Sarah Jayne is a freelance and creative writer, life model, filmmaker and art director currently residing in Elwood - her current film Daughter is touring to make changes in society-
Published July 6th 2016
A shop and gallery stocked with Melbourne made products
On a cold winter's afternoon in Sassafras my husband and I discovered a little shop called Miloko. That's the beauty of spending winter weekends in the mountains, filling up on home baked goods, fresh platters and hot drinks made from the finest ingredients at Sassafras' many cosy cafes – you never know what new gems you may discover.
Miloko is one of those gems. A vibrant and interesting shop and gallery just behind Cafe de Beaumarchais on Mount Dandenong Tourist Road. Hanging in the window silk scarfs, eco dyed in colours of soft musky pink and wedgewood blue, caught my eye. Upon entering my eyes wandered everywhere.
Each item for sale at Miloko is handmade by local Melbourne artisans and the shop is stocked with eclectic and individual pieces including jewellery, glazed ceramics, artwork, clothing such as leather purses, socks, scarves and woollen snoods and homewares such as blankets and papier-mâché clocks & chairs.
The artwork on the walls pictured above is painted by Upwey artist Belinda Connor, who uses brush stokes in various directions, flowing with full movement and large strides to invoke a sense of distance and an almost open landscape feel. Like most art however, what you see on the canvas is open to interpretation, so take a moment to stand and take in Belinda's work.
There is so much to see at Miloko you are bound to be drawn to at least a handful of items. I fell in love with Julie White's knee-high dye print socks instantly. Their label states the socks are "bold, original, fun", and shop owner Bernadette told me that people buy more than one pair per visit. I can see why. Just try and pick one single favorite print – I couldn't.
Like everything stocked in Miloko the jewellery is sure to suit many tastes. The semi-precious stone pieces catch the light and draw the eye. There are modern, simple and minimal styles sitting next to sleek, super contemporary designs and steampunk style necklaces that are true to the movement by utilising clock mechanisms and brass. Brands include LoveHate, Miss Wee, and o design, Shabana Jacobson and Aimee Stanton.
The handmade unique designs of Truso's leather wallets have an Art Deco look about them and are soft to touch. They come in a selection of colours and designs and can complement a vintage outfit as well as a modern look for the women of our times. Designs vary and the colour combinations are plenty so it is best to pop in and have a look for a design that suits you best.
While walking around you will also find clocks and some some very unique chairs made from papier-mâché by local Amanda Woodmansey, which are not just works of art, but practical furniture that is sure to have your house guests talking. Amanda has a wide range of styles and colours in these chairs.
I could write pages about what Miloko has in stock but I will end on two more products from the clothing and homewares range – the cosy winter collection by Otto & Spike and the snoods by In The Woods By The Sea.
Firstly, Otto & Spikes collection is very varied and the knitwear is produced by a family who have been knitting in Brunswick for half a century. They deal with the best wools from Australia and New Zealand and use Angora, Merino and Cashmere in their products which is everything from socks in geometric designs to thick winter blankets.
When I visited the store a second time, Bernadette had on a maroon coloured snood from In The Woods By the Sea and she talked to me about how comfortable and soft it was. Lovingly hand crafted from Alpaca and Merino wool, these snoods are not to be overlooked. Once again the talented artist Amanda Woodmansey is behind the creation and these pieces are defiantly an item worth checking out.
I recommend visiting Miloko any time of the year as a personal treat for yourself or to pick up a special handmade and unique gift for a loved one. Their website sums it up best: "At Miloko we're passionate about art, design and creativity. We want to live in a world in which artists thrive and are valued. Our customers are like-minded people who appreciate beauty and craftsmanship."