Sunday, 30 September 2018


Hello all,

It is spring in Melbourne and my garden is doing its darnedest to make up for the winter bareness. I've been inundated with fresh spring material that is crying out to be cut and arranged. However, my mobility is still quite limited due to recent injuries and the way to get around is to limp very slowly around the house and garden. But I will not be deterred from taking advantage of all this wonderful material, much of which I planted months ago and which is very short lived. Hence my decision to focus on simplicity.

I should point out, however, that simple does not always equate with easy. In fact it often takes a great deal of effort to make something look simple. Below is one example. At first glance, one could be forgiven for thinking that I merely placed the tulips (grown by me) in the little vases. But, with the hole much larger than the stems, the tulips flopped in one or other direction. I had to devise a method to keep them upright.

And here it is. I inserted a piece of wire into the bottom of the tulip stem and carefully placed the wire and stem into the vase. The wire helped to stabilize the stem and stop it from falling forward.

For this next arrangement, I used stems of the arum lilies that I had shaped whilst they were growing. Otherwise they would not keep the curve, they would kink, instead. The container is one I made many years ago.

Variegated agave and crucifix orchid
(The two agaves are wired inside the vase)
Magnolia liliiflora nigra

The first of my neighbour's roses

Variegated agave and Dutch iris

Green Goddess lilies
(Wired in 3 places to keep this shape)

Spirea cantoniensis and rhododendron

Many stems and leaves had to be removed to reveal these interesting shapes.

I leave you with this cute little arrangement, which was very easy to do thanks to the container with the three holes.

Bye for now,

Friday, 21 September 2018

$250,000 Southern Way McClelland Commission Announced


Artists John Meade and Emily Karanikolopolous have been awarded the $250,000 Southern Way McClelland Commission 2018 for their elegant sculpture, Love Flower, to be installed in August 2019.

The monumental and enchanting new sculpture will be sited along the Peninsula Link freeway in Melbourne’s South East as part of a unique and award-winning commitment to public art. It will replace Gregor Kregar’s sculpture Reflective Lullaby that is located on the Cranbourne road site, on the Langwarrin exit ramp close to McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery.

This major commission forms part of an ongoing program of new sculptures that will alternate every two years between sites at Skye Road and Cranbourne Road along Peninsula Link, resulting in 14 commissions over the 25-year period to 2037. Southern Way generously donates funding for the sculptures. After four years on public display the commissions form part of McClelland’s permanent sculpture collection.

‘The fifth in this highly regarded series of Southern Way McClelland Commissions, John Meade and Emily Karanikolopolous’ Love Flower will be iconic and awe inspiring. As public sculpture this work will engage in ways with the aesthetics of nature, as well as being an absolutely magical sight for all who pass by,’ says Lisa Byrne, Director, McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery.

Simon Lawrie, The Balnaves Curator of Australian Sculpture at McClelland, says ‘Love Flower has been selected from more than 60 submissions, and will be installed at the Cranbourne Road site in late 2019. Gregor Kregar’s Reflective Lullaby, affectionately known as the ‘Chrome Gnome’, will be removed and replaced with the new work by Meade and Karanikolopolous, which is bound to enchant locals and visitors to the Mornington Peninsula. This is the fifth sculpture to be created for display along Peninsula Link for a period of 4 years, before being donated to McClelland Gallery + Sculpture Park for permanent display.’

The Southern Way McClelland Commission received 65 submissions from local, interstate and international artists. The commission judging panel was Lisa Byrne, Director, McClelland Sculpture Park+Gallery, Maudie Palmer AO, former inaugural Director of Heide Museum of Modern Art and TarraWarra Museum of Art; and sculptor Lisa Roet.

John Meade was born in Ballarat in 1956 and currently lives and working in Melbourne. He studied Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts, before completing a Masters of Arts at RMIT and a PhD in Fine Art at Monash University. He lectures at Monash University and the University of Melbourne. Meade’s practice draws relations, often humorous and unexpected, between the metaphysical and surreal in the experience of contemporary life and domestic culture. For more information see here

Meade has exhibited widely both nationally and internationally, including From Will to Form, TarraWarra Biennial, curated by Emily Cormack, TarraWarra Museum of Art, 2018; The Enigma Code, Sara Scout curated by Kate Daw, 2018. Recent solo exhibitions include Set Piece, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne, 2016 and Autumn, Sutton Gallery, Melbourne 2014, and he has completed prominent sculpture commissions such as Riverside Corolla, Southbank, Melbourne in 2011, and Progeny, Heide Museum of Modern Art in 2006. His work is held in major private and public collections throughout Australia, and he is represented by Sutton Gallery, Melbourne.

Emily Karanikolopoulos is an Australian artist who is a teacher and practitioner of the Japanese floral arrangement art of Sogetsu Ikebana. She is an active member of the Ikebana community of Australia, and she has attained the highest possible Ikebana accreditation outside Japan. She has exhibited in the Sogetsu Ikebana Exhibition Takashima Shinjuku in 2014, and has been awarded three first places in the Melbourne International Flower Show Shop Window competition. For more information see here
McClelland  Sculpture Park+Gallery, 390 McClelland Drive, Langwarrin.

John Meade is represented by Sutton Gallery in Melbourne.

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 Hello all,
 Many of you would, already, have seen the above press release but I'm sure there are many that have not, so I thought I'd share it with you now that it is official. John and I are quite excited about it, we just have to make it happen.

When speaking with people about this project, I was quite surprised at how few people knew of the McClelland Sculpture Park and Gallery. We are very lucky in Melbourne to have such a place. I highly recommend a visit and to allow enough time to walk around the grounds to see all the sculptures. There is, also, a warm and friendly cafe to rest and enjoy a late after your walk. Anyone interested in art would enjoy an afternoon there.

Those of you who have read my previous post will know that I am recovering from some injuries I sustained during a recent 'holiday' in Western Australia. I am improving every day but I'm a long way from being back to normal. I'm very grateful to my family and, in particular, my husband, Sam, for all their help.

The day after we returned home, I received a large bunch of beautiful flowers, sent by my friend Gwen. Despite my inability to move without pain, I couldn't let such lovely material go to waste, especially because I don't use store bought flowers very often. I thought I'd make one arrangement but, after I finished with that, I had to do another and so  on. When I finished, I was physically a wreck but my spirits were lifted and I felt better mentally.

"Focusing on the Uses of Water'
Haemanthus lily leaf and miniature chrysanthemums
Siberian dogwood, stock flowers and miniature chrysanthemums

Magnolia and miniature chrysanthemums

Mitsumata and Oriental lilies

This was an arrangement I had done earlier but replaced the
flowers with the oriental lilies.
A week later, when I was up to receiving visitors, my sisters-in-law, Betty and Toula came by and brought me a lovely bunch of pink tulips. Another luxury I don't, normally, have.

I used gymea lily leaves and clivia flowers with the tulips
Two days after I arranged them, the tulips had grown and had to be recut
and rearranged.
Bye for now,

Sunday, 9 September 2018

Hello all,

The picture, above, is of Ramada Eco Beach Resort in Western Australia, where Sam and I, together with Vicky and Peter went for some much needed rest and relaxation. It is 130 k south of Broome with views of the Indian Ocean. The attraction for us was its remoteness - there were times we were the only people on the beach.

The resort is set amongst the pristine Kimberley environment with board walks between the villas to protect the
vegetation, which grows on what appears to be pure sand. I managed to photograph a couple of the ones that interested me most.

Green birdflower (Crotalaria cunninghamii) The sap from the leaves was used by
Aboriginal people to treat eye  infections
The seed pods of the same plant. They look a lot like peas. When I split one, it had
tiny seeds inside.

This straggly looking shrub is a Bauhinia cunninghamii, which produces
clusters of red flowers
Close-up of the flowers, which attract honey eaters

The photograph, above, is of the the beach at low tide, with Vicky in the foreground and me behind.

Unfortunately, 2 seconds after this picture was taken, I slipped as I was getting off the rock I was standing on and fell, causing quite a few injuries. This is when the remoteness of a location can be a disadvantage because I needed to get to a hospital quickly, as I had head injuries among others. The Flying Doctors Service was considered but could not be used because the runway at the resort has no lights and it was getting close to dusk. Long-story-short - We waited 2.5 hours for an ambulance to arrive, which then took 1.5 hours to get me and Sam to the Broome hospital. There, I was seen, my head was bandaged and was told to return the next day for X-rays because the radiologists don't work after 5.00 pm. And, no, the hospital does not have an MRI machine. This was a salient reminder of the things we take for granted living in a metropolis.

After five days in Broome with visits to the hospital and little else, we left for home via Perth, where we spent a night and a day. Here, things looked up a little - the Westin Hotel we stayed in is brand new, beautifully appointed and full of art works by various Australian artists. Also, it happened to be at the time that the Kings Park Festival was on and I was not going to miss it. So, drugged up to the hilt with pain killers, I set out with my poor, long suffering husband to visit the park. And we were so glad we did. It was a gloriously sunny, spring day with many activities and things to see.

One great attraction is the giant Boab 'Gija Jumulu', which had to be removed from its original position in Warmun due to works on the Great Northern Highway and was transported to Kings Park, 3,200 kilometres way. The tree is estimated to be 750 years old, weighs 36 tonnes and stretches 14 metres high.

The first photograph is of the tree in its original position and the second of its new position in the park.

Western Australia has the world's largest collection of wild flowers but, to see them, one has to travel great distances. However, there are some stunning, albeit smaller, plantings around Kings Park and Botanic Gardens.

Pink paper daisies making quite a show when mass planted

Below are photos of just a few of the colourful costumes and characters wondering around the park and entertaining young and old.

This 'Kangaroo Paw' was my favourite
As this is an Ikebana blog, I should include at least one arrangement. I have my friend Olga to thank for this wall arrangement because she pruned her Siberian dogwood and rang to tell me I could have the cuttings. Bless her!

Siberian dogwood, clivias and alstroemeria psittacina leaves
As for my health, I should be right in a few weeks. In the mean time, I'm told I have to be very careful and patient. I will try!

Bye for now,