Saturday, August 30, 2008

swings and roundabouts

The last day or so has been an odd mix of highs and lows.

It began positively enough - having managed to get back into the habit of walking to work this week. Everyday I was in the city I strolled the 35 minutes or so to the office. Yesterday was spectacular, a blue cloudless sky and a great playlist on the ipod/phone.

I don’t talk about work here. Lets just say there were a few challenges. Some great stuff and some not so. But a small string of events left me rattled, wiping out the morning joy. I had to sit in the nearest bookshop for a full half hour at lunchtime immersed in cookery books but even that didn’t shake the uncomfortable feeling. Nor did the offer of a 20% off sale.

Things picked up again once work was over. After missing out on previous years, I finally made it to the open studios event in the Nicholas Building. It was like walking through your favourite design/art/crafting blog or magazine. A sensory overload in the best possible way – leather, ink, sawdust, blossoms, music, colour, the clanking of an almost century old letter press and so much more.

The Nicholas Building, for those who are unfamiliar with this Melbourne icon, is one of a few remaining art deco buildings in Swanston Street that house artisans in a warren of studios. The lifts are not for the phobic but the cheerful operator fuelled by a drink or two turned the journey to the ninth floor into the smallest, most exclusive club in town.

I’ve been to various exhibition openings in the building in recent years but my first trip was two decades ago, with a friend in search of millinery supplies. Such vestiges of the rag trade still remain (hat supplies, buttons galore and even an outlet selling kimono material) but the open studios evenings mainly focus on the small artisans (jewellers, bag makers and artists) in communal and solo spaces that call the Nicholas Building home. My favourites were the artist who specialises in dry etching, the wonderful letterpress printer (a living museum) and some of the enchanting quirkily decorated artisan nooks and crannies. There is a shoe maker who will definitely get another visit from this household of mismatching feet sizes and triple A fittings.

The night was still young and comparatively balmy – perfect for a drink at Section 8 (the container bar off China Town). We found a good spot to sit and watch the world from the confines of the cage and had great random conversations with fellow patrons.

The disasters of the day forgotten, as a treat for the Not Boyfriend who forever craves meat these days, I took him to Stalactites for a mixed grill. All well, except on the way out I managed to drop a chair on my foot, the sharp angle catching the edge of a bone. Ouch.

Today I find myself returning to a horizontal position with a rather bruised and battered tootsy. Spring cleaning and walks thwarted. Nor a farewell visit to Is Not magazine's unfortunate fire sale.

Obviously I am not quite ready to move forward just yet.

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Blogger docwitch said...

Hope your foot is feeling better, and you can get back into your walking to work. Also hope the work situation has eased also.

I've been meaning to check out the Nicholas building and see what's going on there. I always seem to be in such a rush I pass by these places without exploring. Tried popping into Craft Victoria on my way to work this morning and then realised that it's closed Mondays. Big duh.

1:41 pm  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

Am quite ambulatory today thanks.

Craft Vic really does have some cushy hours!

3:56 pm  
Blogger Ann O'Dyne said...

greetings dear HPPOR,
I am just back from 3 weeks without the WWW and feeling quite giddy getting back into blogs.
Sorry to hear about the foot mishap and I do hope you treated it with good antiseptic.
Nicholas Building is indeed attractive - built on the proceeds of ASPRO.
peae and love from me

10:53 pm  

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