April 2013

Mothers Day with Manly Art Gallery

Don’t miss out on this special local event. Supporting Artists and Designers near and including some of Red Olive wares, prints + cards by Jessica Watts and also our favourite textile designer Mel from the Organic Mamas… Get amongst it locals!


last day EVER!!!

Slide1I’m excitedly planning my next exhibition – focussing on Loobylou AND another little side project with my daughter, Lanya. WATCH THIS SPACE!!!

…To white, or not to white…that is the annual question!


Compare the two rooms. One on left is sparkly, fresh – where Unicorns live. One on right looks nice, but Unicorns wouldn’t live here…Written of course, without prejudice. 

Ok folks out there in blog land, followers, friends I NEED YOU!!! (I hope you had the appropriate visual of the finger pointy poster whose name escapes me). NO, I’m not trying to engage you in public warfare. Not even close. Relax…

It’s as simple as … choosing a colour!

You know that saying about how Sparkies have dodgy wiring at home, builders have countless un-finished projects etc? Well let me tell you it’s THE SAME for Designers, Stylists and ESPECIALLY when said Styling Designer specialises in colour. Purely for home you see. My record is it took me 18 months to choose a living room colour once. Oh dear lord I went through every shade of Olive known to man…18 months later, we fell for Wattyl ‘Pepper.’ Six months later we moved…but that is another story.

Here’s the real deal. We repaint the floors at the ARTspace every year (and sometimes in between). It’s important to me to maintain the space to the same level of professionalism the Artists give us along with the privilege of hanging their incredible works. It’s picky and pedantic – and I’m ok with that, they’re my middle name. I LOVE the ARTspace. I’m walking away from retail to focus on said ARTspace. I’m re-launching, and I’m doing it large! I have all sorts of ideas and plans for upcoming shows, but one thing at a time. The floors.

As you know, we’re selling of the retail wares and making way for the lovely Christine O’Hagan to join our crew. Perfect timing for a little bit of a spruce up, we have to move stuff anyway you see…Now, the dilemma is not in that I can’t choose a shade of a particular colour, it’s the actual colour.


We have a yummy neutral grey on there now. It sits at around 5 maybe on the Greyscales. It’s lovely, I picked a great shade. It doesn’t conflict or compete with any Artworks, it doesn’t take away or impinge in negative ways on the space.

It works.

OR: It ‘worked.’

In the spirit of fresh new change, I’m re-visiting my annual internal (and to anyone who listens) debate on the repainting of the floors…

Anyone who knows commercial enamel knows that it’s not going to be easy to do this. The walls are an low sheen pain in the butt regularly patching but utterly fabulous colour and solution for the Gallery. The don’t reflect OR absorb too much light. The don’t engage the eye away from the Artwork. HOWEVER white enamel cut in to said walls is a painstaking detailed job. It will require several coats from my beloved. It will looks INCREDIBLE.

White floors make everything around them look shiny sparkly and wonderful – and yet they draw your attention to the objects and works they embrace. Beauty seems to float within them…I have always always loved white floors, but at home I accept that we’re not a white floor family as a unit. Here’s why. Today my daughter arrived. There was the clunk thud of her arrival, the dropping of scooter – and then in chorus a guitar case propped against the other side of the table bang crashed to the ground. I was sending a prayer of gratitude that she wasn’t carrying paint….

But it’s the ARTspace, that’s a place of solace and beauty…

Here’s my pro-cons. Comment, vote, HELP MEEEEE because as I said to Aj today – I would imagine that the pain of dealing with this each and every year is surely now outweighing the pain and annoyance of painting the floor. Surely right? Who want’s to ‘just wonder?’ That’s not how I roll myself… Obv. I’m Team White…PRO is for white CON is not for white.

PRO: It’ll look pretty spectacular, let’s be honest.  CON: It looks really nice now.

PRO: When white scuffs it looks all charming and shabby. It works. CON: Mud.

PRO: When grey scuffs and wears it looks unkempt and poorly maintained. CON: It’s already there and easy to keep.

PRO: It’ll look pretty CON: So would I if I wasn’t painting floors…lol.

PRO: At least I’ll know. CON: White = 3 coats, Grey = 1

PRO: At least I’ll see when the floors are dirty. Dirt is gross – if I see it I’ll clean it. CON: It hides a multitude of sins now, and I don’t enjoy mopping. Nope, not a fan.

PRO: We love putting love and energy into the ARTspace CON: We could be reading, talking, hanging in Lola.

PRO: My husband loves me enough to support my kind of crazy. CON: I love him too, and I’m sure he’d rather surf.

So there you have it…Do YOU have white floors? Are they as bad as I am anticipating? Should I just stop blogging and start painting…???


P.S. STOKED to have a drama of this (lack of) calibre to bring you after the last few years – let me tip you reader!

$5 FRIDAY!!!

Utter madness. Instore only…HEAPS of other items included in $5.00 Friday. We have leased the spot where the Retail is – so we’ve gotta get out!!!


What I am now I’m a grown up (with a side serve of super cheesy)

This week a creative mate posted a status on FB looking for women working in a creative/arts field within certain perimeters for a potential mag interview with a well known rag. Nothing to lose, I put myself forward. Basically he asked me to provide a brief description of what it was that I did.

Uh oh.

What the?

Put a name on it?

Now, what is it I’m trying to be now I’m (just) a grown up…

Here’s what I came up with. So much cheese I wasn’t sure if I wanted to slap my own face, or hire me Stat. Amusing none the less. What do you guys think?

“Sometimes people know what they want and like, but often don’t quite know how to pull it all together. This can vary from major space planning, interior and retail styling, to the commissioning and even creation of a customised Artwork.

This is where I come in…’the creative coordinator’ or somewhat of an Artistic Director who helps you turn the space you have, into a space you love..”

x me

What creative life do YOU want for Sydney?


Right Sydney creatives – we all say we don’t have a voice in wider Sydney . Well I hope you’ve got lot’s to say, cause now you do… Get amongst it folks. And don’t think I’m shouting out to Artists only. Musicians, jewellers, fire twirlers, hell – carni folk if you will.

Any creative innovators out there – let’s BE a part of the ideas that become policy…



Howdy Peeps,
I hope you’ve had a marvellous Easter break filled with all the important stuff. We hightailed it to Jambaroo, so there was laughter a’plenty between freak storms of course!

I always thought that if a time came where I sent an email of this nature, I would do so with a heavy heart. Though it is in fact possibly long overdue and maybe even expected, it’s with lightness and vigour I write to you about the winding up of all things retail. As you know the last 2 years have been … confronting for me to say the least, and something had to give. With a keen eye, I’ve been paying attention to all the hats I’m wearing, and balls I’m juggling (no, don’t be rude!) and something had to be shifted. Lately going to the ARTspace has felt a little like being pulled from 4 different directions. It’s 2 years with Easter weekend to when I first “checked in” at RNS Hospital, and stayed there for 5.5 months of that year. I’ve had a lot of time to think about what’s important to me, and the kind of future I want to create. In deciding, I threw it all up in the air, and it landed like this…

1) ARTspace itself, the studios, Gallery, my return to Art+Craft classes (for young + old). The ARTspace makes my heart sing, it always has. I want it to return to a place that inspires, not overwhelms me. I want to facilitate creativity again, play, learn, be reminded of the joy of being creative. I went to the Talhouse-Lautrec Exhibition recently in Canberra, and Lanya asked me why I always cry in Galleries (this time it was a Monet that started the tears). I explained that these people made it possible for me, my peers, my buyers – they gave us permission to set free that part of us that can’t help but create.
2) My own Art + Design stuff, which is constantly on the back burner to everything else. I miss painting, the smell, the texture, the sense of oneness it’s always been for me. I really am un-settled by this very long period of paint free clothing. I don’t think its a long term ‘look’ for me. And I miss you guys! I miss Exhibiting, and I miss Decorating. I’d like to be back on the road soon. I love taking your forgotten treasures and making them stars again. I love changing your spaces from being something you reside in, to something you ‘live’ in, with your favourite memories around you, somewhere you show love, entertain – or work for my old Commercial clients…whatever that case is. To me Design/Decorating was always all about making a space synonymous with its intended use…I see more value in that than ever having been stuck in mine for 2 years, let me assure you! I have a Solo Exhibitioned planned in my head, and I can’t WAIT.
3) Loobylou – the candle biz. I’m loving it! Emma and I have created something really special and it deserves more of us. We’ve begun retailing, selling online – and are really enjoying the ride. It’s nice being at this end of the production line, the creating side of it, rather than the selling of someone else’s creativity. It just makes sense to me, and to be creating something unique in a market that seems to be filled with sameness, and something we’re truly proud is a nice feeling. I have the first candle we ever poured on Jan 15th 2012 in a special nook in loobylou HQ. It’s a wonderful reminder, that big old Moccona Jar of how far we’ve come (and also how AWESOME our wax and oils are, you’d seriously think it was poured this week it’s so fresh!)
4) That leaves Red Olive – the retail side of things. I set up the shopfront initially more as a platform to meet your fine selves, and a billboard for Interior Design stuff when I first moved to the area. I’d gone from being a busy retailer and decorator in the Inner West to being a stranger on your shores. And what made perfect sense then, doesn’t really anymore. The shop became an entity unto itself, and almost got in the way of design and Art, and it wasn’t supposed to be that way, so… I’m taking the reins back.
The Retail side of Red Olive has got to go. It makes the most sense. It brings me the most peace. For 4 weeks following Easter, we will be there from 10-3pm, Fridays and Saturdays. EVERYTHING MUST GO. We have some interest in the space already by a pretty spectacular Artist we’d be thrilled to offer a space to. Everything will be 50%+ which for a lot of products it’s MUCH LESS than wholesale as for many things we’ve sold at below retail, and they’re already reduced. Some jewellery now if about 80% less than RRP. Essentially, I’m paying you to help me take it away… so go on, stock up. Go Christmas shopping. You know how I feel about being super organised – there’s no such thing as being ‘too organised.’ My old work colleagues will have a little chuckle here – I was WORSE in the corporate office Insurance days…
Sales will extend online, but do keep in mind we will be updating the online shopping platform as fast as we can, but be aware of the odd occasion where something may sell minutes before you try to buy it online and still show as being available. In the situation you REALLY want something, I would possibly call or email in this situation as I have a feeling these weekends are going to be bonkers. But weekday online sales are a good way to stock up on your favourite ranges while you still can, at prices unheard of! I’ve still got a little Jaye Niemi, Aunty Cookie, Have you met miss Jones, some Outliving, and lots and lots of vintage and even more jewellery! Because it’s a US dollar site, I’ve reduced everything 40%. The extra 10% will come from exchange rates, and often better off for you. Plus this way there’s paypal and Credit card as an option, whereas instore it’s cash only, or direct deposit for larger/bulk purchases (or paypal in store).
So, like the very talented Artist Videographer, Marijose Cruz likened this to last week, was a personal renovation. We all need to renovate our lives and souls, and this is me working on mine. Rather than juggling many things badly – I’ll do less of them and be great at them. Red Olive will still exist, but it reverts to being the Design + Art + Curating Business it used to be, with the odd personally custom made and created item or two…
So tell your friends. These prices will be unheard of, insane, and for a limited time only. We have to move out of the space at the end of April, so let’s get cracking!
Creating I shall go… Watch this (evolving not ending) space xxx

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