Christmas trees


Corrugated iron is one of those materials that lends itself to a multitude of uses. And like rust, so many people like it! My roof is made of corrugated iron (fortunately without any accompanying rust), and when it rains I can barely hear myself think, and I have a pet dog called Lulu made of corrugated iron (she not only has some rust, but some peeling off paint too!). On a recent visit to the south coast I came upon these corrugated iron christmas trees adorning the fence of a christmas tree farm.

Happy holidays


DF Celebrations was designed in 1994 by Canadian designer and illustrator James Wilson. The collection of woodcut-like dingbats contains a range of festive images for any occasion, including christmas day. Of course there’s nothing to illustrate an Australian christmas, which typically involves the beach, barbecues and prawns! Happy day, wherever you are and whatever you do.

Ho ho ho!


It’s the season of cheer alright. Christmas carols in parks, colourful banners in main streets, tinsel and baubles in christmas trees. And christmas sales already! In general, the obvious signs of commercial christmas don’t seem to be as blatantly overdone as some years, but what I have seen is a staggeringly high incidence of unimaginative typography. There are thousands and thousands and thousands of typefaces out there—many of them free—but it is as if the only fonts that can be used in the lead up to christmas are Algerian, Comic Sans and Papyrus.

Tree of birds


This year I went to the Auburn cherry blossom festival for the first time. I suppose it was pretty naive of me, but I thought I was only in for a display of cherry blossoms. I did indeed get that, and they were spectacular, but what I hadn’t accounted for was the hordes of people being shuttle-bussed in, the extensive cultural program, the amazing sight of cosplayers and kimono wearers, and the prepared-for-everything picnickers. Unfortunately I missed the haiku workshop, but I did get to see this impressive tree of origami birds.



This cafe, in Goulburn, is not the famous Paragon, but an unassuming place a block down the road. The Paragon used to be a regular stop on any Sydney–Melbourne drive (in the days before the bypass) because they served such a great burger. These days I am intimidated by the Paragon. It’s been renovated and glitzed up to within an inch of its life, all bright lights and so much shiny chrome on the outside that I’m too scared to set foot inside to confirm my suspicion that the lovely old laminex booths have gone the way of the once-understated shopfront.

Corrugated iron


I love this sculptural gate, which is in the grounds of a vineyard on the Bellarine Peninsula. The vineyard is a huge concern, with a cafe, restaurant, accommodation and cellar door—all very impressive. But what I enjoyed most about my visit there was a wander around the grounds, which were full of things like rusted, once-functional machinery (some of it just lying around, some of it repurposed), a whole garden of succulents planted in teapots, rescued buoys hanging from a clothesline. I was in awe of the vision that inspired the overall plan, and the apparent ease with which it all seemed to come together, despite the fact that it must have taken a huge amount of hard work.

Simply Black and White


I currently have three prints and five small artists books in ‘Simply Black and White’, a group show that features (primarily) black and white work from more than thirty emerging and professional artists. The show runs until 22nd December at ME Artspace, 25 Atchison Street St Leonards NSW. This is a spread from one of my books, ‘Building for beginners’, from the seven-volume series A Classical Education.



My brother lives in a colder climate. A while back I was telling him we were in the grip of an unusually cold winter for Sydney and that, before we even had need of the heater or knew we were in for a chilly few months, we had taken advantage of a pre-season firewood bulk deal and was surprised that we might actually go through it all. He just laughed at the one tonne we had bought—already he had gone through seven! Lucky he didn’t have to get his supply from the servo, which sells these mini-packs at inflated (or should I say inflamed) prices. These bags were most appealing however, and who could not be warmed by the illustration.