I'm passionate about art, poetry, the English language and all things maritime, and I also love drawing: https://touchpaperdrawingtips.wordpress.com/ Join the Fight for the Reef! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Postcards-for-the-Reef/997018917032291
Published June 24th 2014
You'll go potty over their pottery
Gifts for Everyone by Local Contemporary Artists and Designers
Where can you go in Adelaide to buy quality original artworks by local artists? There is a handful of shops that deal exclusively in this area, and one of the very best places I've come across is a little shop in Stirling called Milan Rouge.
In 2010, Alison Arnold and Rose Maguire shared a feeling there was something they could do that would both supplement their income as artist/potters and bring a whole new artistic perspective to gift shopping in Adelaide. They sat down and talked about it one evening, and two years later Milan Rouge was born.
It took them a while to find the right venue, but in the end the shop in Stirling seemed to be the perfect place, not just because it's situated about the same distance from their homes (Alison lives in Hawthorndene and Rose lives in Lenswood) – but also because Stirling is celebrated as the gateway to the Adelaide Hills, a vibrant centre of artistic creativity. I'm totally in agreement, as I have always wondered why Stirling has never had a retail art gallery before.
Although they wanted to promote South Australian artists, Rose and Ali were careful to test the market before they jumped in with both feet. "At first we thought about stocking a mix of Australian made and fair trade crafts, but as the idea for the business developed we realised that there was a real demand for locally produced work and that there were many talented South Australian artists looking for places to sell their work. This instinct was confirmed when we opened and has become our main focus," said Alison. Both artists were also surprised at how often people would buy a piece made by each of them, even though they didn't tell customers which of the artworks were theirs. "It was as if just by talking to them we'd given them an idea of the kind of work we like to make – and it made them feel they'd like to buy it!" said Rose.
some of Alison's cheerful pottery, along with other quirky ceramics by Sally Baddams
That magic is the key to the success of Milan Rouge – two enthusiastic artists, who love to communicate their love of creating things to customers, not just with friendly conversation but also by creating a welcoming atmosphere, that make you want to linger and explore the works on display. "One customer is always apologising, because she comes in and looks but never buys", laughs Alison. "But that's not what we're about – we love it when people come in just to enjoy it".
There is something for everyone, from large original paintings to tiny brooches, custom designed clothes, a wonderful array of ceramics, illustrated books and quirky handmade dolls. Last time I went in I thought there were suddenly hundreds of new things on display, but Rose explained that they move things around all the time, to keep the shop looking fresh. That way everything gets noticed, and nothing languishes in a dark corner.
There is even a tiny library where you can go for inspiration!
Alison and Rose are also branching out into hosting workshops on the third Sunday of every month, given by local established artists, at a private studio nearby. Coming up on July 20th is STILL LIFE WITH BEGINNERS with Lynda Duke. This will be followed on August 17th by COLLAGE and ACRYLICS with Simone Linehan, and FELT HAT MAKING with Samantha Goodburn, on September 21st. These all-day sessions include a delicious lunch and refreshments, so they're bound to be relaxing and enjoyable! Contact Ali or Rose on 8339 4683 or email contact@milanrouge for more details.