST by Archie Rose. Image: Martin Ollman.

Models from Devojka Models, Victoria’s Models and HAUS Models. Hair for the event led by Craig Rhodes using Sachajuan. MUA was led by Katie Saarikko, using Harlotte Cosmetics. The FASHFEST photography team is led by Leighton Hutchinson Photography.

Couture on the catwalk

Hajar Gala Couture. Image taken by Leighton Hutchinson Photography for FASHFEST at the NGA. Models (from left): Hellena from Devojka Models, and Emma from HAUS Models.

Ever since she was young, Hajar Gala has adored glorious gowns—elegant, beautifully designed and wonderfully crafted gowns. Today, the fashion designer is one of Australia’s most creative couturiers, running two busy ateliers for discerning women, one here in Canberra (Griffith shops) and one recently opened in Melbourne.

Hajar Gala Couture will present glorious gowns tomorrow night at the National Gallery of Australia as FASHFEST rolls out the first in a series of ‘change-it-up’ fashion events.

‘I believe that no matter how many times one redefines style, classical simplicity and charm can never be outdated,’ says Hajar, whose bespoke creations are carefully thought through from the first sketch, to the final fitting and then finishing touches.

Couturier Hajar Gala

Hajar formally trained in the French couture method at the International Fashion Academy in Europe, learning to meticulously place every stitch. ‘The traditional couture techniques emphasise design but also quality of construction,’ says Hajar. ‘The end result is a timeless treasure that holds its place in the world of luxury.’

At FASHFEST, Hajar will showcase 10 pieces, including some bridal and evening wear designs that first appeared in a collection at Paris Fashion Week (never before seen in Canberra). Models will bring the gowns to life, as they work their way down one of the massive escalators in the foyer of the NGA, and then along the runway and back up the opposite escalator.

Hajar’s gowns have also graced runways in other prestigious fashion shows internationally, including at Milan Fashion Week. Models are from Canberra’s top three agencies—Victoria’s Models, Devojka Models and HAUS Models.

One of Hajar’s creations. On location at Lake George. Image: Leighton Hutchinson Photography. Model: Courtney from HAUS Models.

‘I love the romance of the fine lines and beaded silhouettes of the 1920’s Jazz Age through to Old Hollywood glamour of the glorious 1950s,’ says Hajar, ‘and often reflect these in gowns, using only the best fabrics, all carefully sourced.’

Guests will also get up close to four other Hajar Gala Couture gowns in an exhibition FASHFEST will present tomorrow night and they can do so while sipping on special Quandong paint stroke’ cocktail, created by Archie Rose for FASHFEST and the NGA. Pieces by the two other designers in the show—Megan Cannings Designs and Charly Thorn—will also form part of the exhibition.

Hajar’s work has been extensively covered internationally, including in prestigious publications such as Collezioni Haute Couture. A shoot she did with Canberra’s Leighton Hutchinson, of Leighton Hutchinson Photography, and Courtney, from HAUS, appeared in the magazine. The shoot took place at Lake George.

Only a few seats are left for tomorrow night’s shows so snap one up if you’re keen. Standing room tickets are also available at only $35. The first show is 6.30 for a 7pm start and the second show (repeated) is 8 for an 8.30 start. http://www.fashfest.com.au/tickets