For almost two years now I have been writing here about all the amazing producers and cooks we have here in the Orange region. Today we are taking a little foray into the artistic realm of my town.
Inspired by the gorgeous Beetleshack blog, whose clever founder Emily invites artists to design headers for her in a series that changes every few months, I thought I might start a something similar, drawing from the big pool of local talent in (and around) Orange. To kick things off, I asked the very lovely and local Amelia Herbertson to do an illustration for me (see above) and I love the result so much that I can’t imagine ever changing it again!
Amelia creates beautiful illustrations and lino prints and sells them (via her Etsy shop and markets) as cards, tags and numbered prints. Her work is intricate, happy, beautiful and I suppose as with all artists, a clear reflection of the person behind the brush.
I visited Amelia’s little studio in Orange this week to chat about our header collaboration and was pretty happy to find her partner Harley there too, and a batch of freshly baked monte carlo biscuits (recipe below) on the kitchen bench. And while I’ve been following her blog for some time now (it’s gorgeous), I actually first met Amelia and Harley about seven years ago when we were all working at the Union Bank Wine Bar, she and I on the floor and Harley in the kitchen. He is a talented chef and works now with Scott Want at Orange’s Bistro Ceello restaurant.
The couple are currently living at Amelia’s parents’ place while they save a little money and it seems to be the perfect place for Amelia’s burgeoning creativity. While they work in the mental health/disability field, both her mother and father are artistic and this much is obvious the second you step through their front door; from the art on the walls, to the way they have renovated and decorated the former butcher shop that is now this colourful, funky family home and to the long garden full of carefully tended bonsai plants and vegetable plots.
Amelia studied graphic design after school; starting out at the University of Canberra (my old university!) and finishing by distance through Charles Sturt in Wagga Wagga. She graduated last year.
And while she studied art at school, Amelia has never had any formal training in that field, “I just learn as I go and teach myself most things!” she says, “I taught myself lino printing from books and am still picking up little tips and tricks along the way.” She is also a fairly nostalgic kind of girl, as she says, “when painting I am very influenced by my collection of vintage childrens’ books, some of which were Mum’s when she was little”.
Amelia’s work can be found and purchased via her own website and she also attends markets in the Orange region on a regular basis. Next up will be the Blayney Festival on Sunday 17th November then the Millthorpe Markets on December 1. Check her website for more Christmas markets and her range of Christmas cards that she’s just finishing up now.
Thank you Amelia for your beautiful Local is Lovely illustration!
Blackberry and Vanilla Monte Carlos
200g unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
150g brown sugar
155g self raising flour
110g plain flour
120g almond meal
50g desiccated coconut
150g blackberry jam (we used Huntley Berry Farm jam)
60g unsalted butter, softened
120g icing sugar mixture
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
2 tsp milk
Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F) and line two trays with baking paper
Beat butter, extract and sugar in electric mixer with paddle attachment until light and fluffy. Add eggs beat until combined. Stir in sifted flours, almond meal and coconut. Using two dessert spoons, form quinelles of dough and place onto baking paper. Place about 5 cm apart. Gently flatten dough with a lightly floured fork. Bake biscuits for about 12 minutes or until lightly browned, leave biscuits on tray to cool.
Meanwhile, make cream filling. Beat butter and sugar in electric mixture until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla bean paste and milk. Pair up matching sized biscuits, spread one with jam and one with cream filling and gently press two halves together.
Makes 18 large filled biscuits. Store filled biscuits in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.