Wednesday 15 December 2010

Celebrating our tree change with Mirka

Front cover of Mirka Mora Exhibition Catalogue
Yesterday - when I was supposed to be attending to the fifty million things I have on my 'to do' list - I took myself off to Heide Museum of Modern Art to spend the afternoon with my husband and NO children!

               The reason was twofold - one was to visit the Mirka Mora exhibition that is currently on there and two was to celebrate our impending tree change!
Untitled (Big Bad Wolf) c.1975 mixed media 46cm x 80cm
Mirka in her studio with soft toys - photographer Rennie Ellis

You see - the next chapter of my creative life is about to begin in the rather large and charming regional city of Ballarat. My husband Sam and I have bought a lovely old Victorian house (built 1885) and shop where I will have my working studio and eventually a sweet little shop where I can sell my work and the work from others that I love and also a vintage haberdashery of sorts with lots of gorgeous vintage fabrics, buttons and trims and more modern things like craft kits and wool felt supplies.

We arrived at Heide at 2pm - just in time for a wonderful guided tour of the exhibition which brings together a selection of paintings, works on paper and soft sculptures (these were without a doubt my favourite part) that covers a thirty year friendship Mirka shared with John and Sunday Reed (the founders of Heide).

I have blogged before about Mirka Mora and my LOVE of her whimsical colourful style of work - what I hadn't ever fully appreciated or in fact seen up close were her soft toys. Mirka hand paints her design for each unique and individual toy on to canvas and then she cuts them out, sews them up and stuffs them. They are the most wonderfully magical creations – really really special and it seems that she has been creating them for at least 40 years – so there must be an amazing array of them that have found their way into the homes of Mirka fans and I would imagine many that have stayed close to Mirka in her studio.

All inspired – I am gearing up now to pack up my collections and to make that long awaited tree change. Nervous, excited and slightly overwhelmed I am looking forward to the day when I can finally say – the shop is open – come and play!
The window Mirka painted at her exhibition at Heide Museum of Modern Art

Mirka now with some of her amazing creations

Saturday 11 December 2010

Magazine Junky

  I have a confession to make. I am utterly and completely addicted to magazines. The pile by my bed grows each week with my regular magazine subscriptions and the ones I have collected in my travels from Mag Nation, Borders and various newsagents.

The thing is - I just LOVE reading them. When I get the chance to that is. Little snippets of inspiration, new sewing techniques or crafty tips and tricks, ideas for decorating the house, following trends on colour and design and just generally keeping track of themes in what people are buying, creating and loving.

A few favourites of late are the brand new Anthology magazine, definitely SPACES - I am totally loving that, the french Marie Claire Ideas and also a big LOVE for me is Selvedge.

At the moment I have about 20 magazines waiting to be read on my bedside table....a sign of the times perhaps? You could say I am somewhat time poor at the moment and unfortunately by the time my head actually gets anywhere near my pillow I am already asleep standing up, talk about living life to the dream at the moment is to find one whole day where I could just lounge about and stay in bed drinking cups of tea, eating delicious morsels of yummy things and reading magazines for a whole day - uninterrupted! Actually - that would be my idea of the best Christmas present ever at the moment. Perhaps if I am really good all year - I may actually get this gift next Christmas in 2011. For now I'll just have to settle for my magazine fix - in little hits here and there in between my here and now.

Monday 6 December 2010


Off we go.....8am flight......
Arriving at Finders Keepers in Sydney

On Saturday in the name of ‘living life to the fullest’ – I jumped on a plane (with Mum by my side) to set off on a little day trip adventure to Sydney. The itinerary was pretty simple – straight to Finders Keepers (FK) to visit my crafty pals, check out the amazing local talent and generally have a good old sticky beak at the original FK and its amazing Carriageworks venue. Then off to EXTINCT the Dinosaur Designs outlet store where it is best to book an appointment so you get their FULL VIP attention and then off to have a meander around the old school craft market on Oxford Street – Paddington Market.

Well I certainly wasn’t disappointed – the FK venue was amazing, the crowds meant I had to be a savvy shopper and jostle to get a look in and the general vibe was definitely one of the who’s who in the cool craft world. 

Thankfully unlike my visit to the Melbourne FK – I knew less stallholders so I was able to do a bit more shopping and a bit less talking! You know me – I like a good chinwag and if you get me going – well the whole day just slips away…..

Highlights from FK were meeting up with the lovely Lyndsay from White Pixels (and Made by White & Candy Stripe Cloud) – who is my number one star when it has anything to do with my website and graphics and her equally lovely sister Kelly who designs and makes the sweetest range of plates and products under the name Storybook Rabbit. Another super highlight was meeting the fabulously talented Cat from Cat Rabbit. Her work is AMAZING and wonderfully cool – these 3 girls definitely make my heart sing!

Other highlights from FK was seeing Christina and her stand Made590, the tissue paper workshops, music and general vibe. You could definitely make a day of it at FK with the line-up of music, great food and general atmosphere. Hopefully you will see me as a stall holder at the next Melbourne one in 2011.

Time for us though, was of the essence – so off we went to EXTINCT for a serious spot of shopping. If you are a Dinosaur Designs fan like me – you will be in heaven at this place and I can highly recommend paying a visit there if you are ever in Sydney. Thankfully the two girls on duty in the store were able to pander to my ever changing decisions on what I was actually going to buy! Boy – was it hard…when you see it all piled up like that – you just want a bit of everything. At the end of the day though – I realised that there is only so much jewellery a girl can wear – and I do have a LOT – so in the name of interior decorating I managed to narrow it down to three lovely vessels to adorn the mantle place in the living room. I am still recovering from the fact that I managed to purchase three items all at once from Dinosaur Designs and not just one as would normally be the case!

After all this shopping – a spot of lunch was in order – so into another cab and off to Oxford St it was. The rest of the afternoon was spent meandering around Paddington Market (the original market at which Dinosaur Designs started at) and a few treasures were discovered amongst the mix.

The day was over before we knew it and we were back at the airport and on our way home. Sydney is so easy to get around for a day like this because the airport is so close to all the action and everything is close by to each other…..a little nanna nap on the plane and we were home sweet home.

Lyndsay from Made by White, White Pixels and Candy Stripe Cloud
- the girl of many talents and impeccably good taste
Lyndsay's Apple Shadow box - too cute!

Kelly from Storybook Rabbit
Storybook Rabbit - it was so hard to decide what to buy!

Made590 - love the giant rabbit head

Cat Rabbit selling her amazing creations

Giant tissue paper pom poms
How to make a giant tissue paper pom pom workshop

Mum entering Dinosaur Designs heaven
Dinosaur bangles
More Dinosaur bangles....

Dinosaur bowls

The lovely and ever so helpful Dinosaur girls
FINALLY - my purchase :-)

Sunday 14 November 2010

Giant Apples

I have been dreaming of giant apples for a while now. What I actually want to do is make a really giant one as an ottoman type thing…stay tuned on that one…..for now though I spent a small part of my week-end conjuring up this quite large…well ok…giant apple cushion. I’m very happy with how it turned out – in fact it is just like my normal apple pincushions but BIGGER.

It’s funny isn’t it how creative ideas come into your mind and stew around there for a while and then you will be out and about somewhere and you will see something either exactly like what you were dreaming up or down a similar vein. It’s what I know as the collective unconscious. I feel like we all tap into similar ideas and then we go away and come up with our own interpretation of it. It seems very hard to be original these days and I think that is why there are just so many copy cats out there who just haven’t got what it takes to come up with their own ideas. The worst thing I think is when something is directly copied - it is NEVER as good as the original.

Recently when I went to Finders Keepers I saw some lovely giant pears cushions by Moose and Bird. They stopped me in my tracks of course as I mentioned earlier – it’s a collective unconscious thing. Giant fruit….who would have thought!!

Anyway…if you are free this week-end please come and visit me and my giant apple at the extra big Maribyrnong Makers Market (over 75 stalls across two venues) on Saturday 20 Nov and then on Sunday 21 Nov at the extra big (over 120 stalls) Mathilda’s Market at Caulfield Racecourse.

Sometimes BIGGER is definitely BETTER!

Tuesday 2 November 2010

Rosewater spray

Part of my daily ritual is to spray a little mist of Rosewater on my face. I love the refreshing feeling and I love that it is my small moment in the day when I stop and smell the roses.

Do you take the time to smell the roses in your life? Or, are you so caught up with everything else that is going on that you simply don't have time to smell them?

Life truly is a blessing.  In my own life - I try to take a minute each day when I can just be. A minute where I can be calm and reflective. A minute when I try to be grateful for where I am, where I live and for my family and friends.

I am so grateful for what I have in my life and the abundance that is all around me. The fact that I get to live my life – in my own way, using my creative energies and skills to support my family and for the joy my children and husband bring with the words of love and arms full of cuddles I receive every day.

Remembering to take the time to stop just for a moment each day to thank the world, appreciate your blessings and love those around you - is smelling the fragrance of your life.

I choose to stop and smell the roses. Do you?

Sunday 31 October 2010


For my eleventh birthday Mum and Dad gave me my very own stereo. I was without a doubt totally stoked to have this boom box. I already had a number of very cool records like Thru the Roof ’83, Throbbin ’84 and Hits Huge ’85 (remember those!) and I had earlier discovered Mum and Dad’s record collection and so was into making mixtapes of songs from the various records I liked. Being able to play music in my room with the door shut though was very very cool.

Part of my early discoveries in the quite diverse record collection of my parents was an album called ‘Kaya’ by Bob Marley & the Wailers. What a discovery! I’m not sure which parent was responsible for that particular purchase – but I was thoroughly hooked!

Fast forward a number of years and that easy skanking reggae LOVE was truly embedded. My 21st birthday brought a special 4 disc book set called Songs of Freedom which spanned Bob’s entire musical history. To this day it has been played and loved and played some more. Many an afternoon has been spent sewing and singing my heart out with Bob. 

What a man! Gotta love that reggae groove!

Tuesday 26 October 2010

Red Hair

The story goes that I was born with a bright red spike of hair all over my head. My Nanny Kuia nick-named me Mor-kina (Kina meaning sea urchin in Māori) and thought that perhaps I was a patupaiarehe.

In Māori tradition patupaiarehe are fairy-like creatures of the forests and mountain tops. Although they have some human attributes they are regarded not as people but as supernatural beings. They were seldom seen, and an air of mystery and secrecy still surrounds them.

Apparently redheads were common in New Zealand when Captain Cook visited their shores, as were people with blue-green eyes. It seems that it is a common practice to classify all people who were in New Zealand when Captain Cook visited as “Māori” and to assume that all were of Polynesian ancestry. Yet, there is ample evidence that far from being branches of one people, there were many varied lines of peoples who sailed to and from these shores in antiquity. Perhaps this is where the red hair comes from….

As I grew older – my hair colour changed and eventually became mousey brown – or as I would say fairly non-descript. When I was old enough to colour my hair – tones of ginger red came back and have loitered around for a good 20 years or so. For the majority of my 20’s I also had a fuchsia pink/magenta stripe that ran down one side – you certainly could not have missed me in a crowd!

Now when I see or meet people with the real deal – I am truly besotted. Real red-heads are rare – perhaps that is why I am so fascinated.

Monday 18 October 2010


Last night my husband Sam gave me a bunch of flowers just ‘because’. He is like that - quite the romantic really and I sure am not complaining – in fact I feel completely blessed to have found such a man to share my path.

I got some prior warning from our daughter Kitty who had just been picked up from her Ballet class by Sam.

“Where’s Daddy”? I said to her when she had appeared in from the car and he was nowhere to be seen 10 mins later…. “I saw flowers in the car Mum” she said.

Eventually in he came soaking wet from the rain with this gorgeous arrangement that he had gathered from our garden and worked in with a lovely bunch of my favourite Ranunculus.

I just LOVE them. Thank you Sam xoxoxo

Tuesday 12 October 2010


Sewn to Scale Quilt by Morgan Wills

Recycling or ‘upcycling’ you might say – where one man’s trash becomes my treasure, keeps me very, very busy.

My creative inspirations primarily come from the woollen jumpers and vintage household fabrics that I find in my travels. But what really gets me going – is the colours of these materials. I just love working in monochromatic shades of one colour – or mixing it up with tones of a colour across various hues.

Recently my focus has been somewhat preoccupied with making a quilt. As I look around me – there are certain things that I begin to see in repetition. Sometimes it will be things like Babushka dolls – which seem to be everywhere and on everything and at other times it will be a certain pattern repeat or colour.

The fish scale pattern for months seemed to be jumping out at me – wherever I went. I had and have become somewhat obsessed with it and its manifestations across all number of things, such as placemats and table runners, fabric, scarves and toys.
Green Pockets by Maruja Fuentes

One gorgeous example of the fish scale pattern that I came across - were these little pocket planters – called ‘Green Pockets’. They are interlocking wall tiles’ resembling little porcelain sinks – which you can plant herbs or flowers in. 

Made from recycled materials they were designed by a Puerto Rican designer - Maruja Fuentes and were presented at the Milan Furniture Fair in 2009. I just LOVE them.

I was so inspired by the fish scale pattern - that I decided to use it as a basis to make a quilt.

The result of my efforts is called ‘Sewn to Scale’ and is an observation of the natural world - exploring the repetition of pattern and the harmony of colour often overlooked in our daily life; yet ever present in nature. Made entirely of recycled materials (woollen blanket, jumpers and a vintage sheet which lines the back of each scale) – the result actually reminds me of a Maori cloak in that when I wrap it around myself – it has the same weight and the scales shimmy and flap as do the feathers on the Korowai Maori Cloak.
Detail of Sewn to Scale by Morgan Wills

Detail of Sewn to Scale by Morgan Wills
It was a labour of love – and many nights I was up past midnight – sewing scales. 142 individual scales in total.

When I stand back and look at it now – I can’t quite believe I made it. It’s amazing isn’t it where our creative inspirations come from and how they manifest.

Now back to my recycling……

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Ramen Noodles

I LOVE Ramen noodles….YUM! I don’t think they are particularly healthy for you though. Still I’m sure they are a lot better than lots of other junk foods I can think of.

When I was in Japan – I was in ramen heaven. The best ramen memory I have is of a little place just outside of Tokyo called Tobitaku where I stayed for a while with my Brother & Sister in-law who were there teaching english. They had got to know this great japanese punk rocker dude called ‘Caz’ who when he wasn’t playing punk rock in his band he was working in this teeny tiny ramen bar – where you placed an order by putting your money in a vending machine out the front, choosing the picture of the ramen you liked the best – waiting for your little ticket to print out and then taking it inside and giving it to him to cook up for you on the spot.

Mmmmm – I am having cravings just thinking about it – I particularly liked the one that had all different types of fresh seaweed in it – all kinds of amazing seaweed that you never see here. The photos above are actually ones I took in Osaka, which was another amazing Japanese food city – I wish I had one of the vending machine though - it was very cool.

Thursday 23 September 2010

Rei Hamon

Aunty Maia

My Grandmother on my father’s side (fondly known as Nanny Kuia – meaning ‘old woman’ in Maori) was the youngest of 19 children. My father was born on a kitchen table in a small village called ‘Tiki Tiki’ on the east coast of the North Island of New Zealand. As a family we belong to the Ngati Porou tribe the second largest tribe in New Zealand and thanks to this heritage – I have one very very big family!

Uncle Rei – or Rei Hamon was married to my Nanny Kuia’s sister - Aunty Maia. Nanny Kuia and Aunty Maia are the only two children still alive out of the 19 that were born to my Great Grandparents.

As a young girl – I absolutely LOVED visiting my Uncle Rei and Aunty Maia – they were always so welcoming and full of snuggles and cuddles. I was also fascinated by my Uncle Rei’s Gallery and all of his amazing drawings inspired by the New Zealand bush.

Rei Hamon (Uncle Rei)
The story goes that Uncle Rei discovered his talent for drawing while recovering from a crippling farm accident which left him almost paralyzed. In 1965, with a family to feed and bills to pay, he and Aunty Maia prayed for a solution. Upon rising from his knees he picked up a ballpoint pen and pad that had been left behind by his youngest daughter and began to draw - something he hadn't done since his early days in primary school. It was an inspired beginning. Over his lifetime (Born 17 Dec  1919 - Passed 16 Aug 2008 Aged 89 years) Uncle Rei had huge success with his distinctive style of dot art (Pointillism).

With much practice he developed the unique and unorthodox style called Pointillism, a drawing made up of millions of tiny dots. Feeling a little embarrassed with his first works, Uncle Rei cautiously hid them from view but Aunty Maia, found them and showed them to a local photographer who took them to the Director of a leading Art Gallery in Auckland.

Uncle Rei’s first exhibition at New Vision gallery in 1967 stunned the art world. His self-taught pointillist style of high detail and emotion propelled him into a house-hold name. He used his unique art to stop the destructive Forestry Kauri milling of the early 70’s by creating awareness around the beauty of our natural environment and without Uncle Rei and his brother’s protests and lobbying in this area, places such as the Coromandel in New Zealand would be void of Kauri and Pohutukawa trees for future generations to enjoy.

In 1981 Uncle Rei was titled as a ‘Commander of the British Empire’ and remains a New Zealand national treasure.

I am lucky enough to have a number of his limited edition lithographs hanging on my walls. Everyday – I am surrounded by the beauty of his talent and I remember what a loving man he was.




Wednesday 15 September 2010

My 5 minutes...

On Saturday 28 August - I was lucky enough to be featured in the Melbourne Herald Sun Home Magazine. It was back in March of this year that I was first approached to be featured, it was May before I was interviewed and the photographer came to my home studio to do the shoot....and so by the time it was published in late August - it seemed as if it had all come together by magic!

The phone ran hot - as did my emails and I had quite a number of custom order enquiries, lots of sales on my website (which I now desperately need to re-stock!) and many an apple pincushion has made it's way off to sewers around the country - I love to think of all the lovely ladies out there, sewing away happily with their apple pincushions by their side.

Many thanks to everyone who sent lovely messages to say they had seen it in the paper and to friends who blogged about it - I must admit it was a lovely 5 minutes - if I do say so myself!

Sunday 12 September 2010

Mumma & Baby Bushka LOVE

On Saturday – I had my big annual clear out the studio sale at the Maribyrnong Makers Market. And what a busy day it was! Thanks to all those lovely customers that helped me lighten the load and make some more room to craft more treasures!

The sale was a great success and made even better by the fact that lots of Mumma & Baby Bushkas were adopted out to live in new homes. I was so happy to know that they will be well and truly LOVED. Here are some great photos of new adoptive Mothers with their girls – these will be added to my Gallery page where I get to remember each Mumma & Baby Bushka and their new adoptive parent.
Which brings me to this request – over the last few years a lot of Mumma & Baby Bushkas have been adopted out and I do not have a photo of them with their new owner. If you happen to own your own Mumma Bushka or you know someone who does – I would LOVE it if you could email me a photo of you or them showing off their very own Bushka. I will then add any photos I get to my Gallery page on my website and it will be a lovely way to   document them and YOU! Email to:

Thanks everyone for all your wonderful feedback and support. Morgan xx