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December 8, 2003 

A decorator's dream — Christmas Celebrations at the Johnston Collection.

Take 100 embroiderers, 50 decoupeurs, 15 lacemakers, 6 porcelain painters, 6 calligraphers and 20 Country Women's Association members and ask them to decorate your home for Christmas. What do you get? A truly spectacular seasonal paradise for anyone interested in arts, crafts, antiques and holiday decorating.

Nina Stanton, Director of the Johnston Collection put this challenge to the six groups, inviting them to create decorations inspired by the collection and the house to create a truly elegant and unique Christmas display.

"The results are even more wonderful than we had imagined," said Nina. "The hours each group has put into the work, and the types of decorations they have created make the holiday season very special this year".

Each group worked with particular areas of the house, including entrance halls, staircases and various rooms, taking their inspiration from the colours, furniture, paintings and collections on display, and developing a range of items specifically created to enhance the collection.

What's on display? The wide range of items includes summer puddings created from beadwork, embroidered Christmas stockings and table mats, decoupage Christmas eggs ranging from tiny quail eggs to oversized emu eggs, and decoupage boxes that reflect items in the collection.

There are lace flower arrangements and picture frames that reflect the patterns of the Johnston collection china and beautifully inscribed invitations and Christmas cards produced by expert calligraphers, who have also contributed origami stars and pinecones.

The Country Women's Association has created a very special kitchen display which includes a profiteroles Christmas Tree, a colourful array of bottled jellies and fruits, puddings hanging from the rafters and of course, knitted items, ranging from the traditional (jumpers) to the totally unexpected — knitted fruit, cakes and even a tiny mouse.

"Mr. Johnston was a highly regarded Melbourne antique dealer with an extraordinary eye for beautiful things, and a visit to The Johnston Collection can be a moving aesthetic experience", said Ms. Stanton. "I am sure he would have been delighted with the holiday additions to his home".

The Johnston Collection has been left to the people of Melbourne.

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