In Pursuit of Magic

By The School admin
on February 28, 2014

This year we are definitely in pursuit of magic. Committed to discovering magic making teachers, new classes, chasing new dreams and putting the opportunities up for others to meet wonderful creative triggers through classes. This year we have Adelaide, Brisbane and hopefully Perth on the horizon with new classes that will cover candle making, more technology, more styling plus committed kids school holiday classes in Sydney and Melbourne for younger enquiring mind. Let 2014 be the year of pursuing magic.

Kara is coming back to Tasmania on the 26th of February 2014

By The School admin
on February 20, 2014


Vignette Magic is back on the road! Learn Kara's tricks of the trade and experience the process of building the ultimate vignette. Kara's succinct point check list to the perfect pleasing vignette is easy to follow and replicate. Its a social evening, doubling up as a props party but life long lessons taught! Your mantelpiece will never be the same again!

Hurry! No time to wait! Book here for the 26th of February 2014.


By The School admin
on February 13, 2014

Its on this Saturday at The School.

Saturday 15th of February 2014 from 11am to 1pm

Bring a book to swap (all donations go to the Indigenous Literacy Foundation), meet your Instagram friends, eat home made cakes and drink tea with us! Such a worthy cause. Such a delicious cake line up! Share with those who love books, reading and all of their associated pleasures!

This is a free event, no bookings required.

Smarter Business Ideas

By The School admin
on February 06, 2014


What I’ve learned… Megan Morton, Styling Queen

You might not know it but you would have seen Megan Morton’s creative eye in probably almost every home, fashion and interiors magazine you’ve picked up in Oz and internationally. Best known for her editorial work and penning interiors books, Megan, who’s worked as a stylist for almost 20 years, is also the owner of creative workshop venue for adults and children, The School which she runs with her husband, Giles, an ex-retail pro.

Against the advice of her mentors who thought a rundown canning factory site wasn’t the right space for a business whose goal to ignite inner creative, but Megan saw its promise, gutting it out and transforming it into an inviting educational studio. We chat to Megan about getting her marketing know-how from a teen magazine, cold calling craftspeople from the Martha Stewart network and the importance of Instagram for her business. 


I set up The School two years ago because I had a burning desire to pass on the information that I’ve learned through my career to others for the betterment of people’s private homes and space. I try to bring the best teachers and the juiciest in their field to The School in the hope that they can creatively encourage others. We also take our classes on roadshows to wonderful interstate to places that even locals may not have seen or been to.

The School initially was a self-funded business, every cent I billed as a stylist I would put back into the business fund, so when we came across the right location and the right conditions, I wasn’t under stress from the get go. We didn’t have a financial goal, we just signed the lease and kept working and supporting our three children while we tried our hardest. It was a heads down, bums up situation.

Each class has its own capacity to make sure everyone gets attention. It’s a trial and error situation where it pays off to invest in teachers and classes that we can share with as many people as we can. Some classes take up to 30 people, whereas things like crocheting cashmere pug egg cozies sometimes have a maximum of four attendees. We treat every class like a photo shoot production to make sure everyone’s time here is special and tailored to the class.

READ: How Lime&Tonic creates personalised experiences for customers


Teaming up with international creatives has put us on the global radar. Our work with Martha Stewart’s calligrapher, Maybelle, sold out on the first day, and had people even flying in from New Zealand to attend! I took a risk when I cold called her and seven hugely successful classes were born.

My marketing strategy for The School comes from my experience in direct marketing for Dolly magazine. I invented the ‘The Dolly Club’ where readers would $5 to be part of the all-inclusive community and that’s what we do and rely on today at The School - talking intimately with our club members. I find myself laughing realising although I am in a different place essentially what I do has been the same for many years now. We realise not everyone can afford our classes all the time, so every year we host a free class and activities other than paid per seat classes, as we run mostly on word of mouth.

I’ve learned working hard is sometimes not enough. We place classes purposely on the weekends, because as a working mother of three I know all too well the importance of a leave pass on the weekend. This has been difficult with my own family and a constant battle I have.

I surround myself with people smarter than me and that’s why my business works. We worked with an ex-Arthur Anderson brain, Sam Mosse, to set up systems and reporting. The School is only a result of its people – not me, or its teachers, but the camaraderie and skills that the students derive and go on to share with the people in their lives. I am always the dumbest in the room.


The internet and social media is our lifeline to our clients, and it’s a position we never take for granted. We post daily on Instagram and our styling work over at @mmbehindthescene. I put up posts when the inspiration hits me - my posts aren’t dependent when most people will be watching or the time of day. Our Facebook is our second priority to Instagram. I would like to grow this, but the visual aspect of Instagram just suits our aesthetic more.

SEE: How glamour portrait business, Sherbet Birdie, uses social media to grow business

We’ve been offered lots of money to do Skype classes, but I don’t believe it suits online. Offering classes online would be so much more profitable and easier on our limited staff resources. For me, The School needs to be a living, breathing, human, person to person experience only. You have to have taken the day away, parked your car in Rosebery and sit in a white open studio and really get the information. We have the equipment including left-handed scalpels, purpose built screenprinting and Shiboru high pressure sinks to give our students the best results. 

Hear more of Megan Morton's words of wisdom at an artisan and designer showcase trade show, Life Instyle.

SEE MORE: 'What I've learned' profiles here

Fête Spring 2013 / Every day's a party

By The School admin
on October 10, 2013


Fête press has been one of our favourite rags. Its local, its lovely and its a typography dream machine. Our little School community birthday celebrations made it to their pages. We went all gushy when we saw it and we where reminded of the incredible chandelier from our Marsha Golemac and crispy skin photography by Brook Holme.

M_I_S_O_ is coming to The School....

By The School admin
on October 03, 2013



We have no words for the excitement about our upcoming class with legend artist Miso. We are busy having whiskey tastings and drawer matching (have you ever had a whiskey salted caramel cheesecake?).

What you will learn is divine paper art from the best. Get your framer on speed dial - Miso's tuition will ensure your paper cuts are beyond beautiful and most definitely frame able. 

We love you Tasmania!

By The School admin
on October 01, 2013

We were spoilt on the photography front with local Sarah Williams recording our Tasmanian Roadshow, we wanted to share some of the portraits she did of Rachel Castle's class, materials and people. We love you Tasmania. Thank you for having us and see you very soon New Zealand.


A wonderful post and looksie into the Rachel Castle print class. It really is that wonderful.

By The School admin
on August 27, 2013

I have to be perfectly honest with you, I was a tad nervous before attending Rachel's screen printing class hosted by The School Hobart Roadshow.These days I spend more time teaching than learning new things myself, so I probably shouldn't be surprised that I was a little anxious.

Rachel is a complete powerhouse of print. I swear to god (or whoever). She was determined that every single person who came on the day would go home with a perfect print. And they did.

Megan and Sophie were on hand to help out - and as we began to learn the process, the students managed to help each other as well, lending a pair of hands to firmly hold a screen, sharing ideas for patterns and colours, supporting through the trials and errors and cheering at the successes. Considering the majority of us had only met that day I think it really demonstrated the ethos of The School. I'm going to use the word generosity again (just as I did when I wrote about Kara's Vignettes workshop earlier in the week) because it really burst through all my experiences at The School's travelling roadshow - a little bit like when sun rays finally manage to penetrate thick grey rainclouds. (Ooooh, look. I'm getting all poetic and stuff.)

If you are considering doing one of the workshops, I highly (so highly) recommend getting along to work with Rachel. She's fabulous and funny and makes learning something new a joyful experience.

Have you learnt a new skill lately? Tell me, tell me!

Thank you 'Look See by Naomi Fenton' x


By The School admin
on August 23, 2013

Tasmania. There was so many amazing classes and moments. Here are two of my own shots I took because I am enamored with nasturtium leaves. New Zealand, you are next for our Roadshow! We arrive in Auckland the 4th November and actually can't wait. The School will be based out of the wonderful Mildred and Co. studio, and you have been warned, its going to be pretty ridiculous. Already we have some people book flights over, mixing learning and recreation! Book nowish though because once seats are gone, they are really gone.

Reading Livia Albeck-Ripka

By The School admin
on August 21, 2013

Reading Livia Albeck-Ripka words in the latest Dumbo Feather struck a chord. So much so we had to write to her and tell her how wonderful it was. We asked her if we could share it and she said, in true Dumbo Feather, "of course, pass it on!"
We don't play anymore. Why is that?
As children, play is one of the first things we learn to do. It teaches us to be optimistic, flexible and social. Yet when we grow up, it seems to almost disappear from our lives.
We forget to make a mess, to dress up, to make things from egg cartons and shoeboxes, to create when we know might fail.
We replace 'idle' enjoyment with work and seriousness; somehow, we start believing that if there isn't a goal, there isn't a point. We become mono focused, but it burns something at the other end. Increasingly, we are overworked, obese and depressed. And we escape into drugs and alcohol, even though we know that these altered states of consciousness are detached and ultimately, empty. But we are hardwired to play, and we haven't been coping without it.
Play is the foundation for intimacy, cooperation, creativity and resilience. It is essential to our mental health. So let¹s get out the glue and streamers and make something that might be ugly. Let's be spontaneous. Let's improvise. Let's fail together. Let's reconnect. Through play, we can awaken our innate abilities to trust and adapt. And instead of feeling the fleeting happiness that comes from goal-orientated success, we can engage with something far more magical, free and expansive. We can't play where there is judgment, so we will have to ignore our egos.
Let's try to remember what gave us joy as fearless children. Did you love to sing, to dance, to build? When is the last time you felt free, light, lost in a story? Disappearing into the make-believe can nourish our brains and hearts, and inspire a world of possibility.
Livia Albeck-Ripka

Deputy Editor

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