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Archive for the ‘Kustom Kulture Art and Collectables’ Category

Recently Penrith Regional Gallery hosted the opening night of their Holiday and Memory exhibition. The coolest part? Our EK is featured in the exhibition, alongside names like Reg Mombasa, Max Dupain and Ken Done!

Here’s the blurb from the Gallery: “Holiday + Memory explores the annual holiday experience of mid 20th century Australia. It is concerned with places ventured to, and experiences had and found along the way”. It continues “Herein, we are taken on a journey under big blue skies and night skies, with cars and caravans on winding roads and highways with oversized pineapples and cries from the backseat of ‘are we there yet’.  It is a land of campgrounds, barbeques and backyard pools, of romantic sunsets and eerie shadows, of riotous colour on the harbour, bush retreats, the brilliant white heat of the beach at noon, flies and mozzies, sand dunes, grass and gnarled trees, being tossed in the surf, burnt to a crisp, sticking to vinyl car seats and dripping icecream. It is a place we all share each long hot Australian summer”.

The exhibition features photography, artwork, and artefacts. An awesome feature is the old Lewers cottage is transformed into a holiday home, complete with mid-century kitchen and loungeroom. The Gallery actually features some beautiful mid-century buildings and gardens, so it’s a pretty cool place to check out. The food at the café is awesome too.

The opening night featured a talk by famous artist Ken Done, who was captivating and hilarious – I can’t believe he’s 74! Our EK is only there till early next week, but it’ll be replaced next week with a vintage caravan in it’s place. The exhibition runs all summer, so if you’re interested check out the Gallery’s website for more info.

Here’s some pics to give you an idea of what’s on show.

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It’s pretty cool to see a rough around the edges old car in a formal gallery setting. People loved seeing it too.

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The old cottage includes a mid-century inspired loungeroom and kitchen. The cool part is most of it will be auctioned off at the end of the exhibition! I’ll keep you posted.

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This fantastic modernistic painting is an original from Margo Lewers.

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The kitchen set up is pretty cool too.

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Some great vintage travel posters on display.

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And finally, Ken Done with our EK!

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I’m pretty stoked to share these amazing pics from our wedding a couple of months back. The plan from the start was a fun and relaxed day with family and friends, and that’s exactly what we got.

We also wanted something that reflected US as a couple. So naturally it had to include our EK Holdens, our mates old cars, lots of rustic and vintage décor, great tunes (blues, rockabilly and rock and roll), and of course great food. We coordinated the whole thing, and bought or made all the décor (even the 75m of bunting, the bouquet made from vintage brooches, all the signage and stationery). I think scouring the op shops and antique stores in little country towns every time we went away was one of the best bits! Having said all this, there is no way we could have done it without the help of family and friends. They went above and beyond to make it happen and were truly awesome.

So without further ado, check out these amazing pics from Jonathan David Photography.

The venue was Castlereagh Hall, just north of Penrith. With gorgeous art deco styling and stunning views over horse studs and Penrith Lakes, it was a pretty easy choice.

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Our guests had travelled from all over the place, so we made this sign to recognise how far they’d come!

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The amazing chairs and tables are from She Designs.

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We encouraged our mates with old cars to bring them along. They looked great and the other guests loved checking them out too.

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The bride arrived on the tailgate of our EK, with her best friend by her side and driven by her brother.

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My nieces were the flower girls and were adorable!

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Our celebrant was the amazing Laurel-Anne from Love from LA. She was sweet, funny and gave us a ceremony that was exactly what we wanted. She’s a lover of rockabilly and vintage style, and we’re stoked to have now become friends with her.

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Hair and make up for the girls was by Thalia Amour.

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One thing I’ve never liked about weddings is that awkward gap between the ceremony and reception. We had the whole shebang at the one place. To make our guests feel comfortable we had our awesome caterer Mario’s Kitchen put on an amazing spread of gourmet food on a mate’s old Chevy truck, with his staff  serving drinks as well.

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To keep guests entertained, we provided lawn games like bocce, croquet, quoits and a lasso set up with a saddle on a sawhorse.

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During this time we got some shots with the bridal party.

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Back at the venue, our gifts and wishing well table featured a bunch of vintage items we’ve collected over the years. The picnic basket with the slit in the top made a perfect wishing well! We also featured the wedding pics from all of our grandparents, as none of them are with us anymore.

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My mum made the amazing cake. We gave her a simple brief of rustic and native flowers, and she came up with this stunner. Each of the flowers is hand made, painstakingly made petal by petal.

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The Hall allowed us a lot of freedom when it came to set up. Our caterer Mario suggested one big long table which looked fantastic, and once again the food he provided was amazing. Each of the dishes were served as share platters, which meant you could have as much or as little of them depending on your tastes. One of my favourite memories of the day is looking down the table and seeing one of our mates eating the remnants of the mash potato directly from the serving bowl.

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After dinner we had speeches, and then our first dance was to ‘rolling in my sweet baby’s arms’ by The Snowdroppers.

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Dessert was banana flavoured soft serve topped with fresh banana. Half had chocolate topping and a covering of chocolate Persian fairy floss, while the other half had caramel topping and caramel Persian fairy floss. These were served in preserving jars with handles which guests were then able to take home with them.

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And with it all over, it was time to make our escape in our EK. We drove ourselves, and it was great to have some quiet time to ourselves and talk about everything that had happened.

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We live in an era when designers can knock up a poster design, hit print and have a stack of them within hours. So it’s pretty mind-blowing to take a step back in time and have a go at some traditional printing methods. I did just that today at the Penrith Printing Museum. I participated in their poster making course. For just $75 you can design and print your own letterpress poster. Our instructor for the day was Steve, who had a wealth of knowledge on printing and print processes.

The Museum itself is a nondescript shed on the grounds of the Penrith Paceway, who graciously donate the space for them to use.
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They’ve got a range of historical printing machines, and their aim is to use them all and share them with people. Pictured below is the mind blowing ‘Linotype’. It’s hard to explain, but it’s a fully automated machine that allows the operator to make lines of newspaper text for printing. Except it casts those lines from molten lead as you type, using individual moulds for each letter or character, and then recycles the moulds for use again. All self automated. And the molten lead is about 500 degrees.
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I was there to use a letterpress though. And for that you need letters. Lots of letters. Thankfully the Museum has heaps of letters. Though we were warned they they didn’t have all the letters for each font, which means sometimes you just had to get creative. This is about a quarter of their letter collection.
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The next step was to mock up our design. Using a selection of timber letters I came up with this. Of course it has to be backwards so it prints the right way!
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After doing this, you have to fill in all of the gaps! Not just loosely mind you, each gap has to be filled to millimetre precision. There are spacers of both timber and lead to do this.
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These close up shots show the spacers, as well as the expanding cams which open to keep everything in place.
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And this is part of the reason why everything needs to be in so tight. Once you have created your design, you need to pick it and move it with nothing falling out! Also everything needs to be held in tight so it doesn’t move in the actual printing process.
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Once the letters had been checked to make sure they were flat, it was time for the first test print.
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Overall it was okay, but as you can see some of the letters didn’t give a full print. You have to remember some of these letters are around a hundred years old – try getting that lifespan out of your inkjet printer!
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The course runs with just two students at a time. Here we see Steve with the other student doing some ‘Moody Blues’ gig posters for a gig he went to years ago. You can see his design is a lot cleaner and more classsical than mine. That’s the cool thing about getting to design your own to your own taste.11
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Here we see my run of posters drying out. You’ll notice that most of the letters have printed better than the original pass. To remedy the faults, I had to loosen the locking cams, take out the individual letters and paste a slither of paper to the back to raise the height of the letter. It was pretty amazing to think this machine was so precise, the difference between a bad print and a good one was as fine as adding a piece of paper to the back of a letter! I also swapped a few letters around to make some backwards and some upside down to further enhance that imperfect look. If I wanted something perfect I’d print it from a computer!
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All loaded up and ready to come home!
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And a final shot before I stick it on the fridge to show off. Down the track I’ll chose one of the better examples and get it framed professionally, as a unique piece of art with a cool story behind it.
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Formally Mitchell Road Auctions, the Mitchell Road Emporium is still a great place to check out for great antiques and collectables. Overall downstairs is a fairly messy collection, the kind of place where it feels a bit like an adventure. Prices are good, but you generally have to make an effort to look for things. One area that has grown since their changes is their selection of pre-loved mid century furniture. Upstairs are the more formal vendors, where everything is laid out much better, but the prices aren’t as cheap. Well worth checking out if you’re in the area. Here’s a few things that caught my eye when we visited a few weeks ago.

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If you’re ever in the gorgeous alpine town of Bright in Victoria, you should check out the Coral Lee cafe. First of all it’s pretty cool, with its dash of 50s kitsch decor, like their vintage ceramics which are used for hot drinks. Secondly, and more importantly, their food and coffee is awesome!

My fiance is a self-confessed coffee snob, and searches out the best java whenever we’re somewhere new. She gave these guys the double thumbs up, which is a big call for her. Personally I was blown away by their banana muffins. The mix was one of the lightest and fluffiest muffins I’ve had in years, intermixed with small chunks of mushy banana. All topped off with a crusty top sprinkled with raw sugar. So damn good!

Check them out if you’re ever in Bright, pop into 8 Barnard Street and check them out.

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Traditional sign writing is a beautiful art. The imperfections are what make it unique and gives it soul, kind of like an old car. In a world where the focus so often is a quick turn around and maximising profits, something needs to be said for artwork done by hand. Is it worth the extra money? Give me two identical cafes but one has a beautiful hand painted shop front, well that’s the one I’m picking.  It might seem superficial, but it suggests that business has an eye for quality and detail.

Here are some neat short docos looking at traditional sign writing and the artists that create it.

 

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Melbourne is well known for being the cultural capital of Australia, so its no surprise that it has a thriving alternative culture as well. One of the best examples of this is the awesome street art culture. So when we went to Melbourne recently, it was one of my priorities to check out.

The way our schedule worked out, we had a single day to see as much of the CBD as we could. Hardly ideal, but sometimes you just have to make the most of what you’ve got. We got a Melbourne laneway walking tour map for free, which takes you through some of the great spots the city is famous for. The cool thing is you can amble along at your own pace, and there’s plenty of options for lunch and other treats along the way.

The laneway tour actually doesn’t take in street art, which is kind of funny. Our accommodation pointed us in the direction of Hosier Lane, which is the most well known street art laneway and right near Federation Square. The quality of the art is awesome too, with some amazing images.

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The nice surprise of the walking tour was the vintage clothing shops which it passed or were nearby. We visited both Retrostar and Out of the Closet. and both had an awesome range of clothes and styles with heaps of stock. Both are kind of hidden, so look up their locations before you go.

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And Out of the Closet.
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