The Sweet Meadow


Where the Wild Things Are

inspiration, living the sweet lifeAishe Besim
"Blue Eye", Sarande, Albania

"Blue Eye", Sarande, Albania

We often forget that we are nature. It is when we lose our connection to nature that we lose the connection to ourselves.
— Fem Gucluturk

Our cafe is closing for a winter break and I am bloody excited! I don't create well around chaos, so a chance to slow down and be present will help me draw inspiration from the magic and beauty of our incredible planet. 

I was recently reading about the concept of re-wilding, which, broadly speaking, referred to the ecological recovery and restoration of natural systems. Over the years however, the definition of the word has now begun to include the idea of re-wilding ourselves

The article explained it as, "...getting closer to nature, de-domesticating ourselves, and discovering our wilder selves. Through this, we may perhaps find a deeper, more authentic way to reconnect with our innate sensibilities and feel more holistically entwined with nature."

Of course, the idea that spending time outdoors is beneficial to our overall health and wellbeing is not a new one. Studies have shown that spending time in nature can have a profound impact on stress, happiness and healing. Walking outdoors gets our blood pumping and increases our intake of oxygen, invigorating our bodies and encouraging a supply of hormones that make us feel balanced and creative. Bathing in natural sunlight will give you a boost of immune-balancing vitamin D. Swimming in a cool river, lake or ocean is great for promoting mental wellbeing because it triggers the release of endorphins. It also exposes us to beneficial minerals and microbes that support the thriving biome found on our skin.

The thing I am most excited about doing over our 11 days off is switching off - literally. I plan on deleting my email app from my phone, along with logging out of The Sweet Meadow's social media pages.  It goes without saying that to feel more connected with nature, we really need to put down the technology. Some moments in life should be for fully giving yourself over to the experience and not capturing at all. When not looking down at our phones, tablets, or computers, we can become more absorbed in our surrounds and feel more connected. 

We'll be back on deck from Friday, September 7. Until then, stay healthy, be happy and get outside!

To slow time down, practice enjoying the moment. It is where we spend our entire lives.
— Wu Wei
Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island, Australia

Whitehaven Beach, Hamilton Island, Australia

Bridget Bodenham's Studio

inspiration, living the sweet lifeAishe Besim
We are drawn to items that represent...slowness, that reflect the marks of the maker, and embody the individuality that comes from objects created by human hands.
— Amber Creswell Bell

I've been an admirer of Bridget Bodenham's work for a long time. I first saw her pieces at a Finders Keepers market in Melbourne. There was a huge crowd hovering around her stand and for good reason - her handmade pieces are works of art that have gained a cult following.

I recently visited Bridget's studio in Hepburn Springs to collect a some platters and cups for The Sweet Meadow. Her space is very inspiring - lots of natural light and beautiful scenery (Hepburn Springs is surrounded by the Wombat State Forest). 

There is something magic about visiting someone's space of creativity. I felt it when I first visited Kaye Poulton's studio in Mooroopna, and Jim's Garden at Cactus Country. I think we all need our own little space where we feel safe to explore our creativity. 

Photographer Kara Rosenlund describes Bridget as "the kind of person who actually makes you want to strive to be a better person yourself" and I can totally relate to this. She lives in a way that is harmonious with nature and her surroundings and reminded me to step back and live a little slower. 

Thank you Bridget!

Pottering about

inspirationAishe Besim
What we a post-industrial nostalgia for the pre-industrial. In a culture with a surfeit of branding and cheap mass-produced goods, we romanticise the handmade because we yearn for quality, not quantity.
— Justin McGuirk
Assorted ceramics by  Bridget Bodenham

Assorted ceramics by Bridget Bodenham

I started appreciating the art of ceramics about the same time I started taking photos of my food (thanks Instagram). I was searching for funky props to feature in my photos and discovered the beautiful work of Victorian ceramicist Bridget Bodenham. 

Rather than limit herself to smooth, symmetrical pieces, the beauty of Bridget's work lies in its visible imperfection and lack of pretension. Her handmade pieces don't mimic a machine and are therefore more honest and genuine. 

I love the idea of working with clay - digging up a part of the earth and using your hands to create something special that will be used for years. 

As much as I'd love to have my entire crockery collection for The Sweet Meadow created by local artists, due to budget constraints I've decided to source only a few items - cups for hot drinks, espresso cups, milk pourers and side plates - from a selection of ceramicists that rock my world. 

Here's a taste of what's to come!

Ceramic pieces by Brooke Clunie, Wignut & Co, Takeawei, Dot & Co, and Bridget Bodenham.