Archive for April, 2011

Show and Tell

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

Show us the item and tell us the story

Hallie Bancroft – nine-year-old sewing aficionado

What first got you interested in sewing?

I used to watch my grandma (Jan Hyman) when she was sewing and I’d play with her spare bits of fabric, arranging them on some wadding. Grandma thought it looked good so she threaded the needle for me and showed me what to do.

What was the first thing you made?

It was a quilt, not a full-sized one, but it was just right for my twin dolls. I also made them a nightie each. Grandma bought me a craft book and I like to have a different project every holidays.

What else have you made?

I made some cupcakes out of felt. Grandma helped me a little bit, but I did most of the sewing and decorated each one with a different top. When they were all made we put them on a plate with a doily and they looked real enough to eat.

What does your mum think of all this?

She’s never really been a sewer, but now she’s signed up for a beginner’s class at Blueberries. We’re going to the Craft Fair at Darling Harbour later this year and I’m really excited about that.

hallie

Big ‘n’ Bizarre

Tuesday, April 5th, 2011

A road trip of Australia’s fibreglass monuments

The Big Matchsticks

Whether or not this huge pair of matches actually qualifies for Big Things status is a debate that raises heated passions on both sides.

Purists argue that because it’s a creation of artist Brett Whiteley and formally donated to the people of NSW, the Big Matchsticks should actually be classified as a piece of artwork and not a real Big Thing. In other words, it isn’t anywhere cheesy enough.

They also point out that the Matchsticks’ location next door to the Art Gallery of NSW smack dab in the middle of Sydney, also disqualifies them, since everyone knows that true Big Things are only to be found in regional areas, especially small country towns (in fact, the smaller the town, the bigger and cheesier the Big Thing).

The other side of the argument is that they qualify for Big Thing status simply because they’re really big matchsticks.

Whatever your opinion on this controversial subject, the Big Matchsticks are pretty impressive, if a little esoteric. Designed by Brett Whiteley and constructed by Matthew Dillon, they were officially unveiled in 1991 after a gestation period of 23 years. They stand eight metres tall (although the burnt match is slightly shorter than the non-burnt one) and are constructed of Blackbutt timber and fibreglass with a concrete base. They also have an official title – “Almost Once”.

Up close, there’s something oddly mesmerizing about the Big Matchsticks, possibly because they look as though they’re not supposed to be there. They have a pretty good view of the Eastern Distributor and the Eastern Suburbs rail line, but you can’t help wondering if they secretly yearn for a more normal life, perched on the edge of the highway just outside a small country town somewhere.

brett-whiteley-almost-once1

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