Mag Square

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

in the spotlight : reissued

Today we talk to Jacqui Porter of REISSUED who will be showing at Magnolia Square, Malvern Town Hall, October 21-23. 

What inspired you to begin reissued?
I have always had an interest in art, architecture and interior design and a penchant for ‘junk shops’. I was ready for a creative change in my working life, fiddling around with chairs seemed natural enough.

How would you describe your design aesthetic?
Where interior art meets the green edge - or something of that nature. I am interested in the new life that contemporary sustainable fabrics can create when placed on vintage furniture. I like the re purposing of products or materials.

How else/where else do you show your furniture?
Through the winter months I had a stall at the Rose St artist market in Fitzroy. I was also involved in May at the Stitches and Craft show out at Caulfield and Craft Hatch at the City Library.

From time to time I have a few pieces of furniture for sale at olive Grove Studios 159 Sydney Rd Brunswick and at Memoirs vintage clothing at 502 Victoria Street North Melbourne.

My studio is currently open by appointment, but I am considering opening every Friday from 12-3pm over the coming months of Spring.  {Contact Jacqui on 0403 500 824}

Your favourite magazine?
That’s a difficult question – a few for a variety of different reasons, but with respect to interior mags my favourites would include Green, Inside Out, Habitus and Wallpaper.

Your favourite blog?
Save for this one! Design files and Habitat. I’m not much of a blog reader (wrong generation I think) so they usually come in the form of an e newsletter.

How do you source the furniture pieces?
In all kinds of ways really junk shops, garage sales, medium strips, auctions, ebay and the like, some have even been gifted.

Why do you love what you do?
I am really enjoying the creative challenge and the new venture in a creative environment. Most of all I love the idea of reusing and some times re purposing products. I love resurrecting furniture that looks jaded or dated to create a piece that is more beautiful or interesting than it once was.

click here for images on flickr

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bird Textiles Emporium

Directly across the road from david met nicole in Surry Hills is Bird Textiles.  Unfortunately owner Rachel Bending was not in the store on Saturday but after a quick phone call I had the ok to take some pics.  Phew!  I would have been very disappointed not to share these.  The Bird Textiles store was formerly a dispensing chemist and is still fitted out with the original cabinetry.  It looked amazing and the perfect way to dispay these beautiful textiles.

Look at these gorgeous beach umbrella's, ensuring eco-chic sun protection!  Buy them online here along with lots of other homewares, gifts and fashion made in the distinctive bird textiles fabric range. 

I love these old bobbins of bias binding made from Rachel's textiles - much easier than cutting it yourself!

Bird Textiles Emporium
380 Cleveland Street
Surry Hills, Sydney

Useful Links

Check out the beautiful home of Rachel Bending at Design Files

Sunday, August 29, 2010

David met Nicole

This shop in Surry Hills, Sydney has been on my radar for a long time; it grabbed my attention a few years back because I am Nichole (yes with an H) and my husband is David! We were in Sydney this weekend and it was on top of my list.

It is a small space but it is jam packed to the rafters with vintage industrial and nostalgic objets d'art . This little wonder emporium has a distinctly British flavour.  The union jack features prominently both in flag form and as soft furnishings (read cushions).  Also in abundance were globes of all sizes such as this beauty in the front window.

I was amazed by the size of each collection.  Not one or two wooden shoe lasts but hundreds, ditto for old bobbin reels with characteristic worn painted ends in lovely colours.  Old preserving jars and milk bottles a plenty.  I had to exercise restraint on those because I love old vessels as vases and also for holding candles (with a little moss in the bottom).

Centre stage for me were these enormous bowls of old rubber stamps and vintage wooden printers blocks of all shapes, sizes and fonts galore.  I have a fun DIY project which I will share on the blog in a couple of weeks.

 Vintage marquee metal letters by the basketful ...

Old key rings discarded by their former collectors and scoured from around the world - I'm sure I had some of those swinging off my school bag back in the 70's.

Metal soldiers, sailors and farming folk standing all in a row.

and adorable little British flags in mint condition.  I am regretting not buying one of these - I would love to frame one.

And this was my exciting purchase - 3 very old wooden story book blocks circa 1880 depicting the stories, The Marriage of Jenny Wren and The Death of Cock Robin.The illustrations have a chinoiserie feel and the wornness of each surface just adds to their charm.

If you cannot make it to Surry Hills anytime soon you'll be very happy to know they have an exhaustive online catalogue (not a shop per se) from which orders can be placed.  Have you been here?  Let me know what you thought - comments below!

david met nicole
382 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, Sydney

Saturday, August 28, 2010

crafty & clever hands

Some of my favourite blogs and online shops are of the clever craft variety.  Never ceases to amaze me what can be done with a needle and thread, oh and a very skilled pair of hands!  These feathered creations are the work of NY artist Anne Wood whose birds are one off or part of a very small flock.

Etsy is of course the source for incredible craft from small makers all around the world.  These art dolls are the work of  a young Belgain based histroy student. I love the reference to vaudeville style in her work. This maker is also part of the Cabinet of Curiosities etsy team, a collective of etsy sellers showing items best described as wonderful, whimsical and obscure.

Esty shop at

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

LUcÉ handmade scarves

What a treat! Anne Mason of LUcÉ handmade is having a little clearance AND giving away a scarf to a lucky snippets reader.  Anne hand makes one off garments by carefully re purposing knitwear pieces and introducing beautiful fabric remnants, often vintage. Her unique combination of textures and colour are signature to her niche look.

With a sustainable focus, each item is created organically and constructed individually. Original and unlike mass produced goods, their uniqueness is a part of the LUcÉ handmade design philosophy.

Until 1st September purchase a special LUcÉ handmade scarf for only $50 (below cost in most cases).
how to buy
click above to view the catalogue then email your contact details including phone number to with the reference letter of the scarf you would like to buy. Anne will contact you and arrange the rest including free (standard) postage.

how to win
For the opportunity to win an original LUcÉ handmade scarf email your name and address and 25 words about why you'd love to win.  Send to  Winner will be contacted directly and published on this blog next week.
Winner was Jenny BenPorath of South Caulfiled - drawn 2 Sep 2010

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

luscious & lovely colour

Sunday morning was glorious in Melbourne and I was excited to be out and about enjoying it.  The Mozi windows in Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn got me like they do every time and before I knew it i was oohing and ahhing about every darn thing in the shop.  I was admiring their small but spot on collection of jewellery when I spotted these beautiful shiny bauble like wooden beads in the most TO DIE FOR colours you can imagine.

I admired them for some time before leaving empty handed (which by the way took a ridiculous amount of restraint!). The artist was Kristina Klarin; something was ringing a bell.  A little bit of research took me to her blog colour stripes and then the penny dropped!  Kristina has done a couple of blog posts for us in the past, here and here. How did I not know that she also created these amazing necklaces?

Kristina's inspiration for colour comes from the everyday, like the colour of petals & leaves in a puddle or the worn and peeling paint from a door 100 years old.  Kristina is an avid traveller and records in journeys in images.

See her work at Mozi in Hawthorn or online here. Dont miss the spring collection here.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

DIY decorating idea #1

You might remember this cut and paste project from a couple of weeks ago. We made 5 panels like this to merchandise a small area at Magnolia Square, promoting the snippets blog.  The feedback on our "art panels" was great and many of you wanted to know where the wallpaper was from. "Er um, I cant remember" was my reply at the time but I did promise to get back to you!

A bit of background. UK artists Chris Taylor and Craig Wood worked in collaboration to produce this inspired design for wallpaper company Graham & Brown.  It has gone on to become a big seller.

the brief 
I wanted to create a space at our event that visually described what the snippets blog was about.  This frames wallpaper turned out to be the perfect way to show individual, almost random ideas, colours, shapes, textures & objects merging and telling a story in one place.

I think this is exactly what the designers had in mind. The wallpaper is a starting point to what essentially becomes a creative work in progress.

the method
Buy the wallpaper on a 10m roll ($99 per roll) from Graham & Brown, who have an online business within Australia. The width is 52.1cm.

Start tearing - my large collection of home and fashion mags came in very handy.  I followed no particular theme or colour (ok, yellow featured heavily!), instead I ripped out anything inspiring, pretty, cool, edgy, quirky or that other wise jumped off the page. Out came the glue stick and some 10 hours later a collage of ideas was beginning to take form.

To improve the sturdiness of the panels we whipped up some very basic wooden frames and attached the wallpaper to the frames using double sided tape.

the outcome & applications
A simple but inspired round up of stuff that we like and take inspiration from.  In our case it was portable but of course feel free to stick it to the wall!  There are lots of uses.  Here are a few; in the playroom to showcase kinder work, at the office as a notice board, covered in family snaps and mementos to tell the story of your life.

A alternative pastime to reading the paper on the loo ...

useful links

tutorial on how to wallpaper
completely divine wallpaper here by elli popp

Thursday, August 19, 2010

our crush on old stuff

What is it about old stuff that we are so attracted to? For me it is the thrill of the chase, finding a diamond in a old pile of what someone else might consider junk. It reminds us of our history.  It is a strange feeling when you come across something in a vintage shop that your parents or grandparents may have had.  It makes you reassess items that you took for granted or maybe even disliked because they were a little worn, chipped or torn (smelly even!).

Perfect example.  If you told me back in the 1980's (my high school years) that I'd be coveting old test tube stands one day and using them to display floral arrangements I would not have believed you.  But there you have it.  These are simply too cool for school no? And I love the botanical specimen feel about this; again referencing old ideas. This is an etsy find, they do ship around the world though.  Here for more.

on etsy, click for details

For me, decorating with random old finds is creative expression at its best.  I am more interested in the small details like old jars, shoe lasts and cotton reels than i am in the couch, the rug or the dining table. The fun extends equally well into the children's rooms.  These are old flash cards which have been cut up and strung together to make a bunting.  The typefaces found on old school supplies are fabulous.

Martine Booth of Vintage Prints (yes a Mag Square retailer), has created an entire business around putting to good use, old papers.  Who'd of guessed the old Jacaranda atlas with dog eared pages could reinvent itself with such style!

I also LOVE vintage ephemera and thanks to a digital age these old bits of paper, tickets, receipts et al  can  exist in perpetuity (in cyberspace anyway). I love this curated collection on flickr called instant ancestors - view the slide show here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

picture this

Giving a gift that really is personal and also unique is not easy.  If we're honest, most of us have everything we need and we don't usually wait for the next birthday to come around to indulge ourselves.  Here are a couple of simple ideas (usually the best ones) that will make the recipient of your gift very cheerful and make you, the giver of the gift, look oh so clever.

images via

UK artist Holly-Anne Rolfe has turned her passion and skill for illustrating houses into a side business; her day job is designing for the Conran Group.  Holly draws and paints house portraits and makes bespoke stationery items. Send a photo of said house to holly and she will complete a line drawing of the house, make it into a rubber stamp and send it back to you along with a black ink pad.

The possibilities are endless - hand stamped wrapping paper (starting with an inexpensive roll of brown craft paper), gift tags stamped onto shipping tags with brown string, book plates, letter head, back of envelopes etc etc. Lots of fun if you are a stationary buff like me(it would be a case of what shouldn't I stamp!)

The other idea I am loving are these hand illustrated book collections by artist Jane Mount at the Ideal Bookshelf.  I can't think of anything more gorgeous than creating a beautiful keepsake like this for each of my children, containing the books that they were/are especially fond of.  It is like a snap shot in a moment of their childhood. 

I am just trying to recall what my own childhood "ideal bookshelf" would have contained and Enid Blyton pretty much dominates the landscape - The Far Away Tree, Mr Pink Whistle, Naughty Amelia Jane, the Wishing Chair.  Maybe I could commission a retrospective bookshelf, that would be nice.

useful links

read more about this clever project here
go to the etsy shop to buy or order

Monday, August 16, 2010

i see the future?

Being a convener of retail space myself (albeit pop up) I have a keen interest in retail trends & the psychology of shopping. A trip to buy sunglasses yesterday turned into a shopping experience that left me marvelling. I am talking about the largest optical store in the southern hemisphere, the 1500 square metre OPSM eye hub, just opened in Hawthorn.

The 2,000 + frames on offer was impressive but I was more blown away by the experiential “stuff” around the edges. The space is designed (loosely) around the shape of an eye and is more akin to a gallery than a shop. The interior scheme is modern and parred back with blonde wood floors and modular cabinetry. The mirrors are interactive and become a screen that playback your new look. The kids are catered for with a hip zone of their own (with bulit in eyeball style seating!).

 image via

Help yourself to a latte (sorry barista not provided), admire the living green wall, interact with the simulation rooms to make sure your glasses perform under windy and glarey conditions and seek personalised service from product stylists!

Both fashionista’s and geeks are catered for. The “vault” in the centre of the space has the latest designer frames from Europe, including a pair of Bvglari sunnies made from gold and studded with diamonds – an investment piece shall we say, at $18,000. 

Geeks are hailed as shaping fashion trends in the front of the store with showcase plinths telling us that geeks are chic. 

 And no modern day retail story is complete without an eco twist. Just pop your old specs in the recycle bin and give the gift of sight to someone in a developing country. (No doubt some cool "vintage" stuff in there).

We expect stores with bells and whistles from the luxury fashion houses and even top sports brands but is a multi faceted sensory experience necessary when purchasing a pair of specs or sunglasses? Maybe in Hong Kong or Shanghai but suburban Hawthorn?  We'll see.

useful links
the space is by experiential design agency e2 at