Sunday, December 4, 2016

A local story space

I was interviewed a couple of weeks ago by Jenni Mazaraki who I recently profiled on Miss Rosanna and her lovely post on me is now up on her blog - you can read about my local story space here.  It was an interesting experience to be the subject instead of the interviewer - something that I'm not completely comfortable with given I'm often the observer although I hope you can't tell in my story which is both online and available on Soundcloud as an audiocast. My thanks to Jenni once again for featuring me on her blog - look out for her name on the Creative Women's Circle blog, where she's just been appointed as a contributing blogger.
Local Story Space blog
With family birthday celebrations now out of the way, I've turned my mind to finishing my Christmas shopping.  The Ivanhoe Christmas Shopping event is being held on the 8 & 9 December, while the Sisters' Market in Brunswick is being held the 9 & 10 December with Markit@FedSquare on 11 December.
Markit@FedSquare image via Twitter
If you're in the mood for celebrating, the very popular Puesta del Sol (food, drinks & music poolside at sunset) at Montsalvat starts on 8 December while the Boulevard Lights in Ivanhoe start on 10 December - remember to avoid the Burke Road freeway exit while it's on.
Puesta del Sol image via Montsalvat
I'm now starting catch ups with friends and family in the lead up to the big day and I hope you are taking care of yourself at this time of year - it can be the most wonderful time of year if you're in a good place but a more difficult time, if things haven't gone so well or if you're not happy with where you're life is at.  Remember your own power, and part in things, and try not to compare yourself to anyone else.  In the words of Stephanie Dowrick - every day is a new beginning and not just limited to this time of year.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Down by the olive grove

While it's Christmas season for most of you, it's still birthday season for me and today I took Mr Rosanna out to Olivigna in Warrandyte to celebrate his birthday.  It's been there for a while now and a number of friends and family have visited.  It reminded me a little bit of Montalto at Red Hill or La Campagna/Sillitto at Cape Schanck, perhaps not quite in the same league but still with a lovely feel to it, great food and drink and beautiful hillside views onto the olive groves, vegetable garden and neighbouring paddocks full of horses!  There was a private event going on in the front area with beautiful young things all dressed up 1920s style and a car park full of European vehicles so I think it's definitely popular with well-heeled locals and retired types.
Mr R at the front of Olivigna
While the wineries in the Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula are beautiful, it's fantastic to have something like Olivigna so close by - I loved the vintage mint green vespa on display inside, the stylishly attired and professional looking staff as well as the copper piping which added to the industrial rustic feel inside.  Mr Rosanna took me back home via some of the more well worn bike paths that the more intrepid cyclists venture on here in the north east.  Banyule means 'hill' but neighbouring Nillumbik is just as hilly - no Beach Road here.
Main courses - tortolloni and ribiena pasta dishes
I'm hoping after this weekend, I will be able to start winding down for Christmas given the decorations that are now ready to be hung and Christmas events starting to happen around the place. The Twilight Market at the Ted Ajani Oval in Templestowe is on tomorrow night while my friend Helen Webster from Raffal is also holding her annual Christmas sale from 3 - 5 pm at the Uniting Church Hall at 19 Seddon Street in Ivanhoe, which will include scarves, stoles and jewellery.
Side view from outdoor terrace
On a more cultural note, the Heidelberg Symphony Orchestra is holding its Concert 4 'Marimba Fever' tomorrow at Ivanhoe Girls Performing Arts Centre while the Preston Symphony Orchestra is holding its December Concert on Sunday at the Preston Town Hall.  Enjoy your weekend!
Dining al fresco - Olivigna

Monday, November 28, 2016

On the hunt

There's another new cafe in Rosanna called Hunter Lane - on the site of the former Byzantine restaurant which closed a little while ago.  I think a cafe's going to do a lot better at that site near Rosanna station and library.  I'm not sure how long the council offices are going to be there given the plans for a supermarket but I think it's timely that a cafe has landed there.  When I first moved to Rosanna over 8 years ago, there were no groovy cafes so I'm glad our sleepy suburb is slowly changing.
Image via Gumtree
A few quick things to mention today if you are on the hunt for Christmas presents, the Lightly Design VIP shopping Night is on tomorrow and I did buy Mr Rosanna a Willow Swallow made from recycled plates as a present last Christmas.  The Kris Kringle Night Markets at Northcote Town Hall also start this week while closer to home, the OLMC Twilight Community Market is on this Friday.
Image via The Big Design Market Melbourne
The Big Design Market is on at the Royal Exhibition Building from 2 - 4 December and some friends of mine go there every year to buy their presents.  Don't forget too that Star Wars Rogue One tickets went on sale today - we've already booked to go to see it at IMAX Melbourne on the big screen.
Image via State Library Victoria
On another note, the On Air: 40 years of RRR exhibition is currently on at the State Library.  It's been curated by my fellow Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board Member Angela Bailey - I love a bit of community radio at the best of times and still listen to both RRR and PBS.  Have a great week!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Local profile - Valentina Maxwell-Tansley

I've known Valentina a number of years now.  We first met as members of the Banyule Arts and Culture Advisory Committee and now as fellow Board members at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre.  I've also seen Valentina's work in galleries given she wears a number of different hats!  She is one of the most dynamic people I know - someone who isn't afraid to step up and take on a leadership role, which I really admire.  Read on for more about the lovely Valentina...
Valentina Maxwell-Tansley photo by Janina Revill
Name: Valentina Maxwell-Tansley
Occupation: Artist, Designer and Creative Consultant
Lives/works: Thornbury 
How long have you lived/worked here? I first lived in Thornbury when I was a student at La Trobe in the late 1990s. After a stint working in the UK I ended up back in Thornbury and have been here now for 12 years.
Maxwell-Tansley artwork photo by Janina Revill
Describe yourself/what you do:
I started out as a musician and composer, however I was always the person who booked the gigs, designed the flyers and did the publicity. It’s no surprise that I ended up working in performing arts and venue management for over 15 years. During that time I worked on a lot of amazing projects, however after the arrival of my two boys it was time to take a step back.
Parallel photo by Janina Revill
Over the years I have dabbled in many creative pursuits, but it wasn’t until I was on maternity leave that I seriously started thinking about exploring my interest in the visual arts. Over the past few years I’ve been studying and practicing visual arts and design whilst juggling my freelance work as a Creative Consultant. I mainly work with government and creative businesses to develop strategies and business plans. I also sit on a number of arts advisory panels and am honoured to be the Chair of the Bundoora Homestead Arts Centre.  

Over the past year I’ve really immersed myself in printmaking, specifically monoprinting. I love the organised chaos that comes from monoprinting and my technique of using found objects creates really interesting results. I just staged an exhibition of my work at The Goodness Bureau and am already working on a couple of projects for next year.  

Best thing(s) about living/working in Melbourne’s north-east: 
I love the creative vibe of the northern suburbs. Where I live in Thornbury has really evolved over the past ten years, and I really like being able to do my shopping locally and support the local traders. There are so many great eateries opening up all the time, I just can’t keep up! It’s great to see the love returning to high street.

For more information: 

Thursday, November 24, 2016


This is the name of the new garden-inspired quilt exhibition by members of the Victorian Quilters Inc., that opened yesterday at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre with a special Garden Party Exhibition Launch this Saturday afternoon from 2 - 4 pm at the Homestead to celebrate both Regeneration and Verdant Garden.
Above: Susan Matthews Anigozanthos 5 (detail), 2015 Hand dyed cotton, linocut printing,
silk screen, ink, thread | 35 x 35cm Courtesy of the artist
It is an artistic week in that the 2017 Banyule Arts and Culture Program launch is being held tonight at Hatch Contemporary Arts Centre in Ivanhoe while its Alphington Open Studios this weekend along with it being the second weekend of the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios - there's lots going on.
Image via 2017 Banyule Arts & Culture Program Facebook page
If you're interested in starting your Christmas shopping, the first Heide Makers' Market is on this Saturday and I think would be a great market to go to as it's in collaboration with The Rose Street Artists Market.  It's been in the planning for a number of years now so I'm glad it's finally got off the ground.  Other markets on this weekend include the Sisters' Market in Brunswick along with the Guild Christmas Market at the Guild of Objects in North Melbourne.
Image via Heide Makers' Market Facebook page
If you're more interested in some exercise, the Family Bike Rally Day at Warringal Parklands in Heidelberg on Sunday sounds like fun (just watch out for the snakes!) - it includes a free sausage sizzle and there'll also be a coffee van at Possum Hollow.
L-R - MC Francis Leach, Dr Joanna Barbousas, John Marsden, Rosa Storelli & Professor Anthony McGrew
I'm a little weary after having run my final Bold Thinking Series lecture on the Education Revolution last night at the State Library followed by drinks and a bite to eat afterward with my team at Cookie on Swanston Street.  It was a packed event full of passionate and engaged teachers so the lecture itself went very fast and it was a real thrill to meet writer/teacher/school principal John Marsden who is still encouraging students to be subversive!  He stayed right until the very end and had a queue of people wanting him to sign their books and speak to him.
John Marsden and me - State Library Victoria
The lectures will be returning next year in what is going to be a big year at La Trobe which is celebrating its 50th Anniversary so a year of looking back but also a year of looking forward as it cements its reputation as an innovative university that produces career-ready graduates.  I may also be assisting the 50th Anniversary team promoting some of the launch events they have planned for early March so stay tuned.  I'll be back tomorrow with a local profile.

Nb: Miss Rosanna is a Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board member

Friday, November 18, 2016

By the light of the silvery moon

I'm not sure if you managed to see the full moon and 'supermoon' this week but it sure was spectacular.  It's the last time the moon will appear this close to Earth until 2034!  There is a magic to the moon light and night time has always had its own special appeal for the night owl in me.
Image via Night Noodle Markets Facebook page
Speaking of which, the Night Noodle Markets at Birrarung Marr opened last week and have been very popular with many of my work friends, who've visited not just once but a number of times to the Asian hawker-style markets.  It's a great idea for balmy Spring nights leading up to Summer finally starting next month here in Melbourne.  Also on this weekend is Broadsheet's Food and Design Weekend market behind the Spiegeltent in Collingwood.
Image via The 19th Australian National Northern Soul Weekender Facebook page
The 19th Australian Annual Northern Soul Weekender is being held from tonight at Thornbury Theatre and if I didn't have kids, this would be a fun one to go to.  Mr Rosanna and I have just finished bingeing on Netflix's Marvel Comic hero Luke Cage and loved seeing some of our favourite soul artists performing in the nightclub owned by the baddies.
Image via Artist Open Studios Facebook page
If you're interested in getting out and about the Nillumbik Artists Open Studios is on this weekend and next featuring the work of some of my favourite local artists and more.  The Annual Love Heide Dinner is also being held tomorrow night at the Sofitel to raise funds for Heide - I was lucky enough to go as a guest last year to this event where participating artists donate limited edition artwork for those who want to bid.  This year's work is by Melinda Harper.
Image via Banyule City Council
If you have children, you may be more interested in the Clifton Hill Primary School Fair being held tomorrow or the Malahang Community Festival being held this Sunday in West Heidelberg.  Sunday looks like being a cracker of a day so enjoy the weekend!

Friday, November 11, 2016

Keeping calm

It's a changed world political landscape since I last posted and while things feel uncertain, there's a lot to be said for staying calm and carrying on with normal life (as per Winston Churchill's famous war time words) while things are left to settle.  I do wonder what the world would be like if we had more female leaders but I also think leadership isn't an easy thing.  I've actually been asked to run a workshop at a leadership summit being held interstate next year so I will reveal more closer to the time.
David Hockney English 1937- Yosemite 1 October 16th 2011 (1059) iPad drawing Collection of the artist © David Hockney

Spring feels like it has definitely sprung today and I've been enjoying my time in the garden and pottering around my house.  There are a few things I wanted to mention in relation to this.  David Hockney has just opened at the NGV, and La Trobe University where I work, has a partnership with both the NGV and State Library Victoria.  A friend of mine went to the launch where 79 year old Hockney was present and his colourful landscapes and garden scenes are just beautiful.
Green Garden 2015 by Elizabeth Nelson image via Bundoora Homestead Art Centre
Verdant Garden opens at Bundoora Homestead Art Centre on Saturday 26 November drawing inspiration from the role of the garden on contemporary life and includes works by Mark Dober, Sarah Hendy, Penelope Hunt, Gina Kalabishis, Elizabeth Nelson, David O'Brien, Alice Wormald and more.  The Homestead itself has a heritage garden which is a lovely place to visit.
The Six Seasons of My Backyard image via Leanne Cole
I did catch Tim Ross' show on ABC 'Streets Of Your Town' on Tuesday night and got a thrill seeing the Rosanna Golf Links Estate (where family and friends still live) featured as some of the Merchant Builders homes have gardens by Ellis Stones.  Locally, fine art photographer Leanne Cole is holding her book launch of 'The Six Seasons of My Backyard' at the Old Shire Offices in Heidelberg on Thursday 24 November.  Regrettably I can't make it to Leanne's launch but will be interested in buying a copy of her book for Christmas and you can buy them directly from her if you are local.

Finally, the annual Strawberry Fair held at Rosanna Uniting Church at Arden Crescent is on tomorrow from 9.30 - 2.30 pm and if the weather is as sunny as today, it will be a great event to go to!  Have a good one.

Nb. Miss Rosanna is a Bundoora Homestead Art Centre Board of Management member