Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Market

We're hold a special Christmas Market opening this Saturday at 10am. If you're looking for any of those last minute gift ideas, come along.

Our Artists include: John D-C, Emmajane Illustration, Benconservato, Claire Taylor, Genna Campton, Herbert & Friends, Mechelle B, Jackie Cooper, Julie Holmes, Kate Banazi, Beth-Emily, Toni Park.

Of course our walls are always brimming with work by talented people, so pop in and have a look.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Interview with artist John D-C (continued)

An exhibition monstrously mashing two of the
artists favorite subjects:
The Monsters of Popular Culture &
The Golden Age of Rock and Roll.

19th November - 14th December

How would you describe your artistic style? What are your artistic influences?
If I had to describe my artistic style in a few words I'd say it would be retro-a-go-go. My art is always influenced by my hobbies and interests which change from time to time but they usually include a healthy combination of Brick-A-Brack, Screen Printing, Rock & Roll Dancing, Blues Piano, Velvet Dinner Jackets, Art Deco Theatres, Record Shopping, The Creations Of Jim Henson, Ten Pin Bowling, The Hohner Harmonica, 1979 Bedford Short Wheel Based Vans, Print Gocco, Vintage Comic Books, White Elephant Stalls, Animation, Drive-in Movies and Cuba.
While putting the characters together for my exhibition, Haunted House Rock I was particularly influenced by the look of saturday morning cartoons from the late 1960's, 70's and early 80's in particularly those created by the big 3 american animation powerhouses Hanna- Barbera, Filmation and Rankin and Bass. While these cartoons were originally intended to entertain children I love the fluid and simplistic nature of the way the characters were drawn and animated. Their simplicity gave the viewer such a sense of motion and expression.

I was also influenced by the art of early 1950's rock 'n roll bill and film posters. I feel due to their disposable nature, as well as the view at the time that Rock 'n Roll was just a passing phase in the course or popular music that these were never intended to be viewed as artwork but some of the images, typefaces and layouts used are just beautiful. Just look at the French poster for Elvis' film Jailhouse Rock.

What are the mediums and processes you use to create your creatures?
I approach illustration very graphically and always have a strong concept of what I am going to draw before I commence. For most of my illustrations I Initially I sketch quite a bit to define and refine an illustration, I then pull the sketch all apart again and ink it in sections which I layer together digitally, I feel this helps me to give the illustration a controlled haphazard look and an authentically aged feel.

For this exhibition I have also used to a few other mediums and processes such as painting and toy customisation.

You describe toy customisation as one of art making mediums, can you explain this?
For me toy customisation has very humble beginnings. As a kid growing up I used to love to play with toys in particularly Super Hero Action Figures. As with most kids my age I went through a Superman, Superman, Superman phase. He was my favorite toy I used to fold his legs up behind his head, put him in my top pocket and take him everywhere with me, I liked him so much I lost his cape and wore the “S” right off his chest. For Christmas that year I received a second brand new and (in my opinion) all powerful Superman Action Figure It was great I was so happy, but there is one problem, when your playing Superman and you have two Supermen there is only so much flying around you can do before you need to find a bad guy to beat up. I remember taking to one of my supermen with some plasticine to make him “more muscily” and a coiled up pipe cleaner crown which I placed on top of his head, he now became the mighty-evil leader known as King Spring, and a new hobby was born.

Now days I mainly start my customising with a Generic 8-inch Mego styled body, I sculpt the head or add facial features to a resin cast of and existing head with modeling clay. I then go about creating a costume and accessories for the figure via many different means.

For those of you that don’t know, The Mego Corporation was a toy company that dominated the action figure toy market during most of the 1970s. The Mego Corporation was founded in the early 1950s and was mostly known prior to 1971 as a producer of dime store toys. Starting in 1971, Mego began purchasing license rights to a variety of successful motion pictures, television programs, and comic books, and started producing lines for Planet of the Apes, Star Trek, and the Wizard of Oz. Mego used various licensed Marvel and DC superhero characters to create their World’s Greatest Superhero line, which became their most successful toy line. They also produced an original character, Action Jackson, an unsuccessful competitor of Hasbro’s G.I. Joe. The secret of Mego’s success was that their action figures were constructed with interchangeable heads. Generic bodies could be mass produced and different figures created by interposing different heads and costumes on them. Mego also constructed their figures primarily in an 8-inch (200 mm) scale - setting an industry standard in the 1970s.

I prefer to customise using the Mego’s 8-inch figures for a few reasons, firstly I love them as a base because you can really go crazy with the cloth costuming secondly they have a very classic look to them, and thirdly there is a really established community around customizing Mego Action Figures and it is pretty easy to purchase reproduction parts and accessories.

* 'Jail House Rock' French poster artwork via

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Interview with artist John D-C

An exhibition monstrously mashing two of the
artists favorite subjects:
The Monsters of Popular Culture &
The Golden Age of Rock and Roll.

19th November - 14th December

What is the concept behind Haunted House Rock, and what can people expect to
find in your show?
Haunted House Rock is a hideously, abominable creation, in which I monstrously mash two of my favourite subjects: The monsters of popular culture & The golden age of Rock and Roll!

In the exhibition I also tell the story of the rise and fall of a character I created a few years ago called Frankie. I tell his story by looking back at his life through memorabilia, paraphernalia and ephemera which I have created and displayed to resemble a Pseudo-Museum Exhibition.

The Exhibition consists of Original Drawing and
Paintings, Limited Edition Giclee and Gocco Prints as well as Customised Toys.

Tell us a little more about the character you created called Frankie
Frankie is basically a fun mash up I created between my favourite popular culture Monster, Frankenstein and the King of Rock and Roll. The Idea for Frankie came from a sketch and subsequent print I did a few years ago. I've also always kinda felt Elvis had a disproportionally large forehead. I feel that if Frankie were to have a page on Wikipedia it would read a little something like this:

Elvis Aaron Frankenstein was a singer and actor who could arguably neither sing nor act. A cultural icon, he is commonly known simply as Frankie and is also sometimes referred to as The Modern Prometheus of Rock 'n' Roll as many attribute him as single-handedly taking Rock 'n' Roll to the masses.

Frankie had many hit songs such as: That’s All Wrong (Mama), Raise Hell Hotel, Good Hauntin’ Tonight, I Forgot To Remember To Kill, Do Be Cruel, Spook Me Tender, Blue Suede Shackles, All Shocked Up, Are You Gruesome Tonight? and Suspicious Brains.

Frankie quickly became a teenage idol and went on to become a Hollywood star in his own right. He starred in a total of 31 films including: Fear in Acapulco, Harum Scare'em, A.I. Blues, Flaming Torch, Haunted House Rock, Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls, Paradise Transylvanian Style, Follow That Brains, Killin' Cousins, Ghoul Happy, Undead In The Country, Brainbake, Stay Away Monster, Live A Little Die A Little, The Trouble With Ghouls, Viva Las Vengeance, Scareway, The Bride of Frankie & Johnny and It Happened At A Burning Mill.

During the height of his career the world was gripped with Frankie Fever and Frankie's image was used to sell everything from lightning rods to platform shoes he even had his own line of hair care products.

Sadly, health problems, prescription drug dependence and angry mobs of peasants with fire torches plagued the star in his later life leading to his untimely death at an early age.

"...I was also influenced by the art of early 1950's rock 'n roll bill and film posters..."
Stay tuned Tuesday to read more from this interview with John D-C's about his exhibition Haunted House Rock.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ceramic artist Hayden Youlley talks about his FOOD FIGHT submission

My creation for FOOD FIGHT:
"Only on paper has humanity yet achieved glory, beauty, truth, knowledge, virtue, and abiding love."
– George Bernard Shaw

This work is about using material to create a tactile experience. The simple random distribution of creases in the paper surface of the objects creates complex patterns of light, shade and texture that disturb the smooth surrounds and invite study and touch.

About my ceramic work:
I am influenced by an appreciation of life’s vast and diverse experiences and the importance of growing and learning from these, I use the lightness, translucency, mimicry and texture of porcelain to push the material and my skills to find a convergence of crafting and concept, in perfect synchronicity.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A little bit from emerging artist Sheree Evelina and her cute submission for FOOD FIGHT:

My artwork for FOOD FIGHT:

Hello, my name is Sheree Evelina. I am a graphic designer and illustrator based in Sydney. I began drawing my entry for 'FOOD FIGHT – the Pack a Picnic edition', at Hyde Park in Sydney. It was a beautiful, warm and sunny morning. Spring had arrived!

I thought about what I would prepare for my own picnic with loved ones. The home made dishes I would make, and all the other little things I would take, such as a sun umbrella, a cute teddy bear for the little ones, and a summer hat with the pretty ribbon!

I drew each item one by one. I enjoyed drawing everything on my picnic list, it warmed my heart.

When I finished drawing everything, I went home and scanned them all to compose my artwork. Something went wrong, all of the items started to float! “Oh noooo, not now!”

I was panicked... I hastily drew some strings to tie all of the floating objects to the picnic basket! I then drew and colored 4 balloons with drops of watercolor and attached them to the basket! Voila! The picnic was ready to float to the sky, taking all the warmth, joy, togetherness, and happiness of a simple picnic UP UP and AWAY... to wherever it may land :)

About my Illustration style:

Most of my drawings are black and white pencil sketches. These can range from messy to tidy, from a simple doodle to detailed illustration. I love drawing by hand, it make every illustration feel warm. I believe the most powerful technique in creating an illustration is to put your heart and happiness into it – it will touch others’ hearts.

I mostly draw for children and women. When adding colour to my illustrations, I prefer to use watercolor. I also love to add Trompe-l'œil and Borges’ Baroque Illusionism style into my drawings, combining photography, torn papers, typography, water drip, etc. Creating a humble illusion can touch everyone’s imagination.

All about our FOOD FIGHT artists

Emmajane Illustration
Emma Simmons is an illustrator and graphic designer. As a compulsive collector of shapes, textures, patterns and fabrics, I have a huge source of inspiration to draw from – but I need a bigger cupboard. Much of my work is collage based, I relish getting away from the computer and doing things by hand.

John D-C
John Debono-Cullen is a graphic artist and his creative projects are heavily influenced by his many interests and hobbies. These usually include a healthy combination of bric-a-brac, screen printing, rock & roll dancing, blues piano, velvet dinner jackets, art deco theatres, record shopping, the creations of Jim Henson, ten pin bowling, the hohner harmonica, 1979 Bedford short wheel based vans, print gocco, vintage comic books, white elephant stalls, animation, drive-in movies and Cuba.

Anais Taylor
Anais Taylor is a designer and illustrator inspired by nature and her local farmers markets. She aims to create art to inspire people to live more seasonally and sustainably. She is currently completing her second calendar of seasonal produce featuring her drawings of organic fruit and vegetables and filled with ideas for living with the seasons.

Benconservato is the alias of Emma Kidd, an artist/illustrator. She has travelled and lived in Europe and a land of mythical animals. Her heart is still in both, despite loving being back in Australia. She encourages you to find your inner monster.

Bethany Carlsson
Wife of a swedish dreamboat, mother of gorgeous Audrey, avid baker, reader of pretty blogs, cookbook collector, Earl Grey addict, dinner table decorator and flower arranger.

Cory Child
Cory Child was conjured up by Sydney architectural graduate, Cory Hartono with the aim to create statement pieces for those romantic whimsies.

Cory is a constant dreamer and believer, travel enthusiast, and works primarily in architecture during broad light. She loves making handsome small objects for others to love and treasure.

Dawn Tan
Melbourne artist and crafter Dawn Tan is a self-confessed foodie with a penchant for all things yummy and beautifully packaged.

Her work embraces her inspiration with home-cooking, packaging and grocery shopping. Some of which have been translated into large over-sized sculptures, art prints and accessories such as tea towels, aprons, and market tote bags.

Foolhouse is the brainchild of designer Sarah Lamond's inner child. A brand that specializes in eclections. In the style of Edward Lear and his runcible spoon, Foolhouse too has invented its own word to describe it's crafted output. e.clec.tion n - The marriage of not "Owl and Pussy Cat" but ‘Collection and Eclecticism’, awkwardly translating as eclections of artworks and products that make every thought or situation ~an occasion.

She resides in her own foolhouse, an old Californian bungalow in Sydney nowhere near California and sneaks precious moments away from corporate bread and butter to indulge in the foolish gossamer of illustration, wordsmithing and product design.

Grace Teoh
Grace is a freelance illustrator who works mostly with calligraphy ink and gouache. She’s inspired by the swirling artwork of Mucha, the dancers of Degas, and fairy tale illustrations of Arthur Rackham. Other loves include live jazz, Spanish folk guitar, sunshine, warm cafes, saunas and the beach. She is currently working on an illustrated adaptation of "James and the Giant Peach."

Hayden Youlley
Influenced by an appreciation of life’s vast and diverse experiences and the importance of growing and learning from these, Hayden uses the lightness, translucency, mimicry and texture of porcelain to push the material and his skills to their very breaking point to find a convergence of crafting and concept, in perfect synchronicity.

Herbert & Friends
Herbert & Friends is a Sydney-based softie label created by artist Torunn Higgins. Combining her love of nature, fabric and design, Torunn's creations take on a life of their own. Her range of softies brings together an odd collection of friends, from turtles to alpacas and anteaters. These quirky characters get up to all kinds of mischief, and each one comes with a little account of their latest adventure. The creatures are handmade using recycled felt, up-cycled and new cotton fabrics.

Jen Allison
Jen is a Sydney-based artist who works with paper and origami techniques to create little masterpieces. She likes to use origami in a non-traditional way and works with all kinds of paper, or anything foldable, in her practice. Sometimes her works are very conceptual and aim to make a statement, but she also makes gentler, more evocative pieces. She also works with customer's own images to create personalised, one-off works.

Matthew Roland
Matthew Roland is an illustrator, a designer, and very, very tall. He has a penchant for winter-wear, two reversible jumpers, and an incomplete set of encyclopaedias. He draws in pencil and watercolour, or goes all modern on his Macintosh, and enjoys both very much. Matthew hopes you like his work.

Meredith Walker-Harding
Puppet booking agent, hit-and-miss baker, ukelele player, drinker of tea, eater of sweet treats, imaginary party planner, pineapple enthusiast, knitter and maker of things

Narelle Coxhead
I love pattern and textiles, and I am inspired by retro fabrics, from glamorous 1950's dresses once owned by my mum to fun 70’s and 80's op-shop blouses. I originally studied visual arts, but found enjoyable work as a graphic artist, specialising in information graphics and illustrations for the news media. I got back into visual arts when my daughter was little through participating in print portfolio exchanges and in group exhibitions, including; The Firestation Print Studio, Melbourne and T.A.P Gallery, Darlinghurst. More recently I studied Surface Design at ISCD, winning the No Chintz fabric company industry award. I hope to continue exploring the cross-over between these fields - Illustration, graphic design, visual arts and textile design - in my work.

Nia May
My papercuts illustrate a curious, two-dimensional world, foxes, teapots, skeletons, birds and little girls lost. There are no brush strokes or subtle distinctions of tone and shade in this place – only the edge the scalpel creates – evoking a benign kind of humour and wistfulness for the folly and fantasy of childhood. I make them by using a sharp knife while drinking lots of tea; and my house is often filled with confetti.

Olivia Simmons
Olivia enjoys creating handcrafts and working with film photography. She currently lives and works in Germany, and a little of Sydney.

Sheree Evelina
My illustration style is pencil sketch style, most of my drawings are black and white – just pencil strokes on top of a piece of paper. From messy to tidy, from simple doodle to detailed illustration. I love to hand draw as it allows my illustrations to maintain a warmth and feel human. I mostly draw for children and women. When I have to add colour into my illustrations, I prefer watercolour as my sidekick. I also love to add Trompe-l’œil and Borges’ Baroque Illusionism style into my drawings, combining photography, torn papers, typography, water drip, etc. creating a humble illusion that can touch everyone’s imagination.

Whiskers Lane
Jodie Etchells' designs include one-of-a-kind jewellery pieces and accessories handmade with vintage fabrics & felt, Vintage Teacup Candles & more. Hand detail is a love of hers and all of her designs have been carefully made entirely by hand.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

FOOD FIGHT! An art exhibition & publication launch

Food Fight is fast approaching! The Pack a Picnic Edition will launch this Sunday, the 23rd of October, coinciding with the Summer Hill Grand Food Bazaar, for the Crave Sydney Food Festival.

Food Fight is a yearly collaborative exhibition and accompanying publication produced by Sweets Workshop. Food Fight is all about food – pitting image against text, recipe against illustration, photograph against story. We would like to thank all of the artists and writers who contributed to this years upcoming event.

Our list of talented contributors includes:
Emmajane Illustration, John D-C, Anais Taylor, Benconservato, Bethany Carlsson, Cory Child, Dawn Tan, FoolHouse, Grace Teoh, Hayden Youlley, Herbert & Friends, Jen Allison, Matthew Roland, Meredith Walker-Harding, Narelle Coxhead, Nia May, Olivia Simmons, Sheree Evelina and Whiskers Lane

We would also like to thank our sponsors K.W. Doggett and R.M. Gregory printing for their support in producing the 2011 Food Fight Pack a Picnic edition.

Food Fight runs from the 23rd October - 16th November, we hope to see you in the gallery.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A peek at Nia May's 'Paper & the Blade'

An Exhibition of Papercuts by Nia May

Saturday 17th September - Wednesday 15th October

My papercuts illustrate a curious, two-dimensional world of foxes, teapots, skeletons, birds and little girls lost. There are no brushstrokes or subtle distinctions of tone and shade in this place – only the edge the scalpel creates – evoking a benign kind of humour and wistfulness for the folly and fantasy of childhood. I make them by using a sharp knife while drinking lots of tea; and my house is often filled with confetti.

'Hello there'
1.5m paper cut window display

Peeking in at some of the lovely pieces by Nia

'Animal Stack' (in back) & 'Mini Mano 2'

'Tea Time' (left) & 'Hourglass'

'Nao' (left) & 'Masako'

Friday, September 9, 2011

Interview: Papercut Artist Nia May

An exhibition of paper cuts by Nia May
17th September – 5th October

Explain the concept exhibition ‘Paper and the Blade’ and tell us what people can expect to see at the show?
Paper and the Blade is a collection of papercuts I made over the past year. They are created using only paper, a knife, and the gentle disarray of my mind. I like to think of these images as postcards or snapshots from a sweet and slightly strange world rendered into 2D by my trusty little knife. This world is inhabited by a motley cast of little girls and skeletons, birds, bears and tea pots.

What is papercut, and what do you enjoy about working in this medium?
Papercut is the art of slicing away at a piece of paper to reveal the image hidden within it. I love the immediacy of making a papercut, no long hours waiting for paint to dry for me! Also unlike painting there are no subtleties of tone and shade, just the contrast of paper on paper. I like the spontaneity – the way that no matter how carefully I may plan and sketch my idea, the final piece always has its own idea about how it should look.

When and how did you start making papercuts?
My paper odyssey started a few years ago when I was making stencils to screen-print my designs onto clothing. I quickly realised that I am no screen printer - ink went everywhere! But I could cut nice clean stencils. Although not brave enough to use my stencils to brighten up unloved street corners, I kept my scalpel and blades. By chance I saw some Chinese papercut art on the internet, and I was hooked before I’d even made my first one. It’s incredibly addictive and satisfying and the simplicity of paper and a blade constantly inspires me.

Where do you get inspiration for your work?
After I had my daughter, I began collecting Little Golden Books, cute textiles for her room, and reading stories from Hans Christian Anderson and the Brother Grimm. I am so inspired by the benign kind of humour to be found there (as well as the sometimes bizarre imagery), and they reminded me of the imaginary world I lived in for - let’s face it - most of my childhood. And it’s that feeling of safe but surreal that I am trying to recreate with my papercuts. I also spent some time in Mexico, and fell in love with the countless images of skeletons and ‘las calaveras’ I saw there around the time of dia de muertos.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Interview: Animator Kathryn Bray talks about her claymation, 'Your Treasure Your Heart'

'Your Treasure Your Heart' a Claymation by Kathryn Bray
Opens 2pm, 27th August – 7th September

Explain the concept behind your claymation and exhibition 'Your Treasure Your Heart', and tell us what people can expect to see at the show?
'Your Treasure Your Heart' tries to visually explain a proverb (a wise saying or teaching) that Jesus told a long time ago; 'For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.' Billy and Benny are two critters with very similar lives but very different approaches to it. The story

The exhibition will be showing the film, and also the process of making it. Hopefully you'll get a little bit of an idea what its like living in a clay world. It's pretty cute.

What is claymation, and what do you enjoy about creating an animation in this style?
Claymation uses the same principles as stop motion, which is uses the same principles as film. When individual images or frames run past our eyes fast enough, we believe we are watching continuous motion rather than a collection of static images. The only difference then is film captures action that is already happening, in stop motion the animator has to make the action happen between frames. It takes a little longer.

There's a lot I enjoy about claymation! I like the beginning, sketching character concepts, exploring their expressions and personalities. Then I love getting clay under my nails while modelling the characters and testing out their facials. I love it when I can give what was previously a block of plasticine on a shelf a personality, and look like its confused, day dreaming or sulking.

I actually enjoy the process of setting up the shot, taking the shot, adjusting the characters by 2mm, taking another shot. It's as if your sense of time has slowed down to match that of the claymation, like it's normal to take 12 minutes to scratch your nose instead of the usual 2.5 seconds.

Taking the first photo is probably the scariest bit about the whole thing - cos once you start, that's it! You keep shooting till its done. If something stuffs up, well that's too bad isn't it! Just hope you can fix it in the editing stage, or, have a distraction tactic ready for when you play it to people. Or embrace the style of 'Rustic Chic', or 'Glam Glitch' as in this case.

Where did you get inspiration from for the character design of your animation?
The script was quite cute and targeted towards children, so I tried to make characters and props to match that style, lots of rounded edges, simple and stylised, bright colours. I got ideas from the claymation 'Pingu' for the set which has a white backdrop, and very minimalist set, which works beautifully as your imagination doesn't need a lot to make up something quite wonderful!

The design also had to be governed by function. As I had next to no experience in claymation, I had to have characters and props which were easy to keep track of - this is no Mary and Max! So no more clothes, limbs, or phalanges than absolutely necessary!

Have you produced animations previously? What methods/style have you created these with?
I've produced one claymation before using the method of 'I have one weekend to pump out a two minute clip so I'll push this ball of clay around and see what happens'.

The other animations I've done have all been using either Flash or After Effects. My very first and one of my most favourite animations used Flash for a uni project. It was a music video using Queen's 'Flash Gordon', and about a starfish who was saving the world from intergalactic terror and mass destruction. The next semester I accidentally wiped everything off my computer. That was 10 years ago but it still hurts on the inside.

What's on the horizon for future animations?
Fun times! I'm currently in cohorts with the wonderful creative power-duo Phil and Meredith Walker-Harding (also known as the Cardboard Collective), and at the moment we're all about paper, in particular shadow puppets. Which is like stop-motion, but faster.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Sneak Peek: New artists and artwork

This week we're opening up our exhibition space to introduce some new artwork and artists to the gallery.

Welcome new Artists

Beth Josey
Beth enjoys the challenge of communicating to her audiences in different mediums, taking advantage of the visual impact that each can provide. Dramatic lino prints have become a focus for much of her work. The high contrast and strong lines of the medium create a graphic and raw image that only relief printing can offer.

Although Beth's work refuses to be characterised by a single regimented style, the relationship between the works can always be found in the figurative yet unquestionably strange nature of her subjects and compositions.

Di Conlon
Is retired and likes knitting, she enjoys craft and stuff. A sketchbook is her travel companion. If she could knit and scuba dive, she would.

Jen Allison
Jen is a Sydney-based artist who works with paper and origami techniques to create little masterpieces. She likes to use origami in a non-traditional way and works with all kinds of paper, or anything foldable, in her practice. Sometimes her works are very conceptual and aim to make a statement, but she also makes gentler, more evocative pieces. She also works with customer's own images to create personalised, one-off works.

Little Dot
Sitting in a small living room in the tiny country of New Zealand a little dot of an idea had sparked in the mind of Alice, and Little Dot was born. As she explained it to her husband, Josh,“I want to make stationery that’s like a fashion accessory.” “Why not call it fashionery then?” suggested Josh.The spark fired and grew until Little Dot fashionery included not only beautiful stationery, but hair ties, scarves, card, pouches and of course, Little Dot and Lulu, the character dolls of the Little Dot collection.

New work from some of our favourites
Benconservato (Emma Kidd)
Is an artist / illustrator. She has traveled and lived in Europe and a land of mythical animals. Her heart is still in both, despite loving being back in Australia. She encourages you to find your inner monster.

Beth takes delight in the study of nature. Her approach to figurative illustration combines the fantastical world of her imagination with representations of the real-world flora and fauna. She also loves to draw from her roots as a printmaker and experiments by fusing her illustrations with abstract and tactile imagery. Beth likes to collaborate with other like-minded creatives.

I like my tea with soy and honey – thanks.

Kate Banazi
I am an illustrator and silkscreen printer from London, currently based in Sydney, Australia. I have a BA hons degree in fashion from Central St Martins and am rather deft with a pair of shears, a cotton reel and a slice of cake.

I am brown eyed, right handed and very often melancholy. I am very good at multi tasking.
You will often find me eating, talking, drinking and drawing, all at the same time.
I think I make the perfect Yorkshire puddings, but I am more than willing to try yours

S.P.Y Downunder (Stephanie Lee)
Somewhere in the design world, an independent designer and travel junkie with a background in architecture decided to venture into creating fun things for your home. Memories collected during trips abroad are somehow weaved into the designs, all with a limited colour palette, strong graphical designs, and made with organic materials from sustainable sources. Combined with a love of words and art, a homeware collection was born. All items you see on this website have been brainstormed over hot cups of tea, and made with love.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Change of shop hours

Until further notice Sweets Workshop will be closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Our normal hours are in place for the following days:
Wednesday & Friday 10am - 5.30pm
Thursday 10am - 6.30pm
Saturday 10am - 4pm

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Food Fight 2011 - Submissions

The Pack A Picnic – Edition

Food Fight is a yearly collaborative exhibition and accompanying zine produced by Sweets Workshop. Food Fight is all about food, pitting image against text, recipe against illustration, photograph against story. In the ring this year is the humble picnic.

We’re calling for submissions from artists and writers to contribute to the exhibition and zine. What we’re looking for, are illustrations, design, photography, recipes, stories, poems that celebrate the picnic. Your creation can focus on any aspect, from what to pack to where to go.

The exhibition will run from 23rd of October to 15th November, with the launch of the zine on the 23rd to co-inside with the Summer Hill Food Fair. YUM! The publication will be printed on 100% recycled stock and will be a limited edition print run, it’ll be a short and sweet size and will be hand finished. To have a look at what was on offer last year for the Sweet Tooth Edition, go to our website.

If your artwork is selected it may feature in the publication and/or the exhibition (where it can be offered for sale). Any written piece or artwork chosen to be included in the Food Fight publication or exhibition will receive a free copy of the publication.

Submissions close on the 17th of September 2011. Email us your entry as a low res electronic file (pdf or jpg) to If your work is chosen, we will contact you for high res files. If working digitally please make sure you work to 300dpi, and if working by hand we can organise high res scans. Please feel free to forward this invitation to anyone you think might be interested in contributing.

For those of you who don’t know about Sweets Workshop we are a retail art gallery which exhibits and stocks art, decorative objects, giftware and independent publications with a strong focus on locally handmade items. Located in Summer Hill, our aim is to offer the community something original, sweet and within reach. We have a dedicated exhibition space, which can feature one particular artist/designer, object, artistic process or theme at a time. The exhibitions change regularly to incorporate as many artists and designers as possible. For information about us please visit our website

The selection criteria for Food Fight will be at the discretion of Sweets Workshop.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Interview: Glen & Denin Spencer talk about 'Cakes & Canvas'

An Exhibition by Glen and Denin Spencer
Opens at Sweets Workshop 30th July - 17th August

Explain the concept behind your exhibition 'Cakes & Canvas', and tell us what people can expect to see at the show?
Well, our idea was for people who see our show to see paintings that look good enough to eat, and cakes and cookies that look almost too good to eat! We basically wanted to showcase our different artistic practices; using Vermeer’s little 'Lacemaker' painting (and more loosely, lace and other textiles) as our inspirational source.

Denin and Glen, could each of you describe your medium and style?

Denin: Although I follow many traditional techniques, my intention is to bring something out of the ordinary to cake design. There is so much you can do with the fondant, and with the cakes and cookies themselves. It’s a sort of edible mixed media that I use, including hand-painting and stamping with food colouring, stencilling, cut-outs, and piping with royal icing.

Glen: I guess my style could be labelled as traditional. I just love trying to imitate how light and colour bring visual form to objects (and people) though painting. With my still lifes, I am trying to create a story, or at least a dialogue between the objects. Although I’ve dabbled with other mediums, I’m completely addicted to how oils can move and blend over a luxurious amount of time. All my paintings in this exhibition have been painted on canvas, but I have also enjoyed painting on more unusual surfaces; such as wood, cork, sandpaper and linoleum.

When and why did you both start practicing in your respective mediums?
Denin: Much of my life has been dedicated to food. I studied and worked in hotel pastry kitchens in Singapore and Sydney as a chef. Cake decorating was introduced to me by Glen’s mother, Jan Spencer. Her expertise with wedding cakes was imparted to me over the years. I hadn’t thought seriously about cake and cookie art as a career, until we spent about three years living in Japan. It was there where I started realising the potential for unique designs that could be incorporated with edible art. The possibilities became endless, which really excited me, and still excites me to this day!
Glen: I was introduced to oils, as well as other mediums, in art school, when I did my Bachelor of Fine Arts at Newcastle University. I decided on oils as my preferred medium, simply because I seemed to make better artworks with them. It wasn’t until I undertook my Masters degree at COFA in 2003, however, when I really became comfortable with oils.

What influences your art?

Denin: Other cake designers often influence my work, however I gain a lot of inspiration from other sources, such as fabric, fashion, art and paper- including wall paper.

Glen: That’s a difficult question! A lot!
In terms of artists, I am always reverential to the old Masters; in particular Johannes Vermeer (of course), Rembrandt van Rijn, Michelangelo Marisi (Caravaggio), Diego Velasquez and Francisco Goya. A couple of more contemporary artists include Gerhard Richter and Odd Nerdrum. I guess I love art that contains an element of humility and/or drama.

What do you love about decorating cakes Denin? and Glen, what do you love about recording the process of Denin’s work?
Denin: What I find exciting about cake design is how there are always endless possibilities. It can be elegant or it can be whimsical. The cake could be traditional, or it could be sculpted. It could be used in combination with cookies, modelled fondant, anything! Not to mention all the mediums and techniques. And when you create something unique that really works, it’s an indescribable feeling.
Glen: When I see Denin immersed in her cake art, I know that she is in another world. I’ll never fully understand what that world is like, but I know it is a place of beauty for her, and that she brings beautiful things back through her creations. I may never see that world, but I can at least record tangible parts of her journey that I find beautiful in their own right.