On Thursday, by sheer happy twist of fate, my lovely friend Jay Dee was down in Sydney on the very day of her birthday. Having had a few weeks' notice of this, I decided to design her a 'creative adventure' as a special birthday treat. Knowing that Jay Dee likes all the things I do (art + design, jewellery, furniture + homewares, ceramics, funky clothes, photography, fine food, and inspirational places), it was easy enough for me to put together a day-trip that would encompass all these wonderful things in one easy-to-navigate locale: Surry Hills.
Using an accordion-fold Moleskine notebook as the basis for laying out the 'creative adventure' (and knowing it would become a lovely memento for Jay Dee to keep afterwards) I set about creating a timeline marked out with a number of possible stops. Beginning with breakfast at Toast at 8am and concluding at a store called Disrupt at 6pm, I filled the hours in between with 15 or so 'stops' that included a variety of shops + galleries, a restaurant, a cafe and even a silversmith studio, mapped out along a walkable route through Surry Hills.
Each 'stop' was allocated a spread in the Moleskine book, rubberstamped with the time of arrival, and collaged with pictures and cutouts to illustrate the location. In addition, each stop had its own 'creative challenge' to be undertaken by Jay Dee - some required drawing or photographing, some were intended for idea-collecting, others were simply about choosing a flavour, or writing down what was selected from the menu...
Here are a few of the spreads from the Moleskine, these photos taken before Jay Dee added her own embellishments during the adventure:
^ (1) 8am start at Toast cafe, which has the most spectacularly yummy food, and lots of quaint little details if you look about the room. Oh, and the morning sunlight is superb! This was where I gave Jay Dee the Moleskine and explained the workings of the adventure. (2) After a long and lazy breakfast and lots of catch-up chatter, we set off on our adventure at about the time most stores were opening their doors. Sabbia Gallery was one of our early stops, and delighted us with lots of beautiful ceramics and glassware.
^ Beyond Japan is a fairly new store on Albion St, and the proprietor was keen to know about our adventure. He even gifted us with our choice of origami cranes (usually reserved for the kiddies...). Sweet.
^ (1) Metalab is tucked down a little sidestreet off of Crown St, and its current exhibition featured metalsmithed hearts (hence the love heart). It's a gorgeous little gallery, and also hosts jewellery workshops in their cute little work area. Chat to Cesar when you visit - he's super lovely! (2) Somedays and Coco Repose were next on the trail...
^ (1) Lunch, if you can't guess from the pictures, was at a restaurant called Bird Cow Fish. We were a little late for the lunch menu, but solaced ourselves with a cheese platter and red wine - delightful, and particularly appropriate because cheese is Jay Dee's most cherished food... (2) An afternoon snack was scheduled for 4pm at a lovely cafe called Coffee, Tea or Me? because I just had to offer Jay Dee the experience of a Pat & Stick icecream cookie. Divine.
^ (1) Orson + Blake. (2) Cloth. Jay Dee's challenge in this store was to buy as many favourite fabric offcuts as she liked (Cloth has a whole table of beautiful, beautiful offcuts from Julie Patterson's range of screenprinted fabrics).
And some photos from the adventure itself:
So much fun, I can't wait to do it again with a whole swag of new 'stops' and inspirational places. If anyone's keen to participate in the next adventure, email me and let's see what we can organise... (I can't promise you'll get a handmade Moleskine keepsake though) ;)
And if you're keen on designing your own adventure, I found the Urban Walkabout maps, Timeout magazine, the Slow Guide to Sydney, and the Sydney Design Guide all utterly indispensible in helping me plan the day. Well worth checking out each and every one of these wonderful things!