We Love

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Welcome to Café ME!

Working in hospitality has opened me up to the realisation that there are so many rude and greedy people in this world.

‘Yes sir I understand that your coffee is not hot enough (because it has been sitting on the table for half an hour whilst you’ve been reading the paper) just a moment, I will get you another one right away!’

So I ask myself, is this indulgent behaviour making these people any happier? Does this sense of power make their Saturday any better? Well no I don’t think it does, but who better to vent your suppressed anger and insecurities out on than a young, innocent attractive waitress who is hired to have no opinion of her own. So yes why not, continue with this power hungry behaviour, the waitress will always smile at you (whilst her youthfulness reminds you of what you’ve missed out on) no matter how demanding you want to be. You go on to stuff your face with that cake and drink your extra hot, weak, skinny, large mocha latte, that is inevitably going to make you fatter, filled with more guilt and emptiness, and never going to be good enough.

Does this customer attitude reflect an overabundance of freedom and access to an endless amount of choices? Is the concept of ‘things getting bigger and better’ making us in fact bitter?
I actually believe not everyone has to live this way and that there is an element of hope in each of us. I propose, doing something for someone other than yourself. Yes I am talking about the theory of giving, not taking and consuming. Don’t get me wrong, I love a latte but there is no doubt that you will get much more from helping others than what you get from your $3.50 caffeine hit for the day.

Monday, March 28, 2011

A little message from our friendly Finn

Lari Bourgoin
When my friend Rischenda asked me to write an article about my life in Helsinki I was thrilled at first. Then, when reading the blog description, and when trying to be acquainted with the concept of “rebirth through an experience” I admit that I got a little lost.
I tried to find an explanation to my misunderstanding. I thought perhaps cultural differences were an influence to my attitude: in how Anglo-Saxons may view life rather differently in comparison to the European ‘Romantic’ lifestyle I’m more familiar with. In saying ‘romantic’, I’m describing the ability of using your heart and your feelings to make decisions, and not necessarily your brain. During my long and joyful studies in Paris, A British teacher of North American culture and literature described that Anglo-Saxons tend to adopt the belief that life is what you make it, whereas Europeans are more passive in this respect, and generally believe more so in destiny. I almost concluded that I wasn’t an appropriate person to write an article for this blog.
Although after a long hard think I recognized I was wrong. Things happen to people; and they can impact you such in a deep way that you see life totally differently. My misunderstanding rooted in the timing of things: it’s the addition of experiences, of artistic emotions, readings, encounters, pains, that change you little by little. I do not believe that the single lecture of a book can transform you. But it’ll definitely make you think.
Rischenda mentioned my moving from Paris, where I grew up and studied, to Helsinki in Finland, the country where my mother grew up and studied. You could interpret this as an escape from my family circle, the social codes I know, and a start over. But the choice of my mother’s country can be seen as well as a return to the roots, to mom’s belly. Finland is a place that makes me feel safe as person. I allow myself more freedom in being who I am, doing what I want with a minimum of restrictions.
By learning the culture of my mother’s country, I’ve also learnt about myself, my education, and to what extent I am French or Finnish.
Helsinki is a very pleasant city to live in. Finland is the less corrupted country in the world, criminality is very low, and the social-democracy provides protection to everyone thanks to high taxes. There is a strict equality between men and women (he and she is the same word in Finnish, the language offers no possibility to distinguish sexes), all schools (university included) are free, as is health care. Finnish people think that the answer to problems is collective, and not the actions of individuals. The city itself is inhabited by very open minded people, and you rarely will be judged. People may appear cold at first, but rapidly they’ll open up and give you their true friendship. No faking here.
It’s a good feeling that I can put on whatever clothes I want to and no one will say anything about it, no one has to mix up in the mass. I like the fact that people are laid back at work, no Latin showing off. Your age or your sex is not an issue here, only your skills. I like that everything seems possible, no stress about the future.
Of course I miss the great French food culture here, the magnificence of Paris, the pleasure of shopping and my family of course. But that is not what I’m really looking for. I feel good in Helsinki for the moment, and that’s all what matters.
Sometimes moving on can only mean looking back.

Friday, March 18, 2011

TTBA Presents: Another Young, Talented Upstart

Each month TTBA will feature an upcoming artist of any genre.  If you have a friend, lover, mother or neighbour who is doing great things in art, design, fashion, writing etc or if you think you're on the way to creative stardom give us a yell at bornblog@live.com 

To start us off is young jewellery designer Amber Brennan who I just so happened to have had the honour of studying with at University.

Enjoy ...

Amber Brennan, do you work under the name Amber Brennan? If not, what is your business name? 
I work under the name for my resin designs: Hardest Button to Button

Tell me about your work? Do you consider yourself as:
a) An Artist
b) A Designer
c) None of the above

I consider myself a designer/artist. I studied Graphic Design and appreciate all things design. I like to think my resin work is designed,

What 'category' do you put your work in? 

Design/some might say craft too! 
I say design because they are my design ideas and exploration that has gotten me to this point! I also think and consider things that are design related elements and principles. Some ideas I have trialled recently are the use of tape measures embeded into the resin I really like these for the typography graphic element. I also want to develop this further with more type based ideas!

Typically, what would I find in your studio/work space? 

A mess!! Resin is quite messy and needs constant clean ups and order. There are plenty of buttons and material and other objects that I like to experiment with in my resin ideas. 
There is also a lot of safety, protective gear which is mandatory when working with resin. Other things I have around are inspirational pieces pinned up around. This could be anything from articles of interest to colour to patterns. 
I make my designs and jewellery in my lovely studio that's a garden shed, so very glamourous !!!

The process can be lengthy depending on the object, bangles take the longest. It can depend on what process and technique I use. On average bangles from start to finish take at least four hours to make, plus that there is a 24-48 hours drying time that the resin needs to cure properly, “...so that four hours would be the making and pouring and then the clean up. Then when the bangle is cured 24-48 hours later I complete the polishing and cleaning.

What Materials do you use, and where/how do you source them?

I use, resin, rubber silicone, acetone, beakers, scales, pigments, newspaper, clay and all for the making of my resin designs. Other things I use are second hand and vintage buttons, used stamps, material, coins, and many other found objects.
I source things from everywhere from people donating to me buttons, to op shops, antique shops, markets and anywhere else that I can go on a” hunting and gathering” mission ☺.

What got you interested in using resin as a jewellery ingredient?

I had liked resin jewellery for some time before she decided to learn the craft of making it.

"I wanted to know more so the curiosity got to me so much so that I looked into courses,” 

she said of her decision to sign up for a resin jewellery making workshop. 

I love Dinosaur Designs and the diversity and look of resin jewellery. I like the boldness of it.

We studied together at the University of Ballarat circa 2006, what have you done since graduating with a degree in Visual Arts? 

Ahh those for the days!
Since finishing uni, I have worked as a Marketing Assistant/Graphic Designer for a franchise company, then a small family print/design business and in 2010 I returned to University life to study a Graduate Diploma Of Education –Secondary. This was a 12 month course and I am now a qualified Visual Art/ Visual Communication and Design teacher. 

I love this and it’s rewarding being in the classroom and actually I have actually taught some resin art classes. This was one of my teaching placements at Loreto College in Ballarat, being an all girls school I was able to teach year 10 3D art students some resin casting, we made pendants for brooches and necklace pendants. 

The student’s loved it and so did the teachers, they put the works on display as a mini exhibition. The school has also implemented a resin element as part of the 3D art unit for Yr 10’s as part of the curriculum.

Do you think Higher Education is a ‘necessity’ for anyone wanting to start their own business in the creative industry?
If yes, why? 

I think it depends, for some people yes but for others no. 
Really a person’s own skill set, creativity motivation and willingness to be proactively be involved in creative industries and to network, helps to determine how well A person may do within their own business.

Where can we find your work? I know you mentioned the upcoming market in Geelong? 

My work can be found in the Ballarat Art Gallery Shop in Lydiard st Ballarat, Redbrick Gallery, Skipton St Ballarat, Can’t think straight in Vincent St Daylesford. 

I will also have a stall at the Piccadilly Market in Geelong on March 20th and then the Design Exchange Market in Ballarat April 7th. 


Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Falter magazine's Purity issue featured a series of artworks – "at the sea"
KUSTAA SAKSI is a playful and psychedelic Illustrator/ designer based in the dreamy canals of Amsterdam (yet is of Finnish origin).
Kustaa saksi I figure is relevant to TTBA's ponder on the concept of'Freedom' as his work displays an intense imagination and surreal approach to this sometimes sterile world.
Bless you Kustaa Saksi - Your wildness is infectious
Rischenda xx

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Wiki Wild West: Freedom of information: what’s the future like?

The Wiki Wild West: 
Freedom of information: what’s the future like?

By Anna Kosmanovski

How does information become free?

Does it need to be emancipated: like chickens on their way to chook death row only to have the pen swung, with open and ample, endless space for lucky creatures to muck around it given, the squark of a chicken version of “Cry Freedom” resounding for miles?

Is Freedom of Information reading Noam Chomsky books and watching hour long conspiracy theory internet documentaries, recommended to you by people who are openly suspicious that the government is trying to “kill you?”, being up to date with the latest conspiracy theories and – in your spare time – building bomb shelters?

Or is freedom of information the delicious desire – 

and clever ability – to hack away like you’ve never hacked before on government websites? Proudly able to secretly access the ASIO, the FBI, Centrelink sites?

Or, is freedom of information found in ordinary people researching things themselves – be it the argument against fluoride, what that number 621 found in tiny font on lots of supermarket junk food items actually means, or even looking through old newspapers in the public library.

Or, perhaps freedom of information involves paying a lot or little money each month for satellite TV. Perhaps it’s googling your own name on the internet. Or, it’s stumbling through local council reports posted online trying to find something interesting.

All these things, and the notion of freedom of information lead us to a prominent, contentious issue. 

Or a website, really. 

The lead guru of the website is in hot water with the US government 

and his disciples are scattered around the world; some still faithful to the original cause and others choosing to break away into spin offs.

Wikileaks. Wikileaks. (Name second time for sheer emphasis, wasn’t a typo.) 
Let’s talk about Wikileaks!

Remember, back in school, there would always be that rebel kid. Or group. Everyone could laugh at their precocious jokes: water bombs, cutting ties in half, wagging school or – for no apparent reason – wearing a monkey costume on casual dress day.

And then, sometimes this kid – or posse- who went, as the teachers grimly told you, “too far.” 
“Joe Bloggs (or other generic name) has gone too far! Don’t you kids copy him.”
Or, you might see a letter in the school bulletin: “Jane Doe has been officially expelled for carrying alcohol on school grounds.”

And you feel funny; if you’re honest, there’s a side of you befuddled by the blatant disregard to authority and procedure but then there’s also an overwhelming siding with the teachers: yes, it did feel like they went “too far” actually and, as the teachers reminded you in solemn assemblies warning children to not copy that behaviour: “There’s always consequences.”

If the worldwide media was a playground 

and all the journos and reporters and bloggers, kids, the Wikileaks dudes would definitely be the rebellious kids, hated by teachers and blamed of causing dissent among peers: admired by some, feared by others and intensely disliked by most.

The way I’ve worded that, the way I’ve introduced them – don’t think I’m trying to glorify them. Trying to do a Question Tarantio, Pulp Fiction “glorifying violence- or Wikileaks” by painting them in a way which makes you feel some sympathy for them.

Nor am I trying to completely chastise them either, and make you feel like they’re the kids in school we shouldn’t be hanging out with because (hang in there with me while we do this “rebel at school” analogy, I’m enjoying it) they’ll corrupt us and carry us along on their wayward way. (Way, way way! There I said that word again!)

Because, you see – there is a fine line. A fine, delicate, petite, tight-rope walker’s line, 

that we should consider when we’re working out whether to put Wikileaks in the good or bad box when we’re thinking about freedom of information.

So then, in seemingly random order, come with me while we discuss some pros and cons of the Wiki wiki wild west boys.

Pro: They make journalists work harder for stories. When the Wiki boys get a story, no longer can one media outlet sit leisurely back, and smugly print off an “exclusive” on an important government issue. They have a “secret document” obtained by “private sources” which only their printerly eyes are privy too. 

Meanwhile, are they even printing the “truth?” How can we tell? There’s no other corresponding reports from other media outlet to compete with this ‘scoop.’ It might be ratings apple pie for the media outlet, but is the information presented to the public being served in the best possible way?

Con: Apart from the obvious fact that much of the Wikileaks information is obtained unethically and through subterfuge, here’s another con…

Deliverers of Wikileaks’ sources of information are not always guaranteed protection. 

See accused Wiki whistle blower, American soldier, Bradley Manning for example, who – currently – is residing in a solitary confinement prison cell. 

But, for you and me – when we talk about freedom of information, and the future of that – what can we say? 

I believe we can say that, with respect to freedom of information, with the rise of accessibility of information online and the inevitable but slow choking deaths of newspapers; with Wiki-anything (Wikipedia, Wikicommons, Wikimedia, the list continues) and its buddies Google (and for the sake of diplomacy, Yahoo) 
becoming the modern portal of information, we can safely say that the future of freedom of information will become more ‘free.’

Yet, as for freedom of privacy, and freedom of decent and original reporting, and investigative journalism, and the freedom of integrity and the freedom of the value of ‘quality over quantity,’ can we be still be optimistic?


“There is absolutely no discernible difference between male and female graphic design.”

To celebrate International Women's Day (March 8th 2011), I thought I'd dig up a little article I wrote some time ago about gender differentiation in design ... enjoy. MC

Initially one would think that there is most definitely no discernible difference between male and female design. 
For instance you can’t pick up a magazine, flick to a page layout and say confidently  “That was most certainly done by a female.”

Or can you?
After studying graphic design at University in a studio environment that has a combination of both male and female designers, one could say quite confidently that males and females do have a differing style of taste, aesthetically speaking when it comes to the product of their design work. However there is a fine line between picking up gender elements in a piece, and picking up varying styles from one person to the next. 

Simply knowing a persons style from working closely with them for three years can easily be confused with determining gender elements in their work.

However being in the graphic design industry graphic designers must learn that yes they are an artist ...
 BUT working in graphic design means that the product of their creativity at the end of the day must be client orientated. For instance a female designer may be required to put together a campaign for a male orientated company like Hard Yakka for example, the outcome of this campaign would then be male orientated, appealing to the target audience. To look at the campaign one would say that it had to have been done by a male. This is where gender in graphic design gets confusing.

If graphic designers were to have total artistic freedom in their design work then yes elements of gender would show up as the work would be done on a personal level, but working in a client based industry changes a graphic designers work to suit the needs of a different person, therefore the outcome of the work would be very hard to be judged as either male or female.

Art and aesthetic taste are powerful framers of self-image, social identity and public values[1]
Breaking down that sentence if art and aesthetics are in fact powerful framers of self-image and social identity then work (art or design) done on a personal level would most definitely have stand out gender traits.

Comparing Male and Female Design
A survey was conducted to members of the general public (not those who study in the field of art of design) on two pieces of graphic design work, one piece taken from a female illustrator named Fafi who’s work appears in Curvy Magazine, Curvy Magazine is a Women’s graphic design and illustration magazine published annually by Yen Magazine and released at the Semi Permanent Design Conference held in Sydney annually every July. Curvy Magazine celebrates women in design and the beauty of design work and illustration created by women, the magazine screams woman and clearly every piece in the magazine was created by a women, even the general non graphic design public can tell this.

The other piece was taken from POL Oxygen magazine an architecture, industrial and product design magazine. 
This in contrast to Curvy is dark in appearance, very structured, grid like, geometrical feeling that seems to have been created by a male designer. After emailing POL Oxygen to confirm that their designer was in fact a male, Editor Jan Mackey replied:

Hello Morgan
What an odd proposition that male and female graphic designers would have their gender as a determining factor in their design!
Our designer is male.
Best wishes,
Jan Mackey
Editor, POL Oxygen magazine

The results were as follows:
These two design pieces give a clear indication that there is a difference in aesthetics when it comes to the product of a female designer compared to a male designer.

Feminism In Art and design
It must be noted that there is an extremely big difference between art and design created by a female and art and design created by a feminist. For example female graphic design, such as that seen in Curvy magazine is done by females, but not of a feminist nature.
“Feminism is the conviction that gender has been, and continues to be a fundamental category for the organization of culture, moreover the pattern of that organization usually favours men not women.”[1]
Feminist approaches to art (and graphic design) have been, and still are extremely influential[2] so what role does feminism play in the formation and application of ideas about artworks, creativity and aesthetic value?
Feminist work takes on the approach that images, representations and crafted expression of ideas are important not only for their beauty, virtuosity or intrinsic value but also because they are indicators of social position and power.[3]

Wherever there is power, there are disparities in the ways that it is employed ...
and art is an enterprise where sex and sexuality, gender and social position and cultural authority all have a formidable role.[4]
There is a major difference between the work of a female artist or graphic designer and a feminist artist or designer. While a female artist or designers work may contain “typical” female gender traits, like the subconscious use of colour and shape and various other design elements. Feminist art and design is more of a voice or an opinion of a belief, expressed creatively.
Schopenhauer’s remark that 'women are incapable of important artistic creativity' would have had feminist artists and designers across the work absolutely furious!


[1] Gender and Aesthetics: an introduction. Carolyn Korsmeyer
[2] Gender and Aesthetics: an introduction. Carolyn Korsmeyer
[3] Gender and Aesthetics: an introduction. Carolyn Korsmeyer
[4] Gender and Aesthetics: an introduction. Carolyn Korsmeyer

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


‘I know it, I think I know it from a hymn….They’ve said so, it doesn’t need more explanation’ Fever Ray, Seven

On a fine sunny afternoon on my common journey home from my draining café job I stumbled across the familiar harmonic voice of Fever Ray on my radio. With Nordic undertones and a sophisticated meshwork of electronic, acoustic and percussive flavours it was not a surprise that immediately I felt a sense of divinity, gracefulness and fragility towards her solo work. An intense sensation compelled me to further explore the nature and ideas behind her music. After sifting through each song, each of them grasping a different complex emotion of mine, I realised that I actually loved every single song on the album. This is a rare occurrence, if it has ever happened before.

Fever ray by artistic title, in reality known as Karin Driejer Andersson, took a rather successful rest from her half in the Swedish brother sister duo ‘The Knife’ and fashioned a significantly unique musical persona as ‘Fever Ray’.

I’ve confessed to others before, that at that moment my ears were blessed with her angelic compositions I had officially fallen in love with this woman. Every word she breathed I somehow understood and related to.

If you have yet to have had the honour, her lack of literality allows the listener to gain their own enchantment from the lyrical content. Fever Ray writes mostly in a state she likes to describe as ‘daydreaming’, drawn from her recent post natal chapter in which she feels ‘awake, but tired’.

You could say that she birthed a very beautiful and charming resonance and on my lifelong voyage in seek of an artist that sings the hidden or undiscovered poetry inside my mind, I finally found her. It is an obvious notion in her work that you tend to feel light and fluttery or sombre and heavy however the experience in itself is purely subjective – what you gain from her is chastely your own.

And what has Fever Ray done for me? – She’s made me feel free as a bird…..

Rischenda xx

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Irina Werning

"I love old photos. 
I admit being a nosey photographer. As soon as I step into someone else’s house, I start sniffing for them. Most of us are fascinated by their retro look but to me, it’s imagining how people would feel and look like if they were to reenact them today...

A few months ago, I decided to actually do this. So, with my camera, I started inviting people to go back to their future.

by the way, this project made me realise Im a bit obsessive..."

AMAZING - Enjoy.


Is This Guy For Real?

Peter Madden's prejudice comments couldn't have come at a better time - the start of our 'Freedom' month.

It is people like Peter Madden who turn Australia back decades in acceptance.

I agree with Mandrew Panning 'It's prejudice people like Peter Madden that is ruining Australia. The only way to "Heal our land" is to get rid of hateful people like him.'