I believe strongly in supporting local and small businesses and artists and below are some of my favourites, along with a few international ones that I just had to add. I hope you enjoy them too.
Be sure to check back often as I regularly update this section.
For those of you visiting our studio from ‘out of town’, I have compiled a list of local attractions and resources that may help make your visit to our beautiful part of the world memorable. We are located in the beautiful Yarra Valley in Victoria which is less than an hour from Melbourne and is recognised as one of the world’s premier wine growing regions with many wineries, restaurants, accommodation, iconic scenery and beautiful artwork.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you require any further information.
Leanne Fergeus – Leanne has had a passion for creating art since she was old enough to hold a pencil. Spanning several decades, she has found ways to express herself through several mediums, dabbling in watercolours, botanical illustration, pottery, mosaics patchwork and many other art forms. Leanne is inspired by the beauty of nature, colour and texture and is known for the vibrancy of colour found in her artwork. Her love of jewellery making led her to rediscover her passions for polymer clay.
Leanne’s work with alcohol inks is quite stunning. You can view her work on her website and via Facebook and Instagram and take one of her workshops here at the Studio.
Christi Friesen – Christi is a US Polymer Clay/Mixed Media artist. Christi is an award-winning artist and her work has been showcased in numerous books, magazines and exhibits. She is the author of over a dozen ‘how-to’ books on creating with polymer clay. Christi teaches throughout the world, using humour and positive energy to encourage students to stretch their creativity, technical skills and artistic confidence. Christi offers numerous online workshops and tutorials including her subscription Christi’s Creative Neighbourhood.
Mel Mahoney (Moss & Whimsy) – Mel creates earthly, whimsical unique creations from many different mediums, including sculpture with clay or creating something from unusual objects found on her travels. Mel is inspired by her lush surroundings, by mother nature and is driven by her need to create. Mel lives and creates in the beautiful Yarra Valley under the business name Moss & Whimsy. You can find her on Facebook and Instagram.
Clare Davidson (Skadi Jewellery) – Using silver, brass and leather Clare loves to create works of art which appear as delicate as lace with the strength of metal. Clare hand pierces intricate designs and takes great joy in passing on her thousands of hours of experience to help inspire other people. I have several of Clare’s pieces in my own personal collection.
Debbie Crothers – Deb is a polymer artist (and a great friend) from Western Australia who has a passion for teaching.
She loves imparting her knowledge onto enthusiastic students and teaches regular workshops in Geraldton WA and in Outback Australia. She also has several online tutorials/videos. Debbie is internationally known for her polymer work and we just love having her here at The Whimsical Bead.
Denise Smith – Denise is a local Yarra Valley artist. A realist painter, mainly using the mediums of pastel, oil and acrylic, lately experimenting with inks, watercolour and mixed media. Denise strives for individualism and capturing each animal or bird’s quirky personality. Denise invites commissions in Pet Portraiture which is another passion. Recently Denise’s images have been transposed onto jewellery and these pieces are available as pendants or brooches.
Alana Jones | Sparkling Dragon Designs – Alana is our wirework tutor here at the studio and her wired creations as well as her resin jewellery is beautiful and makes a perfect gift. Alana has many different stockists and a selection of her work can be purchased here at the studio during her workshops.
Redgum Gallery – Redgum Gallery in Olinda, Victoria is a beautiful gallery space featuring the works of many local artists. From furniture to homewares, jewellery and artwork, this space is well worth the visit. There are also lots of other wonderful stores in Olinda to visit whilst you are there. You will find a selection of Dani’s work here.
MiRA – Marysville Information + Regional Arts Centre – Houses a selection of art from many local artists. Lot 5 Murchison Street, Marysville 3779
The Waterwheel – Warburton’s information centre has a beautiful little gallery within it. Not only do they have handmade pieces for sale, they also run exhibitions from time to time. Well worth a visit if you’re in the area.
incube8r gallery – Each in.cube8r® is home to more than 90 of australia’s top crafters. Each gallery is divided up into glass cubicles, shelves, racks and partitions which artists can lease for a small cost. in.cube8r is the first and original model of this concept. There are so many wonderful items available at incube8r and the best thing is that by purchasing items from here, you can be certain that you’re supporting an Australian artist.
Tarrawarra Museum of Art – The TarraWarra Museum of Art is the first privately funded, significant public visual arts museum to be set up under the Australian Government’s philanthropic measures announced in March 1999. TWMA operates as a not-for-profit institution, with a charter to display Australian art from the second half of the twentieth century to the present day. TWMA is located in a beautiful setting, is child friendly and has disabled access.
The Whimsical Bead on Pinterest – Come and join me down the ‘rabbit hole’ that is Pinterest!
The Polymer Arts – This amazing publication is the creation of the very talented Sage Bray. It is my favourite polymer clay publication and I cannot speak highly enough of it’s content. The Polymer Arts is an informational magazine not a how-to/tutorial magazine. Although how-to craft magazines are more common, so are the wonderful weekend/hobby crafters, which is not, however, the magazine’s market. The format and content were created from querying polymer artists about what they would like in a magazine. This is a magazine for professional and aspiring polymer artists who want to know not how to make what others make but how to improve their own art and succeed as a respected and in-demand artist. The Polymer Arts also has an active Facebook page and an informative Blog which are both worth a visit.
Yarra Valley Arts – Yarra Valley Arts is a not for profit organisation dedicated to enhancing the cultural lives of those who live, work and visit the Yarra Valley. You can view profiles of many artists living and working in the Yarra Valley.
The Melbourne Bead Expo – Run by The Bead Society of Victoria, this show features exhibitors from Australia-wide selling beads, gems and findings. The Whimsical Bead exhibits at this show each year.
Polymer Clay Daily – This wonderful blog has been created by Cynthia Tinapple. It showcases fresh and fearless polymer art from around the world!
The Blue Bottle Tree – An amazing collection of polymer clay information and tutorials created by US artist Ginger Davis Allman.
I have lived in the beautiful Yarra Valley, Victoria for over 30 years. It is a wonderful place to visit for an extended holiday, a weekend away or just a day trip. With the construction of the new Eastlink, we are now only approx. an hour from Melbourne and also Frankston (down on the Mornington Peninsula). There are many things to see and do in the area – these are just a few.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need any extra information.
Yarra Gables – Yarra Gables is a small luxury motel with 6 rooms, including king spa, queen spa, family and double suites, all set in extensive cottage gardens. From the suites and verandas you can enjoy picturesque views, magnificent sunsets and the sight of early morning balloons drifting across the valley. Yarra Gables is less than a 5 minute walk to The Whimsical Bead studio and we’ve teamed up with owners Ralph & Helen to offer you a great deal.
Simply mention The Whimsical Bead during booking and you’ll receive a discount of at least $10 off your stay! *subject to availabilty, book multiple rooms for larger disount. Discounts at owner discretion and may change without notice. Ask to speak to Ralph.
Yarra Gables also offers a ‘Book Now, Pay Later’ service which means you can book without paying a deposit.
Note: We have toured Yarra Gables and it is a beautiful property with owners who, like us, pride themselves on good customers service. Yarra Gables has a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor and have some fabulous reviews.
Allara House – Allara House is a newly built (2014) townhouse, located in the beautiful town of Healesville in Victoria’s Yarra Valley region. Relax in the clean and contemporary surroundings of Allara House – a perfect base to explore all that the Yarra Valley has to offer, including world-class wineries and restaurants, and the Healesville Sanctuary. The township of Healesville is only 5 minutes’ walk from Allara House, where you can take your time exploring the unique shops, cafes and restaurants. Allara House is only a 5 minute walk to The Whimsical Bead studio and we’ve teamed up with owner Jackie to offer you a great deal.
Simply mention The Whimsical Bead during booking and you’ll receive 10% off your stay! *subject to availabilty.
(Please note: We have not inspected Allara House but have heard wonderful reviews about it).
Healesville Apartments – Healesville Apartments provide boutique accommodation in the centre of Healesville, with views of the Yarra Valley mountains.
Set behind a mature garden each of the apartments has its own character and features, but the accommodation is all fully self-contained, north-facing with abundant light. Healesville Apartments is located very close to the main street of Healesville and is approximately a 3 or 4 minute drive to The Whimsical Bead studio.
Mention The Whimsical Bead when booking and receive a 10% discount on weekdays and a 5% discount on Friday and Saturday nights (minimum of 2 nights on Fri/Sat). *subject to availabilty.
(Please note: We have not inspected Healesville Apartments but some of our students have stayed here and recommend them).
Healesville Sanctuary – Healesville Sanctuary is one of Australia’s most loved tourist attractions and the best place in Victoria to see and interact with native Australian wildlife. The Sanctuary is committed to fighting wildlife extinction and offers visitors the opportunity to come close up to unique Australian animals in a stunning bushland setting.
Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery – One of my most favourite local places. Enjoy abundant free chocolate tastings. Watch the European Chocolatiers hand craft over 250 different chocolate products. Indulge in a delicious selection of ice creams. Relax at the café specialising in decadent sweet treats and let the children run and play in the expansive lawns and gardens.
Maroondah Reservoir Park (Maroondah Dam) – Maroondah Dam features gardens with stands of native and exotic trees, native animals and birds and walking tracks. Its playground, lawns and cool summer shade make it a popular picnic destination in warmer months. Indi and I are regulars here. Indi loves swimming in the river!
Healesville.biz – Healesville’s online directory. Find all you need to for your visit here in one place.
Hedgend Maze – Explore a beautiful 20 acres of stimulating, fun filled activities for all ages. Hedgend offers a creative environment that stimulates a fun personal journey for everybody.
Healesville Jewellers – This little store in the main street of Healesville is a treasure trove of beautiful goodies just waiting to be discovered.
Verso Books – If you’re anything like me, you can’t go past a good book store so imagine my delight when this gorgeous little book store opened up right in the main street of Healesville. Worth a browse if you’re visiting. 222 Maroondah Hwy, Healesville.
You can visit them on Facebook and Instagram.
Healesville Glassblowers – Healesville Glass Blowing Studio is the studio of award winning artists Tim Bassett and Tali Dalton. Whether you are looking for a unique piece of affordable art, a collectable work of art or a little memento of your visit to The Yarra Valley Healesville Glassblowers create something for everyone.
Alowyn Gardens – Alowyn Gardens provides an informative and educational experience for anyone interested not only in gardening, but also the enjoyment of a beautiful garden. It has been designed with shade and comfort in mind.
Cherryhill Orchards – Since 1940, the Riseborough family have been growing and exporting cherries all over the world. Now they are open to the public and you can purchase their famous cherries, or pack a picnic and enjoy the views while you pick your own big sweet cherries on over 85 acres of the picturesque cherry orchard.
Warburton Waterworld – Brand new water play park, playspace and recreation area for all ages – on the banks of the Yarra river, adjacent to the Warburton Holiday Park.
Yarra Valley Dairy – The Cheese Shop offers sampling of their famous cheeses. The shop is located in the 100 year old milking shed with beautiful views of the Yarra Valley and thousands of visitors arrive each year to taste the delicious, artisan cheeses. All the handmade Farmhouse Cheeses are available for purchase in our store alongside a range of carefully selected regional produce and local wines.