Cathedral Arcade on the ground floor of the Nicholas Building, Cnr Flinders Lane and Swanston st, Melbourne

The building’s interior lightwell – a glimpse into the private studios leased by this diverse group of local artisans

The delicate work of jeweller Rhiannon Smith, who has a studio on the 9th floor (more shots below)

Last Friday at 5.30pm I was absent-mindedly browsing the net… and I found myself wandering over to the very lovely Craft Victoria Blog… and this is what I stumbled across:

“Open Studios at the Nicholas Building continues on its merry way tonight: Friday 29th August 5pm-9pm”

Agghhh! It took a few moments for my dopey Friday-night brain to realise that this meant the Nicholas Building Open House event was taking place right at that very moment(!)… so when the penny dropped, I grabbed my camera and wasted no time rushing out to the tram stop!

I must admit that shamefully, until last week I have never actually been inside the famed Nicholas Building in Melbourne’s CBD. This stunning art deco building is a unique creative hub with a long tradition. It’s one of the few remaining buildings in the CBD dedicated to the arts – it houses studios and exhibition space for artists, jewellers, writers and artisans of all kinds. The Flinders Lane area used to be home to many similar buildings leased primarily as artists studios, however most of these have sadly since been redeveloped and turned into apartments. Sad but inevitable I guess.

The Open House event last week saw a selection of studios on each floor of the Nicholas Building open to the public – visitors had the opportunity to see these incredible workspaces first-hand, and to chat to the artists about their work. What an inspiring place! There is just so much incredible, diverse creative work being produced within these walls. In addition, the views of Melbourne from each floor are amazing – check out the glimpse of Flinders St Station through Tim Fleming’s windows on the 7th floor! Now that’s a million dollar view :)

My favourite finds included Rhiannon Smith’s stunning delicate jewellery and paper sculptures, Tim Flemings well-known ‘flatland’ figurines, and the beautiful letterpress studio of Carolyn Fraser… as well as many others… lots of photos below…

Visitors admire the beautiful work of jewellers Rhiannon Smith and Amina McPhee – *amendment – I must apologise I originally credited the beautiful silver flower pendant in the top image incorrectly – it is in fact the work of Rhiannon’s studio partner Amina McPhee! My apologies!

Top – visitors get a closer look at the work of Rhiannon Smith. Bottom – delicately folded paper ‘necklaces’ are created from recycled envelopes for Rhiannon’s upcoming exhibition ‘Return to Sender’ at Off The Kerb gallery in Collingwood. The exhibition runs from Sept 12 – Oct 8.

Tim Fleming’s ‘flatland‘ cut-out shapes line the shelves of his studio. How about that view!

Top – Tim Fleming chats to visitors about his work. Bottom – Tim’s workspace. I always love a messy desk!

Printmaker Carolyn Fraser demonstrates her letterpress techniques to a crowd of curious visitors. Her space was stunning – a much bigger studio than many of the others, and filled with the most beautiful antique printmaking and letterpress equipment.

Top – some of Carolyn Fraser’s work. Bottom – letterpress tools beautifully organised

The large studio space shared by painter/illustrator Tai Snaith, designer Nadine Treister, Jeweller Jasmina Krupic, Artist Emma Grace and photographer Jo Duck was very popular!

Tai Snaith‘s kooky illustrations and paintings

Tai Snaith – a little indecisive with her wardrobe choice for the evening :) cute!

Tai Snaith‘s colourful workspace

Top – the busy desk of jeweller Matt Vellacott. Bottom – simple, beautiful shapes in silver and ceramic by Matt Vellacott