When my roster arrives for the coming month it’s always with anticipation. Do I have my 3 requested days off and what other duties have the "Roster Gods" afforded me. This month it was a mix of day trips and the rest all reserve (on call) days. For some this could mean an upset to the little routine that life as a Cabin Crew member is accustomed to these days but for me I always see the adventure and opportunity – where will I be sent, who will I meet, how much can I pack in?
So when I got a last minute call out for a 3 day trip to Sydney and Melbourne my imagination was spiked. With no family in town to catch up with this time it meant a day to play. And play I did at the thing I love most - searching and discovering the latest in handmade and vintage and meeting the people and collectors behind the products. What better place to do this but go straight to the roots of handmade to the premier weekend Markets in Sydney and Melbourne.
The challenge as always is to pack in as much fun as possible between “wake up” and “pick up” so a quick Google on the Internet helped me plan my excursion.
So my journey began with a brisk walk up the hill to Paddington – stopping for a vegie juice on the way.
My path lead me out on Oxford Street right opposite the new Paddington Reservoir development – a very impressive blend of contemporary and historic featuring the excavated heritage listed remains of the original reservoir.
Only a few minutes’ walk up the street and I was at the entrance of the bustling Paddington Markets– a blend of vintage, handmade and imported curios.
The layout hadn’t changed that much with the majority of the vintage stalls running along the right hand side of the church and the fashion section to the left. Some vintage stalls were tucked up behind the fashion section on the far right and really worth the look.
Many of the stalls were the ones that I had spied at the Bondi Markets the week before so it was nice to have a chance at a second look. My favourite being fashion label Zephyr and Jennifer’s signature “Shirred Dress” which had a very vintage, French feminine look to it but made from the softest cotton – totally gorgeous
The other stalls that took my fancy were ceramicist Samantha Robinson’s bowls and mugs, Judith Dawson’s Creature’s and Icon’s framed pictures, Dorte Bundt’s laser cut Antlitz Design jewellery and ever so groovy Vellocet jumpsuits by James Kellas.
After grabbing a banana and mango soy smoothie and taking in the sounds of the two entertainers ( very smooth themselves I may add with their quirky interpretations on classic rock songs) I headed off on the next leg of my adventure.
Midnight Oil have a famous line in one of their songs “catch a bus to Bondi” – something I did on a regular basis when I was based in Sydney. So the #380 bus that runs to and from the city to the Eastern Suburbs was the perfect choice of transport to get to Museum Station. Really I could have walked all the way to central but time was of the essence!
From Museum Station platform I changed trains at Central to board a train to Redfern. The trip from Paddo to Redfern Station was only 30ish minutes and the walk down to Carriage Works where the Finders Keepers Markets new venue is was only 8 minutes from there – very quick!
Finders Keepers started at 12pm and to my delight the Farmers markets held in the same heritage listed complex was still on. It was indeed coffee time and I got my fix of organic coffee from a buzzing stall just as I walked in. I also got a couple of the yummiest organic apples to get me through the injection of handmade goodness that awaited me.
Ok here is where I admit to being a total nerd again – he he! I’m certain that it wasn’t the caffeine but I was full of excitement – adrenaline even before I entered the site of the actual Finders Keepers Market. I really think it was because I knew the calibre of the wares that awaited me and that I would be amongst likeminded souls.
It’s a weird phenomenon and only something that I’m recognising as being a Light bulb going on to make me aware that I am really doing something I love by surrounding myself in these environments. In a strange way it also gives me conviction that my own journey with handmade is the right one. I think it is what fuels my addiction to the BrisStyle Google Group forum, definitely our monthly meet ups and most certainly our own BrisStyle Indie Designer Markets.
Ok back to Finders Keepers.
As soon as I walked through the doors I knew that these markets have an edge very different from the norm. Hip, cool and utterly desirable are words that instantly came to mind – but where to start. First stop was at the Oxfam stall – just to get centred again. Here I joined in the throngs of people filling out postcards and cardboard coat hangers to leave my mark on ethical shopping.
After meandering through the sea o people, chatting to stallholders and learning that many had come up from Melbourne for the event I ran into a familiar face. The gorgeous Kristen Doran who came to Brissy for the S&C show, told me that she was having a fab time – the Friday night part of the market being very successful and the 12-10 stint that day looking the same.
When I looked around I soon found other familiar stalls that I had admired from afar – Lola & Baily awesome jewellery and shadow puppet wall art, Shannon from auntie cookie’s loveable fabric creations, Victoria Mason’s jewellery featuring her famous silver pencil sharpening pendant and all the scrumptious goodies from Leeloo’s collective.
Much to my delight there was also loads of people doing BIG jewellery ( sigh) My fav being the amazing resin jewellery designs from Melbourne designer Bamboo Chutney – now there’s a gal after my own big bold resined heart!
By then it was time to hotfoot( train) it back to get ready for my 1 leg working to Melbourne.
With only a window of Opportunity of an hour in the morning I hotfooted it down the road to make my way to the Victorian Arts Centre Maker’s Market. The day was overcast but surprisingly mild. Walking along the South bank on the Yarra towards the Southgate precinct I wondered how my old market was faring these days.
They were still setting up when I arrived and apart from a change in logo and marquee design the signature heritage green tablecloths were still there. Although my original neighbours and friends were gone many of the regulars that have been there for years were still there.
Now really pitched to the tourist crowd there were still some stand out Indie artists and designers there. Matt Irwin’s photography has a really hip feel to it – capturing the now light and art filled alley ways of Melbourne. He also does some classic black and white shot’s of Melbourne icons which makes you really want to have more time to explore this interesting city.
Rosie from Retroville caught my eye as I moved down the first aisle next to the river. Her larger than life Softies were too hard to resist. Butthole Barry and his friends all sport gathered...um well buttholes – very cute and really well made.....not to mention innovative. Rosie works full time and so dabbling in the Markets every third week is enough to keep her passion for handmade afloat. We talked Etsy but as yet this is still in the realm of big, somewhat scary and time consuming for her at the moment.
Crikey I remember when they were my barriers as well and it really made me realise just how far I’d come in the last 12 years since I had set up my stall there juggling fulltime work and just getting out and doing what I loved doing.
After the last couple of easier days at work Sunday proved to be a very long 10 hour day ( MEL/SYD/MEL/SYD/BNE) to finally get home.
My mind was abuzz with excitement at the thought of BrisStyle’s own upcoming Indie Designers Market on Saturday July 4th and conviction that we will be delivering a Market totally unique to all the others that are out there at the moment in Brisbane – a Market still with a lot of style but also a lot of soul because the designers share a bond from their online friendships.
Here’s to many more mystery days at work that lead me on another “handmade” discovery tour!