Week 8: Creative Challenge 52

South African born writer, florist and cake whizz, Keryn Clark, has had a challenging week with a health crisis and a trip to hospital in the mix. But that hasn't stopped her creating something truly beautiful.


She had an old bathroom cabinet sitting outside her house and her plan initially was to renovate it to sell at a garage sale. She and her business partner, Remy, had various paints sitting about, so they decided to use what they had. They primed the cabinet with leftover ceiling paint and were fortunate enough to find a can of Porter's French Wash that they'd bought for a different project but ended up not using. They decided the cabinet needed new tiles and handles, so Keryn went to Shedwallah in Fremantle, a business that specialises in Indian imports.


Then, in the spirit of self-care after a shocking week, Keryn loaded herself up on flowers for a well-deserved soul hit.


Keryn and Remy are so pleased with the results of their cabinet reno project, that they're planning to keep the cabinet as a prop in their new florist shop. I'm not surprised. It's absolutely gorgeous and I'd never want to part with it. Love the tiles and knobs, Keryn.


Kanen Breen


Opera singer and Strange Bedfellow, Kanen Breen, is not admitting how much he paid for this 1930s dressing gown that he bought at a vintage clothing market in the Redfern Town Hall a few weeks ago. It's a ladies garment that nonetheless fits him like a glove, except that the waistline sits a tad high.

To lower the look, he's added some glorious vintage trim that the vendor threw in for free (I reckon that's a serious clue to how much he paid), stitching it around the waist and also on one of the cuffs. He has some red sequin trim about an inch thick to sew on the inside hem and then it's ready for a photo shoot that he and Jacqui Dark are booked to do next week with photographer Jeff Busby.

Kanen's going to look quite the business in this. I mean, with a dressing gown like this, where's the incentive to ever leave your bedroom?


Trish Urquhart


Trish Urquhart, who runs Allaboutwriting, works as a documentary producer for Left-Eye Productions, and tries her best to live up to the title chef extraordinaire has managed to fit some cooking into a frantically busy week. Trish and Richard have been hosting an Allaboutwriting workshop this weekend and, although their participants went to a local cafe to do a writing exercise while they ate their lunch, Trish made them Yottam Ottolenghi's Halva Walnut Cake for afternoon tea. She served it with cream and strawberries and her daughter came rushing home when she heard it was on the menu. Well, you would, wouldn't you?


Trish has also created an inventive tarragon pesto. She made it to go with the bocconcini and baby tomato salad that she's making for the workshop lunch today and it looks seriously delicious. Do keep an eye on Trish's blog because she's going to post the recipe shortly.


In other creative news, the sexual and gender based violence documentary that Trish and her partner Andy have been working on for their business, Left-Eye Productions, is ready to ship to their client. Trish says that documentary making is creative, challenging and fun. They start with a brief, go out with a camera, work through the edit process, and end up with a film. Sounds a bit like magic, doesn't it.

Telena Routh


Classical oboist and textile designer, Telena Routh, has been playing around with some different techniques this week. She's done some felting with silk chiffon - covering it with a fine layer of fleece then cutting, folding and layering smaller pieces of chiffon that she randomly placed on the fabric. She wet it with soapy, tepid water and gently rubbed until the flowers were embedded in the fleece. She's delighted that the folded chiffon looks like rose blooms in the finished garment.

She's still without transport so she's had extra time for knitting this week. This has resulted in the production of many more squares, and also in a Mobius wrap. The Mobius wrap was knitted in one piece with no joins. The stitches are all cast on and the wrap is knitted from the centre outwards. Telena gives credit to knitter, Jude Skeers, for teaching her this interesting technique.

Blue wrap.JPG

Telena has also done some more lace felting this week, creating a shorter piece that can be worn over just about anything. And she's pleased to report that her oboe students have all successfully completed their exams with even her Houdini student (with only a few weeks practice in the lead up) gaining a B grade. Telena's now working towards Christmas concerts, arranging duets, trios and quartets for her students to play. Using their combined resources, they'll have oboes, cor anglais, and also an oboe d'amour. She's resisting the urge to join in with her saxophone. It's just too loud. She's pleased to report, however, that her cat now stays in the room when she practices - a sure sign of progress.


Georgia Bennett

Georgia Bennett has had a very busy week. It must be the time of year because we all seem to have been in the same boat this past week.

Georgia was out a few nights during the week compering a dance performance. She had a performance of her own on Friday when she performed a couple of covers and one of her own songs at Wodenstock, an annual Canberra gig for musicians aged under 25. And she's in the middle of her assessment period with exam preparation to fit in and essays to write.

Nevertheless, she found time today to record a song she wrote recently - The Lonely Road. What an achiever.

Stephen Bennett


Stephen Bennett has been coaching a photography student for the past few weeks, and this week they tried a bit of urban photography in Woden. Steve was attracted to a wall next to the bus station because he likes the abstract nature of the vines growing over the wall. He also found half an hour to explore another part of the National Arboretum and found his way to the Cork Oak Forest - a magical place to be sure, with 50 year old Cork Oaks performing a lovely dance to their own silent tune.


He managed to fit in some woodworking this week, making me an easel for my pastel paintings. The easel is a very solid 36mm thick made from 600 x 600mm of radiata pine. He says it will provide a very sturdy work base and I don't doubt him. Nothing Steve makes is ever flimsy. It takes four men to move our kitchen table.

Scarlet Bennett

I can't boast any bold innovations this week because I've been working very hard (always something to be grateful for). I've made a couple of pieces of jewellery and I've also done some experimentation in the my vegan kitchen.

I started the week with a gift for our incredible vet - Ella Ormes Lichaz - who struggled valiantly at the end of June to save precious Mister Mo. She didn't succeed, but if it had been possible to do it, there's no question Ella would have won that battle. Some battles just aren't winnable, but that doesn't make me any less grateful for the outstanding care Ella gave our beloved Mo.

Ella loves turquoise and I managed to find a really beautiful stone that I put aside a couple of months ago especially for her. I set the stone on sterling silver bonded to copper to make this classic cuff. I can't see her wearing it in the horse paddock, but it will be good for a special night out.


I made a lapis lazuli ring for Hannah using some sterling silver gallery wire for the bezel, because Hannah has had her eye on the wire for ages. I had to create a mosaic using lapis chips because the gallery wire isn't strong enough to hold a large stone. I'm not entirely sure that I like the result, but it looks good on Hannah.

It's been an exciting week in our garden because, although there's not much that's ripe this early in the season, we've had a few crops ready to harvest. We picked a large tub of mulberries yesterday and I was determined to find a creative way to use them. In the end, I used the Lemon Coconut Slice recipe that Georgia made last week as a base and made Lemon, Coconut and Mulberry Slice instead. It's absolutely delicious - definitely worth making again.