Sunday, August 31, 2014

New Zealand Showcase: Marlborough Wine and Food Festival

Where do Kiwis go to sample some of the most famous New Zealand wines and local artisan foods? Why, the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival, of course! This annual festival regularly attracts over 8,000 wine lover internationals and locals to the famous Brancott Estate. Having just celebrated its 30th anniversary, the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival is New Zealand’s original and longest running wine festival.

via Flickr by Aidan
Brancott Estate is now famous for their groundbreaking efforts in planting Sauvignon Blanc grapes in Marlborough; at the time, the region was considered to be too cold for grapes and was viewed as an unwise risk taken by (what was then known as) Montana Wines founder, Frank Yukich. The wine variety quickly took off, and the region is now world-renowned for their deliciously crisp Sauvignon Blancs.

The Marlborough Wine and Food Festival offers a variety of activities and events to take in – wine tutorials from the region’s leading winemakers, the Supreme Food and Wine Matching Competition, tastings and sales of Marlborough’s award-winning wines, the Fashion in the Vines competition and a bevy of New Zealand’s top musical performers. In addition, the Culinary Pavilion hosts a variety of cooking demonstrations led by some of New Zealand’s hottest celebrity chefs. The 2014 Festival featured Josh Emett, Sachie Nomura and Nick Honeyman!

Have you attended the Marlborough Wine and Food Festival? Let us know in the comments below!

Saturday, August 30, 2014

New Zealand Showcase: Encraftment Market

via Encraftment Market
To market, to market...where should we go today? Well I don’t know about today, but I do know about November 29th! Our lovely artist, Bryony, of Crazybird Designs tipped us off that the Christmas Encraftment Market, held in Christchurch is a not-to-miss event.  (I can’t believe that we’re already talking about Christmas...120 days and counting!)

Encraftment Market was founded just after the Christchurch earthquakes, in May 2011. What began as an “outlet for many artisans who had lost their regular points of sale,” is now a very popular semi-annual market that thousands of people attend to shop quality handmade items, sample scrumptious goodies and sip on delicious beverages.

via Encraftment Market
The vast selection of stallholders guarantees attendees an exceptional selection of crafts and design. Furthermore, the market’s standards of excellence ensure truly outstanding craftsmanship and uniqueness. Indeed, Encraftment Market is the place to “shop for fresh, local handmade craft and design.”

via Encraftment Market

If past markets are any indication, their upcoming Christmas market looks to be absolutely stellar. Now we just need to purchase our plane ticket to New Zealand...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

NZ Showcase: MarchFest - Nelson's Craft Beer and Music Festival

If beer is your bevvy of choice, then you should probably add MarchFest to your list of things to do! Heading into its 8th season, MarchFest is held in Founder’s Park, Nelson. With an ample selection of local brews, wines and ciders, as well as top-notch musical acts and a dedicated children’s area, MarchFest has something for everyone in the family!

Photo courtesy of MarchFest Ltd. by David Letsche Photography
Nelson is truly the perfect place to host a beer festival, since this city has more craft breweries per capita than anywhere else in New Zealand! The city is home to 16.6% of the country’s breweries while only serving 2.25% of New Zealand’s population.

During the 2014 MarchFest, breweries such as Golden Bear Brewing Company, Hop Federation Brewery, Lighthouse Brewing CompanyMcCashin’s Brewery, Moa Beer, Mussel Inn and many more turned out with specialty craft beers brewed specifically for the festival. Blackenbrook Wines and Peckham’s Cider also turned out with a sampling of their finest drinks.

One of the new additions to the festival is a Gourmet Beer and Food Matching Lunch with pairings by chef Lincoln Womersley of a selection of festival beers and dishes prepared by local caterers, Blinc Catering. To give you a small sampling of the scrumptious servings, the 2014 menu saw dishes like Mushroom, Thyme and Parmesan Arancini balls with Parsley Pesto and Sticky Date and Ginger Pudding with Caramel Ice Cream.

Photo courtesy of MarchFest Ltd. by David Letsche Photography

Beer columnist Geoff Griggs has said that MarchFest “is more than a beer festival, it is a relaxing day out. I like that all the beers are brewed specially for the festival.” It sounds like a great day to us too!

Monday, August 25, 2014

New Zealand Artist Showcase: Crazybird Designs

Today we are featuring another of our wonderful Robin Street Market artists! Crazybird Designs, owned and created by Bryony Bedggood, feature absolutely stunning, environmentally conscious creations. 

Based in Christchurch, NZ, many of her materials are sourced from the aftermath of devastating earthquakes in the area. We were able to catch up with Bryony and ask her a few questions about her work and creative process.

Why art?
Photo courtesy of Crazybird Designs

I’ve always been creatively motivated. Life is just easier when I have something to tinker away at!

What work do you most enjoy creating? Why?

This changes according to my mood...sometimes it’s hand-burning tiny designs into my jewellery or perhaps it’s working on a larger project that requires deconstructing a piece of furniture. I love working with my hands though, there’s something deeply satisfying about sitting back and seeing something you’ve created.

What inspires you?

So many things; nature, colour, textiles, old world nature art of botanicals and insects.

The last few years I’ve been working with timber salvaged from houses lost since the earthquakes which hit Christchurch, NZ. To save some of the beautiful wood that has been part of someone’s home is pretty special. There is a very real sense of responsibility to do something really special with it.

Describe your creative process. How do you go about creating your works?

Sometimes an idea will spring to mind- usually in the middle of the night! Then I’ll go about sourcing what I need, I love repurposing materials whether it be timber, furniture, fabric or wallpaper. Other times it may be a colour or textile that inspires me.

I’ll usually do some sketches first and see how the initial idea evolves, this part of the process is always interesting as I can often come out with an entirely different creation to what I had originally envisioned.

Photo courtesy of Crazybird Designs
How do your sourced materials (and their history) influence your work?

Many of my creations use recycled timber, all of which is sourced from houses lost in the recent earthquakes. Unfortunately thousands of homes have had to be demolished, including my own, and that means we’ve lost many beautiful old houses. Some of the timber I end up working with is well over 100 years old.

I have developed a good relationship with some demolition firms who let me trawl through their yards. Otherwise individual home owners will contact me to talk about how I could re-purpose some of their timber. I also use photographs of tiles, wallpaper and textiles to work in to my designs.

Where is your favourite (or most inspirational) place?
  1. Home! We’ve recently moved out to the country and have a lovely old house in a lovely old garden. So anywhere where I can see the trees and hear the outdoors.
  2. The seaside for the smell and beach-combing.
  3. Markets for the thrill of the hunt!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

To just give what you want to do a go, don’t wait until you have a “reason” to do it. Just do it because it makes you happy.

Photo courtesy of Crazybird Designs
What is your dream project?

I have more than one (of course!).

Re-purposing furniture incorporating elements of my wood-burning and botanical art and the other is reworking my paper-art designs as outdoor art installations using different metals and timber.
I’d love to have these in places around our city to help create happy, positive spaces after all the devastation.

What do you do when you're not creating art?

Music is another of my other passions. I play the flute and piccolo with a local orchestra and also play the piano. I also home school my two children in and out of taming our garden and pooch Rosa. I dream of growing all our own fruit and veggies...when I get rid of the weeds!

You're a new addition to the crayon box, what colour would you be and why?

I’d be one of those multi-coloured rainbow ones because I always have way too many ideas jumping around my head...why settle on just one?!

Photo courtesy of Crazybird Designs
Bryony we couldn't agree more! Pop over to the Nest and check out the full range here. 

Thursday, August 21, 2014

New Zealand Showcase: The Auckland Museum

If you’re in and around the Auckland area in New Zealand, why not check out the Auckland Museum. Located on the North Island, this museum is one of New Zealand’s most important museums and war memorials and features collections, which concentrate on New Zealand’s natural and military history.

via Flickr by Robert Linsdell
This museum is considered by many to be one of the most iconic Auckland buildings – with its Neo-Classical styling, it most definitely stands out. Originally built in 1929, it is also considered one of New Zealand’s finest heritage buildings. It proudly stands on the hill known by the Māori as Pukekawa.

While the Auckland Museum offers a variety of intriguing permanent and temporary exhibits, perhaps one of the most interesting is that of the Māori. The museum offers regular Māori cultural performances that are recognized as one of the leading cultural experiences in New Zealand. The cultures and artistic legacy of the Pacific people are found here in strong numbers – visitors are able to view great numbers monumental carvings, buildings, canoes and treasures.

Other interesting permanent exhibits at the Auckland Museum include the Weird and Wonderful free children’s gallery, the Pacific Masterpieces and New Zealand’s War Stories. Sounds like a fantastic place to spend an afternoon!

Have you been to the Auckland Museum? Tell us about it in the comments below!