Art & Exhibition/Space & Display

The minimalist approach to art and its display has been ousted: white walls, severe lines & seriousness is a thing of the past. The new look, and one that sings to me, is a residential approach in conjunction with display, right at the source of conception & production: the studio, warehouse or workshop.

Some great examples I have experienced on my global jaunts this year:

-The Alexander McQueen exhibit at The Met was a genius of interior design (creative director Sam Gainsbury and production designer Joseph Bennett) that covered a variety of textures & finishes and placed McQueen’s genius in a residential-like series of rooms.

-Palazzo Fortuny for the Biennale, Axel Verdoodt’s curation & display at the impressive palazzo collection, as well as his own, straddled the notion of residential and workshop setting. Spread over four floors, the existing finishes & textures of the building are highlighted through ambient lighting & play with additional structures & paint complementing the ancient materials of the palazzo. There is a beauty in the untouched, raw, walls & finishes- the imperfections embraced and highlighted. The play of the old & modern reveals the special in the finished artworks as they hang overhead, encased, flat or 3D, projected or centre-stage. A vast mix of installation, modern art, sculpture, video, ancient rugs, furniture and fortuny fabrics that line the walls, giant in scale, to create the backdrop of some of the styled areas. Comfortable linen covered sofas scattered with fortuny covered cushions are mixed in for visitors to relax & immerse themselves. I could live here.

-Musee de la Chasse et de la Nature (see my post): the stag & wolf room play on placement with B&B Italia sofas that face one another in the centre of a wood panelled room with soft floor lights offering a lounge room environment, even though you are looking at bronze sculptures attached to the ceiling, a full size stag in one corner, a smiling wolf and ancient tapestries that line the walls.

-Glasstress is a contemporary art exhibition on the new concept and interpretation of Murano glass in Venice. It was held in an old glass blowing factory, old kilns & all. The lighting of the space is considered along with the art, the vista, placement, interaction & discovery for the curious visitor. The sense of surprise & intrigue this delivers creates a level of depth, made of many layers & textures that only exaggerate & amplify the the integrity of the show. Many of the pieces, all integrating glass, are site specific or in the least, placed with much consideration & thought within and against the existing industrious space of exposed brick, uneven concrete floors & arched panelled windows.



This workshop is for everyone of course, but would be especially perfect for all you collectors out there. So many beautiful things and no way to show them off! In this workshop I talk about & demonstrate my fascination with diaramas & domes, and show how they can be used to display your treasures & objet trouve.

The simple art of creating mini worlds under glass and displaying your odds & ends in 3D forms can be the most simple and perfect way to turn your tucked away collections into beautiful still-lifes.

Bottle of wine, open mind & treasures necessary!


LETA KEENS: Honest Trades

Leta Keens the editor of my third book, Nomad, but a like-minded spirit who I adore & admire as well as author of must-have book, ‘Shoes for the Moscow Circus’. Leta hosted and discussed old-fashioned trades that continue to thrive in Australia. Her fascination & long history with specialized crafts people & their interesting workshops inspired her content & photographic record in ‘Shoes for the Moscow Circus’. She ‘showed-and-told’ some of the trades in her book which cover broom-makers, doll parts, flag structuring & of course shoes for the Moscow circus amongst many others. It was an absolute pleasure & hit.

“Twenty-odd years ago I visited a terrazzo factory. It wasn’t the first factory I’d ever visited – as a kid, I’d been to some distant relative’s clock factory, and gone on a school excursion to a biscuit factory and then, on a working holiday in England, had a short-lived job counting nuts and bolts in a handmade car factory. But the terrazzo factory was the first one that made a lasting impression – the old Italians working there, the great stacks of terrazzo in pastel tones, the rusty old 44 gallon drums full of intensely coloured pigment, and just the fact that something could look like nothing from outside, and be completely gorgeous inside. I wrote about that factory in a magazine that closed down soon after…and so did the factory. For years, I thought it would make a fantastic series in a magazine – visiting factories and writing about them. But the right magazine didn’t exist. Luckily for me, a publisher asked me to write a book.

Shoes for the Moscow Circus is a celebration of trades & industries – dirty words in our society, I’ve realised. I visited more than 25 factories & workshops for the book (including an umbrella factory, a broom factory and a place that makes robes for clergy) and what I found was completely unexpected. In the workshop I’d like to share some of those discoveries – of the people, most of whom don’t realise they’re doing anything special; the places, which ranged from an oversized shed in a suburban street to a semi-industrial complex; and the amazing objects they make, many of which are better known overseas than they are here.”




This workshop is so much fun! For the first time we hired a studio & built an entire set! I constantly get asked how to create a space that reflects the owner’s personality & lifestyle. In this workshop I create a set or a replica of an interior right in front of your eyes. I show you the tricks of the trade, how to choose layer & get a sense of self.

Although it is a a set-build on the night, it can be easily translated into your home and you pick up tips & discover the stylist within. I cover wall treatment, flooring suggestions, lighting, furniture placement and various other secrets!!



I believe that every person has their own colour palette.

It can be found by looking carefully at the things you surround yourself with: your clothes, the invitations & ephemera you keep, patterns you buy, jewellery you wear, even your teacups & plates! If you put your favourite things together you notice the same colours are repeated again & again. From this you can discover the colours that make you happy, how they can sit together & be applied into your interiors.

In this workshop I demonstrate & chat about how I come up with my paint palettes & show examples of them in interiors I have created. Guests welcomed & encouraged to bring some of their favourite things for discussion.



This was our first ever studio held at The Society inc. This is a ‘show-and-tell’ where I demonstrate styling tricks & tips with sticks, stones & bones. It shows you that the most simple of things can come together as a beautiful focal piece or arrangement.

I find my treasures in all sorts of haunts & on jaunts and I encourage guests to bring their own! (I was even given a birds nest & fossilised sea urchin as a gift- lucky me!).

The workshop explains how to display & utilise your finds, and how I make decisions whilst styling a mantel, place setting & table centrepiece.

Questions, discussions & problem pieces/areas encouraged!