5 Tips for a Smooth and Successful Hens Party

info Loaded Brush - Friday, April 05, 2013

1WHEN - Set a date early and send a ‘save the date’ notice or set up a facebook event and build the anticipation.

2. WHO - Liase with the Bride to make a list of guests and keep the list updated with contact details, RSVP, payment and any special needs such as food/transport.

3. WHAT – Decide on your main activity.  Remember you will want to appeal to a variety of ages and physical ability.  An Art Jam is a unique experience that can be tailored to suit all groups.

4. WHERE – Consider your location and transport needs.  Parties, which start at home, are a great way to give guests an opportunity to get to know each other and keep the budget in check by self-catering.

5. Finally make a schedule of the day. To keep your party running smoothly, have a rough guide in place. Prepare as much as possible in advance so you and the bridesmaids can participate stress free and enjoy the day too. 

Colouring the Streets

info Loaded Brush - Saturday, February 09, 2013
With a desire for change this courageous leader says no to the Grey of compromise and colours his city with amazing results. Our Environment must support our innovation and creativity and is a great place to begin making change.  Beauty protects, nourishes and renews.  A change in space can promote dialogue, collaboration and growth.  
We are fortunate to have a city of many colours, but we should continue to find ways to paint the town red for ourselves.  
What is your favourite Colourful Perth Space?
Which building would you like to see recoloured?

Planning the Best Hens Night in Perth

info Loaded Brush - Sunday, August 26, 2012


A Hens Party is a special time for women to come together to honour the Bride and their unique female friendship.  Careful planning can help make the event run smoothly and ensure the memories last for years to come.  You can download a Hens Party Planner, but here are a few top tips for planning the Best Hens Night!


  1. Talk to the Bride and make a list of guests including phone numbers, email, RSVPs and perhaps their relationship to the bride.

  2. Choose a date early and let everyone know.  Perhaps even suggest a budget so those that need to can plan for it. 

  3. Decide upon one of our fantastic Hen Party packages and secure your date!

  4. Consider your location, transport, food and decorations.  A party at home can keep costs down and allow for self-catering.  You may decide upon a theme of colour or style.  One of our Hens Jam groups all wore berets and stick on moustaches!

  5. As hosts, remember you will want to enjoy the party too, so keep a schedule and pre-prepare as much as possible.  If guests are paying cash, ask that they bring the correct amount or transfer funds before the night so no one needs to worry.  While the day may focus on the Bride, try to make sure all the guests are participating in the fun and let them know where the toilets are what to expect at the beginning of the night so everyone can relax and feel comfortable.

  6. Try to minimise the politics and if things don’t go exactly to plan stay flexible and diplomatic.

  7. Finally, consult an expert.  We have been hosting Hens Parties for years and will make sure yours ticks all the boxes.  For the most memorable and unique day full of laughter and fun contact us today.


info Loaded Brush - Sunday, June 03, 2012

My sister and I both studied Ballet for most of our childhood; she until an age one goes pro or gracefully retires, myself until pink leotards were simply no longer an attractive option and my pirouettes were more pudding than Pavlova.  Reminiscing over coffee I mentioned that the one memory I have of truly enjoying Ballet was the times we were allowed a few minutes at the end of class for Improvisation.  The teacher would put music on and let us move in whatever way we were inspired.

My sister told me she hated those times.  She was frozen. She didn’t know what to do.

In a recent radio interview I passionately declared a need to integrate Play in our lives daily.  I was half jokingly asked in response, “How?”

Many people believe that it is a question of time, how do I find time, between work, family and other commitments to essentially ‘do nothing.’  Play is viewed as an isolated activity that is purely for pleasure, without goal or outcome, but actually it is a question of attitude. Psychologist D.W. Winnicott said  “Play is not just an activity, it is a state of mind.”   It is a state of being Playful then, to which we aspire.  Being Playful is to have a sense of curiosity, an ability to take risks, explore and try new things. This is a natural tendency, as play is the root of learning, which as a matter of survival we innately undertake from birth.  However being Playful can be challenging for a number of reasons.

In his research Winnicott noted that ‘an infant needs a period of hesitation, in which to rediscover’ that is a moment to pause, assess the risk and decide how to proceed.  As we all have varying degrees of tolerance to risk, the amount of time needed and our approach to play will vary.  Interestingly, Winnicott also notes that the analyst (or in our case the facilitator) must also exercise tolerance.  I often find when facilitating a creative experience with Loaded Brush, some participants will need a much greater amount of time to take action and although it would be easy for me to step in and relieve both our discomfort, it is here that real work of play is taking place.  For if we respect this hesitation and allow the participant to move beyond it, to support, encourage and empower, rather than instruct, the creative muscle is strengthened.

Play then, is difficult for the sense of discomfort it may inspire and as those around us (teachers, parents, colleagues) rush to eliminate discomfort by stepping in they unwittingly or unknowingly make it ever more challenging for when we next face an opportunity to learn. 

Writing is an exercise in play for me, as I love words and ideas.  However, as I write this, my 12 month old puppy is stealing shoes and just about anything else that might get my attention in his effort to encourage a different kind of play.  His motivation is social and collaborative, in direct conflict with my desire to play quietly and alone.  Neither of us can currently value the other’s game.  Guess who is winning?  Excuse me a moment…

Managing a supportive environment for play can be yet another challenge.  In our rush for an outcome, we often overlook the value of play opportunities inherent in the process.  I am by nature an impatient person and sometimes find myself guilty of this blunder. However I am blessed to be surrounded by those to whom Play is uncompromisingly fundamental.  When I am not being reminded of the value of play by a wet nose in my face, it is my partner who launches into song and sticks a finger in my ear until I laugh and refocus my attention.

And so when I am asked how to be more playful, the answer is simple.  Give yourself permission.  Practice, be patient and whenever you can give those around you permission to Play too.  

The Best Art

info Loaded Brush - Tuesday, August 30, 2011

As a young traveler I once decided that I might sing for my supper, well actually, clean a hostel for a free night’s board.  I lasted about two days before I reverted to paying cash.  The manager smiled and said, ‘Cleaning toilets is a good way to find out what you don’t want to do.’  So how do we find out what we want to do?

Andy Warhol once famously said;
Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”  Warhol was a conceptual artist, his ‘work’ and business was in the play with ideas.  Much of the production was undertaken by his minions at his studio ‘The Factory.’   The ‘art’ therefore, is the process of thinking, the creation of ideas.  In this sense, good business is having the best ideas and implementing them successfully.   

I am currently training a Small Business Course for Mission Australia.  As participants near the end of the course they face the reality of starting their own business and begin to express some fears and doubts.  This conversation is always the most exciting for me, because it is in this space of the unknown that we discover the true reward of business, personal growth.  Fears about time management, sales skills or any number of practical concerns highlight opportunities for learning and creativity.  Like a blank canvas, a business offers no place to hide, but infinite choice and an ability to be your most authentic self, to decide exactly what you want to do and how you want to do it.  And just like a canvas, you can always paint over whatever isn't working, get help, or start fresh with a new canvas!  Good business, 'art,' is a process of creating, innovating, refining and reinventing ourselves, our staff, our product and our systems.  To be the best we must understand, practice and manage the process of creativity and innovation.

Now of course, the toilet will still need cleaning, but you decide how, how often and by who!



Tears, Fears and delicious Doubts!

info Loaded Brush - Thursday, July 21, 2011


I am having a vulnerable week. 
There have been tears, fears and yes, doubts a plenty.  In Jamming terms I have been staring at a half finished canvas and it is messy, embarrassing, unresolved, ugly even. 

This is generally the point in a Jam where people will once again turn to me for advice.  I try to ease the struggle and occasionally offer a friendly opinion, but always resist ‘teaching’ or telling Jammers what to do, because of course there is no ‘right way’ and it is simply not my decision to make.  It is also, like the first moment of facing the blank canvas, an opportunity with great potential for empowerment. 

In her TED talk The Power of Vulnerability, Brene Brown shares the story of her journey into Vulnerability.  She speaks about the discomfort of learning, having a “willingness to do something where there are no guarantees.”  Her message is that we are born courageous creatures “wired for struggle” and our efforts to avoid or reduce the discomfort associated with this risk merely serve to dull the shine on our glorious imperfect lives and loves.


Having a willingness to share what is messy, embarrassing or unresolved is opening a door to learning, because learning is an exchange, a dialogue.  We must be prepared to say to ourselves or to another ‘I don’t know,’ ‘I am afraid,’ ‘how can?’ ‘I wonder’ and then to boldly step into that space of discovery. 


Yes, it was a messy week.  I had my moment of tears, fears and doubts and I am so pleased!  Excited and thrilled to be playing in a space of new learning!  And grateful to those who have shared and supported me.


At the end of every Jam I thank participants for Sharing their Creativity.  This is not merely ‘thanks for your business,’ but an expression of truly genuine gratitude for giving of themselves, sharing a moment of their beautiful vulnerability.  What a special gift!


info Loaded Brush - Friday, June 10, 2011

I follow @guidedogswa on Twitter and they recently posted this deliciously adorable photo of their new trainees!


Now I am and will always be, a ‘dog person’ so it is not hard for me to immediately fall in love with this delightful duo.  However knowing this pair are destined to be leaders, puts them in a class well above my neighbour’s yapping terrier. 

So what qualities make these leaders stand out from the rest?

PLAYFUL – Puppies are playful. Like children and indeed the young of most species, puppies are curious and experimental.  Exploring the world around them, they are prepared to take risks and push the boundaries with a natural instinct to learn and grow.

COLLABORATORS – Puppies play well with others.  Trusting and friendly, with a few alert sniffs, puppies invite you onto their playground.  Taking on different roles, sensitive to strengths and weaknesses, puppies learn from and respect the differences of those around them.

COMMUINCATORS – Puppies have acute listening skills, they utilise all their senses and absorb the world around them.  They maintain awareness of their environment and nuances of even the smallest changes within it.  From a friendly nuzzle to a cautious growl they communicate efficiently and effectively to those close to them.


INTEGRATORS – Puppies are well balanced.  Making time to play and rest, they are present in the moment.  Puppies are authentic in sharing their unique personality.  

And finally wiki.answers.com suggests that a puppy leader 

“should be an excellent problem-solver because it is impossible to predict every possible puzzle a dog might encounter in his working life and he must be able to apply what he knows creatively in new situations to make safe and reasonable decisions.”

 For more information on how to learn from these unique animals and their trainers go to 

But first tell us how do you measure up to these generous and gifted leaders?

What De Bono doesn't tell you!

info Loaded Brush - Sunday, May 01, 2011

So you have put on a red hat and a yellow one, invested in some postits and colourful markers, generated some ‘random words’ and brainstormed more than a dozen uses for an umbrella.
  You’ve tried to get ‘out-of-the-box’ and ‘off-the-wall’ but somehow you are just a bit stuck.  I mean you don’t even own an umbrella, what difference does it make how other people choose to use them?


De Bono has done a great deal to encourage an understanding of creativity as a skill and process.  One, which we all participate in, and can practice and improve.  However De Bono only gives us half the recipe.  Typical of a science trained doctor, his approach is one of follow the instructions step by step, voila, Creativity!


Any amateur chef will tell you following the recipe does not always result in the cookbook picture! And of course that is ok, if you are happy with the taste, but De Bono’s tools for too long have left a bad taste, or sadly no taste at all!


Mastering any skill, from climbing to kissing involves some technical aspects, the method or instructions.  However there are elements one can only learn from experience, the language unique to that skill.  Rock climbers learn to read the rock, as well as the weather and perhaps the body language of the climbers they rely upon.  Chefs learn the language of food, the smell of a ripe tomato, the texture of a certain sauce.  These sensibilities are developed over time and practice.  So what then is the language of Creativity?


The great news is that the language of Creativity is all languages, your language, the Hundreds of Languages.

Every experience you have builds your repertoire of what IDEO’s Jane Fulton Suri calls ‘Design Sensibilities.’  Elements of rhythm, gesture, texture, light, humour and perspective to name just a few.  These subtle intuitive components are drawn upon personally and professionally and building our awareness of them increases our ability to make thoughtful, powerful and creative decisions.

Suri writes “develop the design sensibilities of your employees as a business asset with two important benefits: more refined intuitions about the needs and desires of your customers and greater confidence in making intuitive judgments to resolve complex problems with well-rounded solutions.”


So how do I develop design sensibilities? Come and talk to us, it is what we do.


Ways of Seeing

info Loaded Brush - Saturday, April 30, 2011

One of the great skills of Artists, Designers or Entrepreneurs practice is an ability to See, that is, to observe or notice things of interest. They are then, usually particularly talented at reading, translating or applying these observations creatively. But it starts with seeing!
We are constantly exposed to a barrage of information on all our senses. Being able to categorise, negotiate and certainly disregard much of this data is a skill, which whilst necessary, can become too effective in narrowing our attention. We train ourselves to only take note of the ‘important details.’ But ask yourself, how important do you feel when someone spells your name incorrectly? Small, but Significant!
So how do we recapture our attention to detail?

1. Document It – You don’t have to be Leonardo Da Vinci to keep a notebook handy (in fact Leonardo would no doubt envy your iphone!). Drawing can be a fantastic way to develop your observation skills, if you can learn to focus on the lines you see, not what you expect to see. However you might simply snap a photo, write down a few words (twitter it!) or even record yourself a voice memo. ‘It’ could be anything you experience, a smell, the shape of shadows, the feel of your desk, the colour of your foot. Begin with a loose goal to make a unique, yet random record of your week. If it helps you might imagine an audience, but don’t try to make these fragments hold meaning, the exercise is simply to observe.

2. Frame It – It can be difficult to observe something you ‘see’ everyday. Try reframing it! Put it somewhere different. Great Art has often been nothing more than an Artist moving a thing or idea somewhere unexpected, such as Duchamp’s Fountain, a urinal he exhibited in 1917. http://bit.ly/ab3mx5
Moving something puts it in a different context, changing its relationship to the world. Try putting your rubbish bin on an office chair or on top of your desk for the day and consider how your idea of rubbish changes with this increased status. We literally frame our precious photographs, but everything ‘has its place.’ Shift your world, shift your thinking.

3. Transform It – Make a small thing big, a coloured thing black and white, something 3D flat. I once accidentally photocopied my shirtsleeve and was fascinated by the result. Transforming things is another way to reframe them, giving new perspective. Technology can provide helpful and non-destructive ways to transform things (computer simulation), but sometimes it is ok to just go ahead and melt GI Joe! The artist Christo explores transformation by wrapping things, including most famously the Reichstag! http://bit.ly/4kD0jw

4. Transform yourself – If you can’t wrap the Reichstag, or change a thing or idea (or person) try transforming yourself. This will in effect change your relationship to the thing. We regularly do this to some extent, modify our behaviour or look depending on a situation. Heels, make-up, a telephone voice. Try using your non-dominate hand, stand when you usually sit, affect an accent for the day, or a whole new character if you are able. Designers often physically put themselves in the place of their clients to have first hand experience of this perspective. Imagine what you might discover if you traded places with a friend, colleague, family member or pet for a day.

5. Be in Dialogue – The first four points listed were techniques to practice and develop your observation skills, but perhaps most important, is to adopt an attitude of seeing. As seeing is something most of us are fortunate enough do from birth, we tend to arrogantly neglect our practice of this incredible gift. Take a position of being in Dialogue with your space, that is, to have an encounter in which your relationship to an object or idea is open to change. From this position, you will truly begin to see.

Spoilt Rotten!

info Loaded Brush - Saturday, April 30, 2011

I was recently accused of being spoilt. English is not my friend’s first language, so I am not sure Spoilt was exactly the word he sought, but in spirit at least, I had to agree. And it is not the first time this sentiment has been expressed! An Italian I once knew told me when I spoke about Australia he was reminded of Amsterdam, a city notorious for its freedoms.

In both cases there was certainly a cultural element at play. Of course being Australian, I HAVE been ridiculously spoilt and by more than just cinnamon soft, snow-white beaches! But I think I was most spoilt, by my mother, who gave me the most precious and valuable gift of learning and creativity. The gift of choice, which I now pass along to others.

This week I took part in a discussion panel with the crew at Creatif (soon to be aired on WestTV.) The discussion centred around the reasons why creativity makes us feel good or is good for us. At its core, Creativity (learning) is first a process of taking a risk or trying something new. This is frightening of course, but also very exciting. As Robin Wiliams once said,

“When you create you get a little endorphin rush. Why do you think Einstein looked like that?”

In the case of Jamming, participants smock up and are charged with this thrilling anticipation and willingness to Play and create (even those who believe they are ‘not creative’ and ‘can’t do this’) Very quickly the questions start flowing, as fast as the paint,
“What do we paint?”
“How do you…?”

And so begins the process of problem solving, the heart of creativity. It is this thrill, beyond the initial adrenaline rush of jumping on stage or plunging your fingers into a cool block of clay, that offers the most reward. Making decisions, discovering delicious success or the possibility to try again. I suspect it is this freedom, which even in the most challenging circumstance I am able to maintain, which makes me somewhat spoilt! Creativity is a gift of choice and flexibility, a process or attitude, which is inherently empowering. And of course it is this empowerment that makes creativity so sexy!

So go on, Spoil yourself! Get creative!