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Having grown up on a farm where her family grew their own vegetables, Marcelle Nankervis developed a natural passion for horticulture. She went on to obtain a formal degree in horticulture and then worked for numerous gardening television programs and magazines including Burkes Backyard, Better Homes & Gardens and Your Garden. Her most recent venture has been writing her second book, Smart Gardening.
Clare Kennedy reviewed Smart Gardening for State of Green:
This is a basic reference tool for anyone establishing their first garden, coupled with tips on saving money and the environment.
But don’t expect a glossy coffee table book; this is an unashamed guide for those who want to get their hands dirty. The first part covers the basics of gardening and how to get started. It includes advice about soil preparation, what to plant when, companion planting, mulching, pest control, and tips on maximising shade, keeping the house cool, how to use grey water and using water effectively.
The second part of the book is an annual garden guide. It is designed so you can cross-reference the month and climate zone for information on what to sow, plant and harvest. At the back of the book is a glossary of pests and diseases with useful tips on how to deal with them – many of the remedies are sourced direct from your pantry!
There are no photographs in this book which may be a limitation for gardeners who want to identify a particular plant, shrub, tree or vegetable; instead, small graphic illustrations, tables and tips are used to break up the text.
The preface gives the reader a sense of the author’s passion for gardening and saving the environment. However, the reference to illness and depression being on the rise, and “children being diagnosed with ADHD more often” feels like a distraction from this book’s real focus.
Whilst not the most visually appealing book due to its lack of photographs, it is packed with practical, constructive tips for the environmentally-conscious gardener.
Smart Gardening is available from October 5, 2010 at all good bookstores and online at Exisle Publishing. You can also visit Marcelle’s blog for more gardening tips and tricks!.
It was earlier this year when looking to re-upholster a window bench seat, that I started looking for environmentally sound upholstery textiles. Whilst there are numerous textile designers in Australia printing on organic cottons and hemp, I required a durable fabric that could withstand frequent use and the occasional (!) child jumping up and down on it. My search led me to INSTYLE – An Australian company who are world leaders in not only developing textile products that leave a low ecological footprint, but also make a substantial effort to integrate sustainable practices in all aspects of their company.
LIFE Textiles® – Sense: 100% Wool, 100% Eco Wool ™
INSTYLE boast an extensive range of wool, alpaca, linen and synthetics, but it is their LIFE (Low Impact For the Environment) Textiles range designed in partnership with Woolmark that boasts impressive “eco” credentials. The textiles have been designed to “minimise the environmental impact over their entire lifecycle” right down to raw material selection, production, usage and disposal.
LIFE Textiles® – Line (Above) and Glide (Below): 100% Wool, 100% Eco Wool ™
The EthEco™ range sources fibres from Australia and New Zealand from non-mulesed sheep (naturally resistant to flystrike so removal of skin not required for treatment) that are raised on holistically-managed farms. The wool is then produced to strict specifications – Amongst numerous admirable eco traits, all detergents used are biodegradable, waste is minimised and disposed of responsibly, and the very nature of the fabric can improve air quality by absorbing volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) such as carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and formaldehyde. And at the end of its life, LIFE textiles can be reused, recycled or can even biodegrade!
LIFE Textiles® - Classic 100% Wool, 100% Eco Wool ™
In July this year, INSTYLE won the NSW Government Green Globe Awards for the third consecutive year, in addition to winning the United Nations Association of Australia World Environment Day 2010 Business Award for the second time.
So if your furniture is in need of a makeover, or you are designing your own piece, it is well worth looking at INSTYLE’s extensive LIFE Textiles® range.
PHOTOGRAPHY: Courtesy of the INSTYLE Website
You know Spring is arriving when the air starts to lose its bite, blossom starts to appear on trees, and the Eco Innovators Showcase Shop (previously blogged about here) re-opens after being closed throughout the cold months of Melbourne’s winter!
The Eco Innovators Shop has kicked off this season with an inspiring month long collaboration with The Social Studio (also prev blogged about here!), who are exhibiting their 2010 Spring Fashion Collection of ethical and sustainable garments. The Social Studio is a non profit organisation that is providing support and training to the Melbourne based refugee community, who are refashioning remnant fabrics and recycled garments into fabulous new products. Items include refashioned t-shirts, dresses, bags, purses, belts, brooches and jewellery!
For those not “in the know’ the Eco Innovators Showcase Shop is uniquely housed within an old news stand pillar on the corner of Swanston St and Little Collins St. It is an initiative of sustainability consultancy business Eco Innovators, to promote local sustainable design and consumption in Melbourne.
The Eco Innovators Showcase Shop is now open until 24 December 2010, and will showcase over 25 other eco designers in the lead up to the festive season!. Well worth a peek whilst strolling down Swanston Street.
Opening hours:11am-5pm Monday – Saturday
Location: Corner of Little Collins Street and Swanston St, Melbourne.
Blue Attic Café in East Brunswick is one of those stores that you look into when walking past, and it beckons to be explored. Once stepping into the store, a treasure trove of goods await ranging from retro and upcycled clothing, to t-shirts sporting graphic designs, handmade jewellery, funky accessories, original artwork and quirky homewares.
Blue Attic was opened by Tani Jakin in October 2007, showcasing a handful of wares from local independent artists and craftspeople. Since then the range has grown significantly, with Blue Attic now displaying over 45 different stockists – predominantly from the Brunswick area!. Her stockists however are not the only creative folk. At a young age, Tani became a proficient portrait artist, spent some time being an aerialist in a circus, and since turning her hand to sewing has become a costumier. She also does a bit of Irish and Burlesque dancing and teaches a stretch class at Bottoms Up Burlesque too!.
At the Blue Attic Café, you can purchase organic snacks, drinks, and treats, and even buy fresh biodynamic tofu – made by Tani’s father’s company!
1. You have a wide range of skills – What inspired you to open Blue Attic? I trained myself as an artist from the age of 8, became quite proficient but as a young adult realised that female artists have a very hard time being recognised. I was doing pavement art at the time and became quite disillusioned. Later, when my now 7 year old daughter was very small I taught myself to sew. This led to me wanting to do something with my skills that would mean employment for me whilst allowing my child to have complete access to me as a single parent. I decided to open a shop and live there too. I attained my cert 4 in small business through the government scheme called NEIS.
2. How has your store evolved from when you first started it to now? When I first opened I had very few stockists. Now I have over 45! It is incredible how many talented people there are in East Brunswick and Melbourne. The shop has undergone many changes in styling and display. Originally it was red and purple, now it is pink and black and exceptionally pretty. The stock is constantly evolving too. I have also expanded the organic café portion of the shop to include Boscastle pies, made in Brunswick, and vegan and gluten-free cakes and biscuits also made locally. I recently shifted coffee and soft drink suppliers, preferring to deal with smaller companies. My organic coffee is delivered from the city by bicycle!
3. You stock a great range of locally made products – How did you source it all/Do you have any particular favourites? Originally I sourced stock by sending out a group email, asking friends and family to forward it on to interested artists and designers. This provided enough wonderful stockists to open the shop – which is run on a consignment basis. Since then the growth in numbers has been due to people coming into my store, seeing how it is run and wanting to bring in their stock too. Everything is of such high quality and made with love and passion. As a result the products are extra special and each has a story. I know every designer personally and am able to share the background of each product with the customer.
4. What have been your major challenges operating Blue Attic? So many challenges! The biggest has been trying to keep sane while working so hard. Running my own business is a huge undertaking. It is exhausting! You are entirely responsible for everything. Admittedly I like a challenge, but sometimes it can be overwhelming. Current challenges have been a tryptic combination; firstly the economic downturn has had a massive impact on the business, as people are spending their money on cheaper goods imported from overseas. What we are not taught as consumers is that if we spend our money on locally made products, the ripple effect massively improves the local economic situation – not to mention the effect on pollution clean up and the like.
Secondly there are apartments being built across the road, resulting in general upheaval! This has been going on for a year, and will probably continue for another 6 months. When completed it will be a wonderful thing!
Thirdly my daughter’s father died a year ago which impacted both our lives. We are both slowly on the mend and saving up for a much needed break.
5. What can we expect to see at Blue Attic over the next 12 months? I am sewing again, so my own contributions to the store will increase. More stockists will be coming on board too, including more women’s clothing and a new range of sweatshop free tee shirts for men. The shop is constantly undergoing rearrangement – as new stock arrives a place has to be found for it to go! This year I will be focusing on spreading the word about locally made eco friendly products and promoting Blue Attic. I am also in the process of creating an online store so people from interstate and abroad can enjoy access to our products.
6. Share with us your easy eco living tip! Every time I have a shower, I run the water into a bucket as it is warming up, this gets poured directly into my washing machine – reduces the bill and general water wastage.
Blue Attic Café is located at 323 Lygon St, East Brunswick. Opening hours : Tues – Fri 9.30 am to 5.30 pm and Sat 12pm - 4pm.
Jessica Van Den doesn’t just dream about what she could do or be – instead she puts it into action. Jessica boasts a list of skills as long as your arm plus a bit more. First trained as a research scientist, Jessica then went on to become a primary school teacher, work in a museum and manage a maths and english tuition centre. She then discovered she loved crafting, completed a silversmith course and launched Epheriell, a jewellery design business in 2008.
Jessica uses 100% recycled and reclaimed silver in all her designs.
It is not surprising that in addition to jewellery design, Jessica has other projects on the boil. She has just launched the Epheriell Designs Bazaar, a webstore showcasing Australian and international handmade and vintage crafts. In October she will also launch Bespoke Zine (above), a magazine devoted to all things handmade, art, craft, photography, vintage, upcycling and more!
What inspired you to start jewellery design/launch Epheriell? Well, my move into the craft world was totally unexpected! I was working in education, after also studying science at university. In 2008 my then-boyfriend (now husband) and I went to Fiji. While we were there, we befriended a family – and when we all left the mother gave me a novel she’d just finished. I don’t remember what it was called, but it was all about a woman who owned a yarn store in New York. It inspired me to try knitting again… and it all went from there. I soon discovered jewellery, and then took a silversmithing course… and I found my passion!
As for my blog – well, I’d been blogging elsewhere, and it just seemed a natural step to start a blog about my new passion – hence EpheriellDesigns.com was born!
Who/What are your major influences? My major influences in general are the amazing group of crafty friends I’ve made online and offline since I began on this journey. When it comes to my jewellery in particular, my style has evolved to be very sleek, with clean lines and a minimalist touch. I don’t quite know where I get my ideas – usually something will just come to me, or I’ll sketch and play with ideas until something seems right.
What are your most popular pieces? Oh, definitely my range of Urban Eco Earrings – my best seller is definitely my ‘Entwined’ earrings . I think it’s because they are fun, attractive, affordable, and unique! They’re also super-comfortable. In fact, I have a lot of customers who are slowly building up a collection of my Urban Eco Earrings – they fall in love with them!
What have been your major challenges in running your business? For me – the time to do everything I want to do! I have so many ideas and projects that I want to bring to life, but only so many hours in the day. Not only do I run my jewellery business, I also have 2 blogs, have written an e-book, and I’m close to launching the first Issue of *bespoke* – a zine by the handmade community: for the handmade community. I’m envisioning that time will become more of a challenge over time as my business grows – but it’s certainly teaching me to get much more organized!
You have your finger in a few pies – Describe what a typical day involves for you? Well, currently I work all day, every day, with the occasional ½ day off here and there. I’m a night-owl, so I tend to wake up around 9, and hop straight onto my computer – usually I’ll do this in bed, with my laptop, and my husband Nick will bring me a cup of tea. During this time, I’ll respond to any urgent e-mails; re-list items that have sold and send thank-you’s to my customers; check my blogs for stats and comments, catch up with my online friends on twitter and forums; and write down any orders that have come in.
If I have jewellery orders to make, I’ll then start work around 10:30 or so, and work through until all the orders are complete. I generally hop on the laptop briefly every hour or so to keep on top of e-mails, and give my fingers a rest from filing, sanding, polishing, bending and engraving!
I’ll pack my orders and drive to the post-office by about 4pm, and then come home, have dinner, and get back on the computer until bedtime. I usually try to have at least an hour or so off in the evening to just hang out with Nick, watch some DVD’s or read a bit of my latest SF novel (I’ve always been a sucker for a good science fiction story!). I head to bed around 12 or so. I also usually try to devote most of one day on the weekend to working on and scheduling blog posts, when my inbox is a little quieter!
It’s true what they say – running your own business will see you working the most you ever have! But luckily much of my work is play for me, too.
How does Epheriell endeavour to tread a little lighter on the planet? Well, when I started working with silver, I did some investigating into where to find recycled silver, because I wanted my jewellery to be a bit more eco-friendly. I was lucky to find a great supplier of 100% recycled sterling silver, and the vast majority of the sterling I use is completely reclaimed from silver scrap and industrial uses. I love the fact that I can make and offer designs that contribute to the recycling and reusing ethos!
Where can we find your designs? I sell mostly online, from my website and Etsy . My work is also stocked in a few other places online, and I’m looking to offer my jewellery through a few select boutiques in the near future. I do the occasional market, but at the moment I’m too busy to build up the stock I need for a market!
What can we expect to see from Epheriell in the future? I’m currently working on a small Spring Bridal collection featuring sterling silver and white coin pearls, so keep an eye out for that! Otherwise, I will be working on expanding my range of eco-friendly sterling silver designs!
And don’t forget to keep an eye out for the launch of Bespoke in October!
The Australian Timber Design Award 2010 is currently in its 11th year. The competition invites designers from around the nation to submit their timber based creations that have been completed within the last 3 years. With over 20 award categories, judges are looking for creations that have utilised outstanding timber use, appearance, workmanship, structure and innovation.
This year, the entries are as eclectic as they are varied. The ninety odd submissions feature stunning beach houses, residential and commercial interior and exterior designs, sheds, public bathhouses, resorts, furniture pieces and even the Canberra War Memorial and McDonalds Head Office.
The iLLUMS Light Box (above) installed between Bondi and Tamarama Beach in Sydney was built from plantation pine timber pallets for the Sculpture by the Sea exhibition in 2009.
Dubbed the “The Ark” by locals, The Stirling St Residence (above) utilised timbers from certified and sustainable yield forests, and used veneers for joinery.
The Wolgan Valley Resort and Spa (above) is a small, luxury, carbon neutral resort located in the Blue Mountains, NSW. Recycled hardwood timbers were sourced from local rail bridges, fallen timber, reclaimed agricultural items and renewable Australian sources.
The Adelaide Zoo Entrance Precinct was re-created with a “wall of bars”. Australian hardwood timber was used for its’ durability, recyclability and amount of energy used to manufacture. Spotted Gum was selected from sustainable managed sources.
Many beautiful works have been submitted to the Australian Timber Awards. To fully appreciate the depth and scope of works, one will need to set aside a decent hour to learn the design attributes of each.
Entries closed in early August and the public are now invited to view the submissions online and vote for the People’s Choice Award. To cast your vote, head on over to the Australian Timber Design Awards website. The overall Winners will be announced on 29 October 2010 at Luna Park, Sydney.
Photographs courtesy of submissions on the Australian Timber Design Awards website.
After graduating in Architecture 8 years ago in Victoria, Daniel Ash travelled the globe working for various architecture firms in the UK and Ireland. Three years ago he returned to Melbourne, and this year started his own practice, daniel ash architects. With a focus on creating modern housing with an eco sustainable edge, daniel ash architects are well underway having recently completed the Shank Hill House on the outskirts of Geelong, Victoria, in addition to undertaking a number of other ongoing projects.
Designed for permanent living, the Shank Hill House is a wonderful example of how housing can be designed to be considerate of its’ surroundings, and relate strongly to its users. Windows have been double glazed and placed strategically around the house to maximize cross ventilation, and smaller slot windows maximize light whilst minimizing solar heat gain. Calculated eave overhangs shade all northern windows for summer, but also allow winter penetration.
Different sized water tanks totaling 120,000 litres supply all domestic water to the house. A worm farm waste system accessed by a hatch in the eastern exterior deck takes all black and grey water as well as household scrap, and reduces them to water suitable for irrigating.
Spotted gum (FSC certified) used throughout the house provides an organic natural warmth, further enhanced by the natural wood burning heater and hydronic heating powered by an modulating boiler pre-boosted with solar hot water panels.
Task and low level lighting feature strongly in this abode. Individual fittings have been placed over window seats, the kitchen bench and dining table. Concealed perimeter lighting also provides soft low level light for the rest of the house.
And this property would not be complete, without the complimentary natural food sources – further plans are afoot to include a chicken shed, vegetable garden, orchard and kitchen garden.
Daniel now has a number of other projects on the boil, ranging from designing one room additions, to houses and multi residential developments….and somewhere in between snuck in some time to answer our questions:
What inspired you to be an architect? I come from a building background. My father is a residential builder so I grew up around construction sites and helped out on our houses which he built among other projects. I had always been interested in art and design, and studied art and graphics at high school.
Architecture combined my interests in art, design, structures and construction together while enabling me to have a career that is people focused. Architecture creates a great opportunity to positively impact the way we live.
Your practice has a strong green ethos – What “green” design do you like to incorporate in your houses? ‘Green design’ for me is more than just something we incorporate into a design. It forms the basis of a design methodology and represents a response to the way in which our cities (Melbourne in particular) are spreading and the types of housing and developments we are seeing. It’s important to design housing which truly meets the user’s needs rather than, for example, a huge house which allows for every possible present and future use.
Taking a huge step back at the beginning of the project, I like to analyse the client’s brief and really work out just how much space they need. Reducing the total building size, designing multi-use or adaptable spaces and designing in for future change have a huge impact on decreasing the buildings environmental load before the real design has even begun. Careful consideration of solar access, orientation, ventilation, zoning and the incorporation of green systems are all the more effective on an appropriately sized house.
What challenges did you experience when designing this house? The site presented a number of challenges. It has amazing views to the south, sunset views to the west and ferocious storms which roll in from the Otway Ranges. The challenge was to provide a house which maximised these views while creating some protected space for outdoor living. The clients had a moderate budget to work with and we started with a large list of ‘eco’ inclusions. Throughout the project we had to regularly re-assess the benefit of the different eco systems and materials and work out which ones were best suited to the house and the budget.
Where can we find your designs? A selection of my recent works is available to view online at www.danielash.com.au
What would your ideal home design incorporate? I don’t have one ideal home design as such. Every design is so responsive to site, climate and situation that my dream home is constantly evolving. I would love a sustainable country home; something compact and cosy, a window seat with amazing views, huge decks and an outdoor kitchen. Something that is intrinsically rural, built from local materials and built to last. I love recycled materials against modern forms and materials.
What can we expect to see from Daniel Ash Architects in the future? There are a number of residential extensions and new builds on the drawing board at the moment, ranging form one room additions to new houses and multi residential developments, and they vary greatly in style, size and budget. It’s exciting to be working with a number of new clients and designing new homes especially for them. The aim at the moment is to make a positive impact on every project, to challenge each client and their expectations of a what their house should be.
If you would like Daniel Ash Architects to design your dream “eco” home, they are now looking for new design challenges for 2011. Can’t wait to see them!
Photographs by TRENT PERRETT PHOTOGRAPHY and OLIVER FORBES PHOTOGRAPHY
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