2015 has been a rather stop – start year, in part because the shift from bricks and mortar store to a
purely on-line site was difficult physically and took far longer than expected. And all the while I’ve
been in a state of permanent frustration because logistics had to take precedence over creativity.
I’m naturally task orientated and usually turn ideas into products quite quickly – by necessity I’ve
numerous of projects still at ‘works in progress’ stage which doesn’t sit easily.
That said, after 14 years in business the move provided a much needed circuit breaker, a pause to
take stock. Developing ak has been a blast and I have absolutely no intention of stopping … in
fact I wouldn’t change anything but my original concept has expanded in so many interrelated
directions … it was time sort out exactly which aspects I enjoy and which I feel most passionate
about. Running a shop as well as designing and manufacturing its easy to get bogged down in the
day to day business rather than focusing at the reason you started the business in the beginning.
As the pointy of the year approaches, the logistics are sorted, well mostly .., we have a rather cute
new brick warehouse, I’m feeling re-energised enough to start dealing with IT issues and ak’s
communication and generally enthusiastic about the New Year. We may do a trade show in
Germany in January which is interesting and I’m excited to get stuck into all those ‘work in
progress’ projects. And despite the challenges there have been some highlights worth noting
year…so, in no particular order, here is my slightly eclectic top 5 hits for 2015.
Creative Workshops at Cutting Cloth:
2015 marked the beginning of what I hope will be a happy and ongoing relationship with Cutting
Cloth in Fairfield … running classes in Kellie’s light and airy workshop space definitely helped to
save my sanity this year. Workshops were always a big part of the ak shop experience but to be a
guest tutor in this it lovely shop without the need to coordinate competing demands was luxury.
Cutting Cloth is beautifully designed shop, a delightful space filled with an extensive range of
thoughtfully edited fabrics, kits and stylish textile related gifts. It was opened about 10 months ago
by Kellie Wulfson who is well known in patchwork circles both here and around the world.
Patchworkers are Kellie’s natural audience but Cutting Cloth is not your ordinary patchwork shop
… so if you’re a fabric tragic or just enjoy being in a gorgeous environment take a trip to Fairfield
and soak up the ambiance. Visit nearby Beancounter for coffee.
I’ve really loved doing my doll workshops this year, thoroughly enjoyable days right down to Kellie’s
delicious nibbles and the sit-down lunch . Next year we’ll be creating more ak dolls and adding
wall hangings and mobiles – check out the website for classes including Kellie’s inspiring patchwork
Cutting Cloth also stocks ak traditions books, sewing kits and wool felt. Look forward to seeing new
and old ak customers in 2016.
Cutting Cloth, 282 Wingrove Street, Fairfield, 3078
0409 860 402
In April we had a wonderful holiday sailing around the coast of Southern Spain and ending up in
Barcelona … where I fell totally in love with just about everything. We even started checking out
apartments to buy. There were simply too many visual treats to list here but the architecture,
attention to detail in everyday life, the food … the extraordinary Alhambra, the Roman ruins in
Cartagena, the Soller railway on Palma de Mallorca and of course Gaudi standout.
Being a dog lover I quickly became fixated on the extraordinary number of dogs around the town
streets everywhere we went. In apartments, shops, restaurants …often small dogs in pairs being
walked by men, both old and young. I started to document all my sightings but people were not
always happy to stop and pose and in the end I abandoned the project. But the idea is still there
floating around and I’m quite intrigued about the role of dogs particularly in the life of young
We visited Brussels en route which was a first … loved the Be Manos which is a design hotel
tucked away in the old part of town. Filled with contemporary sculpture – the huge fibre glass
babies climbing the wall next to lift were amazing – and photography. Only time to scratch the
surface but this hotel seemed to tap into the stylish underground art vibe of the city.
Spain 2 – Discovering Pinzat:
This high happened in Barcelona but it definitely deserves a separate note, in fact it one of best
experiences of the whole trip. Pinzat was started around 10 years ago by a trio of artists based in
Barcelona describes itself as a ‘one-of-a kind brand working with graffiti artists around the world’.
Starting with bike the team create unique, durable back packs, bike bags and seats characterised
by original artwork by 35 very different local artists. Everything is made from locally sourced
materials such as recycled seat beats and if you’re lucky you even see the bags in production in
Pinzat’s wonderful studio – showroom.
I’ve been fortunate enough to travel to many interesting places but sadly the world is increasingly
homogenous … it takes quite a lot to get me excited. Luckily I’d read about this unique creative
team before our trip and they were a destination visit but I was overwhelmed by the originality and
charm of the work and could have moved in and stayed. Huge respect for what they’ve created.
I bought two different bags hand painted by Emilio Cerezo and have used my computer every
single days since we got home. Definitely a bag for life…
Carrer de Grunyi, 7, 08003, Barcelona.
www.pinzat.org (great web site)
On a more personal note, there were some positives in the area of health. In the early part of the
year my mother had treatment for cataracts and macular degeneration which were both very
successful and far less arduous than expected. Small victories but of huge importance.
Then, my extremely fit husband had a heart related glitch that has been resolved, hopefully, with
some minor surgery and medication which was of course a major tick.
Out in the garden:
I’ve always been a passionate gardener and for years we had a out wild picking garden filled with
roses, perfumed perennials and herbs of every sort. We even had a well loved camomile lawn – I
obviously had too much time on my hands. Unfortunately wild gardens require a lot of work to
achieve just the right balance and since starting ak, time has become scarce…. as a result the
garden was seriously neglected. Working from home in the studio this year I’ve had the
opportunity to start sorting it out – which is not to suggest I’ve slowed down or retired to garden, far
from it. But I have made the time replant large areas of unusual herbs and perennials like
Angelica, Meadowsweet and Borage as well as all the usual culinary suspects. The dogs and cats
now have cat mint and dog grass scattered through beds and best all all, I’ve got my vegetable
patch going. Not huge at this stage but we’ve 20 or so tomato plants heavy with fruit, beetroot,
lettuce, spring onions, beans and spinach – all our everyday staples. Next project will be replacing
a large section of garden with a network of raised beds – not exactly a walled garden but a practical
way to get more sun within a large heavily treed space.
A simple highlight – but one which is definitely life enhancing and to be recommended. There is
nothing like the sweet summery perfume of tomatoes in the warmth of the evening. Now if I could
just reach an understanding with my much loved possums who spent last night perched in the Fig
tree stripping the tops of our scarlet runner beans. Errr, tonight i’m setting up a possum feeding
table as a distraction, we’ll see.