Category Archives: fabric

I see your hanky…


… and I raise it with, er, another hanky. Technically, I realise ‘raising’ implies going one better, which one could argue I have failed to do. Perhaps I’m just adding to the general hanky theme. The one photographed beautifully above (thanks, P) is another Sally Scott one (thanks, Manabu) that I’ve already crumpled by wearing as a neckerchief. I love the pink and red together. Now if only Third Drawer Down did hankies as well… wait, they do.

:: Arwen ::


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My Favourite Textile Designer Ever In The Entire Universe

When I was living in Japan last year I picked up a little book simply titled “minä perhonen 3 print”, a blue book, a black mark across the cover, some typically minimal Japanese typography. I had no idea what I was getting myself in to. 


I opened it up and within seconds had that “I absolutely have to buy this book right this second! Right now!” feeling. Those of you who know me will know how rare this is. Now, I’ve always found Japanese textile design inspiring, but this was something else – clever, whimsical, soft, gentle, and absolutely beautiful. Kind somehow. Colour combinations I could never dream of, patterns that made me smile, just enough complexity to remain minimal and yet somehow always surprising.


{ "pen" by Akira Minagawa }


{ "cup" / "basket" by Akira Minagawa }

The designer is Akira Minagawa, minä perhonen the brand.


{ "seafowl" (detail) by Akira Minagawa }


{ "forest gate" (detail) by Akira Minagawa }

If I had to choose a favourite page it would be the following one – I can’t tell you why, it just makes me extremely happy for some reason.


{ "fuwa fuwa" / "sunny rain" by Akira Minagawa }

I’ve since discovered that the Minagawa’s work is in fact very well regarded worldwide, with an extensive back catalogue of textiles, prints, clothing and even furniture (!) available for your perusal online.


{ "particle" / "circle" by Akira Minagawa }

Apparently, minä perhonen clothing is now available at Belinda – – which has a store in the GPO in Melbourne, I haven’t checked it out but I’m sure it’s out of my price range (and certainly not designed to fit me, being male and all), so for now I’ll make do with my lovely blue book.

:: Reuben ::

all images ©  minä perhonen / Akira Minagawa


Filed under Creators, fabric, Fashion

This little piggy

My sister-in-law is pregnant – ecstatically so, and exhaustedly so – which meant that her birthday last weekend was celebrated minimally, without processed meats, and with gifts going To Baby. It should have been easy to shop for a bird-sized unborn, but for the fact that its expectant parents have already bought or received boxes of toys and games, and clothes, and a car seat, and an ark. And I have a quiet loathing for designer baby belongings… I left the house with only one idea – to head to the Lost & Found Market on Smith Street.

As the Market has recently moved, I was sidetracked briefly by Dave’s Boutique, which is about to relocate as well (or Dave is, at least). I have scored here before, particularly since it split into two premises, but all the wares are now back together again and a serious rummage requires a willingness to shift two dusty stacks of vinyl in order to properly see the fold-up-chair, which is great but it’s eighty dollars and it’s sticky and there’s a plank loose on the seat.

I was quickly back on track, and crossing the road to a part of Smith that I rarely venture – between Victoria and Gertrude Streets. The new(ish) Lost & Found markets have street frontage (the former site opened out from a long, dark bottleneck), which makes the vast array of vintage goods look even more cheerful and rainbow-coloured. I really didn’t know what I was hoping to find but it wasn’t long before I was making mental calculations and calling upon staff to open up various cabinets. Within fifteen minutes I had chosen – several old picture catalogues for scrapbooking and card-making, a funny set of building blocks, plus adorable salt-and-pepper shakers (For Mummy) – and was happily charging over the road to the 7-11 for more cash, congratulating myself on being the best relative in the world.



The inside word is that, yes, the Market’s staff do prefer being able to see the weather from the service desk of their new home… but it won’t be long before they are taking shifts back at the mineshaft, as the original premises will be reopening for business as well.

:: Lee ::

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Filed under Books, fabric, Fashion, Home sweet home decor, Not so new

The humble instrument of washing up


Shop alert: Fine Art Linen Co on Burke Road, Camberwell. If you live anywhere nearby, you’ve probably walked past it a million times and never noticed it, but this is the ultimate teatowel experience. Strap yourself in folks, for a teatowel extravaganza – not to mention manchester and fabrics. I’ve wanted to visit Fine Art Linen for some time now, but I’ve been stupidly chicken about going in. Every time I walk past, it seems dark and customer-free inside, and I fear a League of Gentleman-style ‘Are you local?’ series of questions upon entry. No doubt there are just a couple of nice, teatowel-loving members of the grey brigade instead. Whether it’s birds, horses, horseshoes, cats, famous landmarks, fruits or native flora that rocks your boat, Fine Art Linen appear to have it (going by their window display). Yes, I will make it inside one day soon.

Fine Art Linen Co
847 Burke Road
Camberwell VIC 3124

:: Arwen in Vietnam ::


Filed under fabric, Home sweet home decor

Minä Perhonen

Did I mention I’m in love with Minä Perhonen? She’s not a person, she’s a Japanese fashion label, and although I probably couldn’t pull off the clothes, given that I’m not petite or Japanese, I love the fabrics that the label designs and prints. ‘Minä Perhonen’ is in fact an invented name, created by mixing the Finnish words for ‘I’ and ‘butterfly’ – ironically, this Japanese ‘fake’ Scandinavian label has since collaborated with lots of ‘real’ Scandinavian designers (Fritz Hansen, Kvadrat), with comfy-looking results.

Below are some of the fabrics that Mina Perhonen have created over the last three or four years. They pretty much fulfil the criteria for my perfect skirt material. For weeks now I’ve been searching for a patterned skirt that’s well cut, made from thick(ish) fabric and most importantly, has a unique pattern. No dice… everything I see is black, or made from fabric resembling rice paper, or so poorly made I immediately begin to visualise some sad and horrible clothing factory in China… Of course, I could stop whinging and make a skirt myself, but my previous efforts with a sewing machine have resulted in a lot of vicious Singer-beating, enraged bobbin-spooling and strange sack-like objects that did not really qualify as clothes. (But they made excellent dog blankets.)

Sadly, Minä isn’t available in Australia, as far as I know. Those passing through Tokyo should drop into:

Minä Perhonen
3F, 5-18-17 Shirokanedai
Minato-ku Tokyo
108-0071 Japan
Tel: +81 (0)3 5420 3766

:: Arwen ::


Filed under Creators, fabric, Fashion

Is Swedish is good

Funkis – bad name, great shop. Although the word funkis is vaguely reminiscent of tinea crossed with a rare type of Icelandic mushroom, it is in fact the name of a Swedish design store that I stumbled upon whilst wandering around the Strand Arcade in Sydney recently. It’s full of delights like fabrics, ceramics, stationery and various other objects of desire. As with all shops selling imported Scandinavian goods, there are some hefty price tags to be paid and questions to be asked, like ‘Does anyone actually need a stainless steel letter opener?’ and ‘Can I get a similar, cheaper version of this at Bed Bath N’ Table?’ Nonetheless, I gazed with pleasure upon the ergonomic, green, pesticide-free, carbon-neutral etc. products in store.

And here is the Strand Arcade in all its glory, with some of the particularly fetching features dating from 1892. This is exactly one hundred years before 1992 (no, really?) – the year in which the Eurovision Song Contest was held in Sweden. Coincidence? Er, I’d say so.

The Strand Arcade
412–414 George Street

:: Arwen ::


Filed under fabric, Home sweet home decor

Strictly for the birds

I’m having a bird moment. After all, we are Oh What Larks, which forms the all-too-cute acronym OWL. I welcome additions to my bird gallery (which is but in its infancy) so please send ‘em in to the email address on your right.

Rosebud op-shop delight spotted a couple of weeks ago.

Delicious bird print from MWilson’s Etsy shop.

Little pink bird on fabric from the Echino range, at Patchwork on Central Park in Melbourne.

Business card from Zakkaya, a ridiculously cute shop stocking all things J (Japanese) in Fitzroy.

Bug-eyed boidie badge by Lost in the Woods, a local jeweller (and many thanks to Ambiguous Horse for the photo).

And my absolute, absolute favourite: ‘bird in blossom’ design by Emily Burningham. I adore and covet all and everything by Emily, whose work I first encountered whilst perusing the pages of Pattern. I’ll have to contrive some reason to post some more of her designs here soon.

:: Arwen ::

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Filed under Creators, Etsy love, fabric