the crafty squirrel in ballarat
Regional Victoria is home to a hive of creative makers providing a more authentic retail experience where consumers can meet the maker or learn the narrative behind their product. From collectable pieces at high end retail galleries to more affordable items at markets, there is a work of craft to suit everyone visiting regional Victoria, and an array of places to find them:
From the entry, Blue Mini looks to be a café, but as visitors move further into the building it soon becomes clear that this café in the redeveloped old Rosebud Bowling Alley is anything but regular. On offer is hand-crafted furniture and homewares, which can be browsed from the café tables. Visitors can also talk with local market exhibitors, when they’re in residence. 1455 Point Nepean Road, Rosebud, Ph: +61 3 5982 1455.
Morgan Wills is the face behind much-loved art, craft and gift shop The Crafty Squirrel. Stocking gift items from all over the world and a special mix of vintage treasures and hand-crafted items, her store offers a unique shopping experience with a nostalgic mood harking back to a time when shop keepers knew their customers by name. Cnr Errard and Urquhart Streets, Ballarat Central, Ph: +61 3 5331 4548.
With more than 20 years experience, Woodworker Tim Butler makes custom furniture on site at his studio, Grampians Furniture, in Halls Gap, using traditional methods to bring out the best in the wood. 215 Grampians Road, Halls Gap, Ph: +61 3 5356 4321.
Resident artist Meg Finnegan is just one of many local Port Fairy artists whose creations are on show at the Limestone Gallery in Port Fairy. Visitors can browse the beautiful ceramic, copper, lead and glass pieces and spend some time getting to know the creators. 506 Princes Highway, Port Fairy, Ph: +61 3 5568 3241.
At Port Fairy jeweller Luone, visitors can browse and purchase one-off silver pieces, and can also watch the artist at work. Shop 2, 10 Bank Street, Port Fairy, Ph: +61 428 321 272.
The quirky Nice Shop showcases the works of Blackthorn Textile Designs and Lizzy Mac. It is a treasure trove of beautiful textiles that encompass the sustainable philosophy of reducing, reusing and recycling antique and often very scarce textiles into modern creations. 25 High Street, Yea Ph: +61 413 489 196.
Noorat Hat Shop
Noorat is a quaint country town in the heart of the Volcanic Lakes and Plains, located just off the Princes Highway near Terang. Home to the Noorat Hotel treading the gastropub path, a cosy café in a tin shed, and a hat shop, with Milliner Georgina Conheady creating bespoke creations for her loyal clientele. 16 Terang-Mortlake Road, Noorat. Ph: +61 411 600 157.
Red Hill Community Market
In 1975 the first market took place with 28 enthusiastic stallholders at the Red Hill Mechanics Hall. This market has now become the iconic Red Hill Community Market (1st Saturday of the month from September to May) with more than 300 stallholders selling specialised craft items of all varieties. Arthurs Seat Rd & Mornington Flinders Road, Red Hill, Ph: +61 3 5976 3266.
Topstitch Upholstery & Antiques
Ian McCormick is an artisan master upholsterer specialising in traditional upholstery techniques. At Topstitch, he restores pieces to original condition with an emphasis on detail and authenticity and makes new custom-made lounges utilising the same traditional materials and methods. 36 Oliver Street, Yea, Ph: +61 3 5797 2992.
The Emporium showcases a range of locally made craft and furniture including beautifully handcrafted timber furniture from Gabra Timber Creations; soft furnishings from Blackthorn Textile Designs; and an eclectic range of antiques and second-hand furniture. 94 High Street, Yea, Ph: +61 3 5797 3222.