Posted on October 7, 2015
Equal parts art and dream job combined, Alina Tang has been popping up around town with a cart brimful of flowers bringing cheer and bright bouquets to the streets of Perth.
Tussie Mussies is a unique art project by Alina commissioned by the City of Perth for Transart Experimental 2015. It explores the culture of gift-giving, the meaning of flowers, interwoven with the art of conversation. A beautiful contrast to our current society’s ethos of taking, winning and achieving, passers-by are drawn in by curiosity and the promise of a free little Tussie Mussie of flowers just for them.
What inspired the name Tussie Mussies and what does it mean?
The term “tussie mussie” is a quaint, endearing term that was used in the early 1400s for a small, round bouquet of herbs and flowers with symbolic meanings. My performative art project, Tussie Mussies, is a celebration of flowers, gifts and meaning-making.
My mobile flower-cart carries different flowers with meanings that refer to positive traits of human beings. I visit various locations around the Perth CBD where I create personalised bouquets for passers-by, talking to them about the many layered meanings and identities of the flowers they choose. Through these conversations I hope to find out stories about female identity and strength, using them to add and alter the meanings of the flowers. I just love how the artwork continuously evolves with each exchange, growing in complexity of meaning.
What drives and inspires you? If you could do just one thing all day long what would it be?
I love pretty, soft, sweet, handmade things. I am inspired by all the lovely, generous and hard-working people around me and other great artists in the world doing amazing things. I don’t want to be a lazy person either, so that drives me to make work too.
I would love to say if I could do anything all day long it would be cuddle in bed with a cute boy, eat sorbet and pick flowers! But more realistically I would love to spend a whole day uninterrupted in my studio making things with a grooving playlist. I wish I could do that everyday!
If you could collaborate with anyone in the world, who would it be?
I love so many artists it would be so hard to choose just one! I would love to paint a giant mural with Lily Van Der Stokker, create an immersive work with Rebecca Louise Law, install an ephemeral floral, glittery, sugary magic world with Pip and Pop, perform with Miranda July, dream of love projects with Aleksandra Mir, and draw with Tracey Emin! (and so so many more – I hope they would love to work with me too!)
You’re a multiple hat-wearer and can be found in so many places around the Perth arts scene. Tell us more about all the different roles you have!
I have so much love in my heart for the Perth arts scene – there’s always so much going on! I work part-time at Beau Est Mien Prints and Design, a gorgeous printmaking studio and shop on William St in Northbridge. I manage most aspects of the business and also teach some pretty rad workshops on the weekend! I work with the best team of people including my best friends and a tiny sausage dog named Lulu. I couldn’t wish for a better job!
I also manage The Common Room at Paper Mountain, an artist-run initiative comprised of a gallery, studios and a creative co-working space. The Common Room is a bright and airy shared space of collaborative creativity with plenty of sunlight, pot plants and lovely people. Everyone who works at Paper Mountain is a volunteer, and we devote our time and energy to running it just because we love it!
I also work as an artist assistant for Pip and Pop (aka Tanya Schultz) creating magical, glittery, dreamy sugar installations all over the world. Most recently, we were at Splendour in the Grass in Byron Bay in July, and last year in Taipei for Very Fun Park, and at the end of this month we’ll be at Cut Out Fest in Mexico! Tanya is the most generous and gorgeous human being to work with and most of our install time is spent chatting about boys and love stories.
Besides those things, I do my best to maintain my art practice and create new and exciting projects whenever I can!
Come see more of Alina’s fascinating and engaging work at her upcoming exhibition, Anthologia, in collaboration with poet, Steven Finch.
Anthologia opens at Paper Mountain on Friday 9th October from 6pm. Be prepared for an evening that explores the combination of the spoken word with both visual and tactile art to create something truly and excessively beautiful.
Alina Tang / Be sure to follow @giantpansy on IG to find out where the next Tussie Mussies is going to pop up!
Posted on December 1, 2014
I’ve long been an ardent admirer of the marvellously and perfectly undone floral arrangements created by Rebecca from Fox & Rabbit. I’ve even had the pleasure of attending one of her workshops and seeing her in full flight. Like many wondrously creative people, she seems to ponder for a little while, then after finding that sparkle of inspiration, makes a few quick deft movements, maybe a couple of little revisions, then steps back to reveal a work of sheer delight, equal parts beauty, wildness and artful precision. Talents like these are few and far between.
Lately, I’d also been hearing murmurings of a new letterpress company, Type Hype, and seen some great work around, such as at the Kinfolk gathering earlier in May this year. The independent little company is run by Daniel and specialises in bespoke wedding and personalised stationery, and now also sports a smattering of impressively cool greeting cards that say heartfelt things like, “Rain or shine I will love you” and “Hola muchacho”!
Now what’s even cooler is that Dan and Bec are actually married to each other and share a workspace in Leederville on the Oxford Street stretch! Imagine how creative their kids are gonna be! They’ll be all-singing, all-dancing, all-letterpressing! On Friday night, we had great fun celebrating their studio’s first birthday and got to meet Dan’s new (but over 100 year old) letterpress machine. Admittedly, they currently have a love-hate relationship after Dan’s arduous six month-long restoration of the machine, but there’s no denying she’s a real beauty.
Much love and best wishes to the cute-as pair! We’re watching with bated breath to see what you come up with next and know it will be truly splendid.
Fox and Rabbit / Facebook / firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted on July 4, 2014
There are very few things that will get me out of bed willingly before sunrise. There are even less things that will convince me to leave the warm embrace of my friendly doona on a 2 degree morning. And yet, on a morning that fulfilled both of those usually dealbreaking criteria, I spritely hopped out of bed and out the door with Jinn on one arm and a hot thermos of coffee under the other. The promise of a day filled with hands on creativity and a chance to meet some of the most inspiring craftspeople in Western Australia filled us with barely containable excitement (and uncharacteristic morning cheer).
We set off up the road, admiring the sunrise through the foggy hills until we reached Cranmore Home, the picturesquely sprawling family homestead of Tracy Lefroy, the host and mastermind behind the Winter Workshop. After some time meeting, mingling, and obligatory caffeination, the workshops were underway! The workshops on offer were:
Laura Wortlock of Once Was Lost Studio
Textile Block Printing
Emma Grace Hawtrey of Woodpiles & Wishbones
Katrina Snowden of Peaches & Clean
Spencer and Marie-Clare of Maeker Studio
Rebecca Const of Fox and Rabbit
Tin Flower Making
Natalie Tonkin of Natalie Tonkin Design
Styling and Composition
The workshops gave each of us the opportunity to learn from a local expert and were highly participative! During Rebecca’s floral art class, we traipsed around Tracy’s vast property foraging (read: pillaging) for beautiful foliage and wildflowers, incorporating them into our very own floral masterpiece which we got to take home. Mine is still going strong! All this physical and brain activity was sustained by a regular flow of hot drinks and a sumptuous long (loooooong) table lunch set under the branches of some pepper berry trees and catered for by the culinarily-gifted Jodie Fairclough from To The Woods Cafe and Ferngrove Wines.
What an undeniable success the entire day was! We joked over lunch that it really should be a two day long Cranmore Winter Camp, but we weren’t really joking…I really didn’t want the day to end. We brought home my very own portfolio of ink drawings and a personally arranged vase of some of my favourite flowers, a new Tasmanian oak laboriously shaped, sanded and waxed by Jinn, and a screen-printed tea towel that he literally made with his own blood and sweat (left index finger vs lino cutter). But more than that, we came away having had the chance to meet and connect with a bunch of really great folk who have a heart for championing the local artisan and a huge appreciation of how much work goes into what they do.
A bucketload of congratulations and kudos to the big-hearted and broad-smiled Tracy Lefroy, and of course her indefatigable behind-the-scenes designer, Rebecca
Walsh Johnson (edited!). And for all the endless Instagrammable moments, massive applause goes to Meghan Plowman and Bec Tougas for impeccably styling the event. Shout out to Maya from House Nerd – so good to meet you!
Tracy Lefroy / Cranmore Home / Online store / email@example.com
Posted on March 3, 2014
Wearing – Comptoir des Cotonniers dress (similar), Senso shoes, Pigeonhole hat
A trip to Margaret River was just what the doctor ordered. Pure sunshine on my face and a healthy breeze whipping through my hair. Sometimes we just need times of solace, to introspect, to heal and tend to our own hearts. This is a simple outfit, a few of my favourite things, fuss-free and comfortable.
Posted on February 28, 2014
Wandering around this native flora wonderland, I dimwittedly asked, “So are you guys new?”.
The Yelverton Protea Farm has been around, flourishing and providing your local florists with the most perfect and unique of blooms for over twenty years. The hordes of us who have made that road trip to Margaret River have unknowingly driven past this farm which is nestled between Busselton and Cowaramup on Bussell Highway. If you’re heading south and find yourself driving down roads populated by brightly painted cow statues, you’ve gone too far.
We couldn’t resist taking home a couple of King Protea and Red Carnival seedlings, in the hope that these gorgeous natives will someday yield beautiful flowers in my own backyard.
This charming venue is also available for weddings and events so do come and see for yourself!
Yelverton Protea Farm / Open 7 days a week / 7211 Bussell Hwy, North Jindong
Posted on September 24, 2013
Spring is here! You wouldn’t have thought it, given the uncharacteristically dreary and rainy weather in Perth recently (highest September rainfall for more than 90 years apparently!). Last weekend Jinn and I took advantage of a sunny break in the wet weather to make our way to Kings Park and enjoy the wildflowers currently in bloom for the annual Kings Park Festival. It was still rather chilly though, hence the cardie and tights! What an amazing assortment of flowers there were to see – I didn’t know native flowers could look so pretty, I’ve been inspired to plant some in our own wee garden! It was great to be able to get out of the house and soak in some of that warm sun. The Kings Park festival runs until 30th of September – find yourself a patch of sunlight amongst the rain and get there! You’ll be handsomely rewarded. 🙂
Posted on April 30, 2013
I had an absolute blast celebrating my birthday in the presence of my beautiful family and friends! I have to mention the gorgeous cake that my mum decorated with fresh flowers for me that actually featured a David Austen rose from my own garden – now that’s a personalised touch. The other absolute highlight was the gift I received from Rani, by eldest sis-in-law (mum to the gorgeous children you see below) who presented me with two illustrations she’d done herself, one of which was a picture of myself! Seriously, what an incredible talent she has, not to mention a heart of gold. All these things really only start to describe what a special day I had and I can honestly say that I felt truly loved.
P.S. Mumsy’s the one in the particularly blingy dress – she’s no shrinking violet. No guesses where I get my love of all things shiny from!
Posted on April 15, 2013
This astonishingly beautiful bouquet was awaiting me when I opened the door to our home in Perth on Friday. When I stepped into the house, for a moment or two I was just absolutely speechless. It’s seriously the most beautiful bunch of flowers I’ve ever received, next to my wedding bouquet. And you know what? They were both made by my irreplaceable, incredibly talented, much loved Mumsy. I’d had an incredible week in Kununurra (check out my Instagram for some pics!) but couldn’t help but long for the end of the week because I was flying back down to Perth on Friday and celebrating my 30th birthday on Saturday!
Unbeknownst to me, Jinn and my mum hatched this sneaky plan to ensure that these flowers greeted me when I arrived home. I’m fully aware of how hard it is to source peonies in Perth at this time of the year, and so the effort that my mum went to to find and arrange this stunning bouquet of my favourite flowers just speaks volumes of how much I am loved and cared for.
I’ve had an incredible thirty years thus far, surrounded by friends and family and just so much love. If any of you get to read this, I want to let you all know how much I love and appreciate you all.
And lastly – thanks Ma! You really are the best.
Posted on January 16, 2013
Well actually for me it’s the end of my week (I’ve been working the last six days) and hence maybe why I’ve been feeling the need for a little pick-me-up lately. I’m a sucker for heart-wrenchingly beautiful flowers, particularly the kinds of arrangements that still have a “wild” feel to them. Somehow I feel that they just have more life and an undeniable character about them that needs no audible voice to express it – soft and beautiful, yet feisty with a sharp-witted reply always ready on the tip of its tongue. (Yes, I get all that from flowers, I do.) These beauties are the perfect example and combined with the citrus-y, sunny colours I just couldn’t help but feel inspired and that wee bit cheerier. If I got married all over again (but I hope and pray not so!) I imagine my bouquet would look a little something like this. And maybe paired with my new dream wedding dress – with long sleeves made of the most exquisite lace, a little like this one. Funny how our tastes change over the years – my actual wedding dress was totally different! But one thing will never change – I’ll always love lace.
***Photos courtesy of Terrain.
Posted on December 14, 2012
This day four years ago, Jinn and I got married! We both can’t believe it’s gone that quickly – I suppose that’s a good sign right? Time flies when you’re having fun, and all that? Well, I can’t disagree with that, it certainly has been fun! We’ve had some great times – travelling to places like Japan, Spain, and the latest trip to America, and enjoying our favourite pastimes such as cups of coffee on lazy Sunday afternoons, decorating our house in what you could best describe as a cross between Scandinavian mid-century retro goodness, egging each other on whilst online shopping, and of course our favourite one of all time, singing “We Built This City” really loudly in “perfect” harmony. It’s been pretty awesome – here’s to more years and crazy singing to come!
And this is us now…! ♥
***Wedding photos by Craig Cooper at Cooper Studio