Sunday, 15 April 2018

Inspiring Art

I was lucky to be in Melbourne a couple of weekends ago and visited the NGV to see the Triennial exhibition. It included a wonderful feast of inspiring and diverse artworks that were sometimes challenging, moving and joyful. We spent almost two days slowly working our way around the exhibits. I am wishing I had taken more photos to share but I have included just a couple here.

The piece above was amazing and combines ancient Indigenous weaving techniques with recycled materials of modern day society (plastic bottles were included as part of some of the lamps structures). It is a collaborative work by Spanish designer, Alvaro Catalán de Ocón and Yolngu weavers from Bula'bula Arts in Ramingining and was absolutely beautiful suspended above us.

This sculptural installation by Xu Zhen was massive and took up most of the space outside the Great Hall. My image shows only a small section of this monolithic sculpture which juxtaposed the ancient reclining Budda dating from the High Tang Dynasty (705-781) with various replicas of well known Greco-Roman, Renaissance and Neoclassical sculptures. It was quite awe-inspiring.

On the second floor of the gallery we found Australian artist Ron Mueck's amazing installation of large scale hand cast human skulls. Such a powerful work both in scale and meaning.

The last photo is of the very popular installation by Yayoi Kusama. This work was quite an immersive experience as viewers walked through several rooms set up to represent a domestic setting in a house which was almost completely covered in flowers. Delightful, playful and quite beautiful.

Of course there were also some very unsettling works that challenged and provoked serious and important questions like the audiovisual work by Richard Mosse that used thermal imaging and filmed incredibly moving aspects of the Syrian refugee crisis. 

When we left the exhibition after our second visit I was buzzing with ideas and also so grateful to see such an incredibly important collection of artworks and reminded about the importance of the artists voice in communicating feelings, emotions, ideas and shedding light on difficult political and social issues.

Saturday, 24 March 2018

Egg and Bunny Time!

As Easter draws near our family is bringing out our eggs from past years to add to a rather giant 'nest' construction that adorns our main table at this time of year. I love the process of unwrapping each egg as if it was a treasure from past years and carefully placing it within the nest. We add our latest dyed, painted or collaged eggs as well as fresh autumn leaves, rose hips and moss from our garden.

A couple of years ago we painted and collaged tiny oval boxes as a small Easter gift for a local store and kept a small one with us as part of our Easter collection at home.

In Tasmania the beautiful Autumn colours are rapidly appearing in the garden but the days are still quite warm and gentle - perfect for relaxed family times together.

May this Easter be a safe and comforting time for everyone and shared with family and friends.

Friday, 2 March 2018

Change of Seasons

So it is officially Autumn! The sun is still shining in Hobart, Tasmania and to date there is very little change of colour in the trees but the days are beginning to noticeably shorten.

We have been incredibly busy making nests of late and it is heartening to have so much interest in our little nature creations. As Easter is on its way we are also creating some more of our eggs that are covered in vintage book papers and maps. As a limited edition we are also adding drawn elements to one or two eggs to create a unique and dramatic effect. These photos show the front and back of one of these eggs.

Below is a photo of one of our recent tiny nests we have made. This one sits comfortably in cupped hands and would look lovely nestled under a glass dome or sitting amongst a collection of favourite found objects.

We hope you are enjoying the changing of the seasons where ever you are - Autumn and Spring are definitely our favourite seasons of the year.

Thursday, 15 February 2018


We are currently making more nests for The Black Hen as our last order sold out in one day! Julie takes beautiful photos of our nests for her online store and packages them carefully to be posted out to customers.

Each nest is handmade from vines, ferns, creepers, dried seed pods, feathers and mosses that we collect at Bruny Island, bush tracks and in our own garden.  Although making the nests is a time-consuming process, after we have shaped the basic forms of the nests and left them to 'set' into their shape the fun starts as we add special elements to give each nest it's own character and uniqueness. We are so happy that they are also being enjoyed by others through stores like The Black Hen of Elizabeth Town and soon to be found at Crazy Beautiful Homewares in Hawkesbury. We are consciously limiting stockists of our nests at the moment so that we can ensure the quality of our product and be able to meet our order commitments.

We are trialing a few new products in our own online store at the moment and these little circular swing tags make a delightful decorative element to gift wrapping or they can be written on the reverse side. I like to tie on some feathers with the tag for an especially natural effect.

We are nearing the end of summer in Australia and the days are starting to shorten as we gear up for the colder months. Autumn is one of our favourite seasons so we are looking forward to nature's spectacular colour changes.

Thursday, 25 January 2018

A Year Ahead

Well, we can hardly believe that Christmas has gone for another year and the New Year is already well underway!

At Two in a Teacup we are starting to get back into 'making' now and so new nests are under construction for 'The Black Hen's' beautiful online store and our popular vintage paper covered eggs are also being created ready for Easter!

We have had a wonderful break and both feel inspired for the coming year. We hope 2018 is a healthy, creative and happy one for everyone.

                                                     Beach collecting

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Almost Christmas!

My daughter and I are not full time makers - although we wish we were - and so October and November are two of the busiest months for us both, in our work and study commitments. Every year we vow and declare that we will start making for Christmas in the middle of the year so that we can have lovely things ready to sell on our shop come November. This year is unfortunately like the previous ones and we are chasing our tails to make and organise enough lovely things for our favourite seasonal time of the year.

We are lovers of natural style and so when we design our Christmas wrappings for our family and friends each year, we turn to combining twigs, pine cones and vintage papers and then add a little sparkle with tiny lights or a splash of red.

In the shop, we have just added our swallow vintage paper garlands which, in past years, have been a real favourite and make a great gift. There are also some lovely vintage music paper circle garlands which look fabulous draped on the tree, hung from the mantlepiece or edging the Christmas table as well as nestled among pine cones, tiny fairy lights and flowers for a festive table setting.

We have also made some classic black and white gift tags and small cards with hand stamped images of a bird, tree, deer and pinecone. These add a graphic and stylish addition to gifts and have a hand made feel rather than mass produced as we use lovely soft toned 210gm artists paper.

We will be adding more Christmas shopping ideas over the next couple of weeks so keep a look out.

We hope that you are all finding time in each day to celebrate the upcoming festive season in special ways and remembering that Christmas is really about spending time with the people we love and care about and making sure they know they are in our hearts.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

More Nests in Production

Earlier this year we were commissioned to make a really large nest that measured a meter and a half in diameter. We had never made a nest structure so huge but we loved the new challenge to make such a large sculptural work.

Now we are making twenty four nests for the Tourism Tasmania Gala Night event held in Hobart in November. These nests will measure about 20cm in diameter and will be entwined with tiny fairy lights on the night. We live in a tiny house so every flat surface is starting to be covered in nests in various stages of development!!

After we collect the vine and native seed pods, ferns, moss and twigs from the bush it is then quite a process to form each nest. If the vine has dried out too much we soak it and then it may need to be shaped and placed into a bowl to mould the form as it dries. We still have many of the twenty four nests to make yet but there is evidence of quite a few beginnings of nest forms dotted about our home.

We are looking forward to adding all the embellishments once the nest structures are all formed. We are planning on adding feathers as well as some egg shaped river stones and small banksia pods inside the nests. It does seem appropriate that we are making our nests in Spring and in our own garden we have resident blackbirds busily making their nests too! Best wishes to you all.