New Yallourn House print & a bit of history

OK, so I *may* have an addiction to drawing houses. Often pastel coloured, wonky houses. Some are houses I go past all the time and some are houses I used to live near but the latest fits neither of those categories - not only have I never seen this house, I can't see it because it doesn't exist anymore*. In fact, the town it's from doesn't exist anymore either.

So what is this place and why did I draw it? It's from a town called Yallourn, which was built by Victoria's State Electricity Commission to house the workers of Victoria's open-cut brown coal mines in East Gippsland. It's also the town that my dad grew up in and it looked to be a wonderland of green spaces with a vibrant, engaged community. But it's a town I never got to see because it was all but gone by the early 1980s. You see as the mine expanded, it swallowed up the whole area, and all of Yallourn. You can read a bit more about it here on the new house print's shop listing page here.

So that's the story with the latest house drawing. And even without knowing the background story, I still think it's just a very cute little house and I do hope you like it. 

X Susan

* When I say the house doesn't exist anymore that may not actually be the case. A lot of the houses from Yallourn were simple constructions - a timber frame with weatherboard cladding - and were removed and relocated to towns nearby and also far away. So if you're ever in the Latrobe Valley region keep a look out and you might just see this house, or one like it. How cool is that?

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Hello 2018

Yep, it's most definitely 2018 now but it took a while for the year to kick in here, due to a bit of an unexpected and crap end to last year. My advice: don't get food poisoning on Christmas Day, then faint with a glass of water in your hand and end up in hospital, needing plastic surgery on Boxing Day. Yes, that really happened to me. But there's nothing like being incapacitated to reevaluate your life and the point of your existence (and what you'll do with yourself if you can't take photos/draw/paint/use a mouse etc etc.)



 And more stitches, just before they came out.

And more stitches, just before they came out.

I'm glad to say that my hands are nearly all better, which I am sooo grateful for, and now I cannot wait to see what cool stuff awaits in 2018. At the moment I'm dedicating a bit of time each day to drawing (mainly because I'm so happy that I can draw) and have just listed a brand new drawing called North Carlton Houses, I've just sent off my first textile design to be digitally printed as fabric yardage (I really want to make myself some outfits from my own textile designs), I have a new batch of earrings waiting to be fired in the kiln and I am trying to finalise the design of a new multi-coloured screen print. Oh, and I can not stop taking photos and more photos. Hope your 2018 is going great. 

 Digitally printed textiles! This is a sample I designed and had printed last year.

Digitally printed textiles! This is a sample I designed and had printed last year.

 This brand new print,  North Carlton Houses , has just been listed in the store

This brand new print, North Carlton Houses, has just been listed in the store

Summer in November

I'm doing a bunch of screenprinting today, to ward off Monday-itis and get some orders sorted out. The ink colours I'm using are very pastel and I just realised it's kind of summer here in Melbourne, though it feels like we got no spring. Oh well, at least that means endless salads, like the beetroot and cabbage slaw I had for lunch (and yes, I get to keep the reject plates - this one's got a hairline crack in it, what a shame!)

I'm thinking of using the paper I rest my squeegee on between prints (bottom photo) to wrap some orders - I usually throw that paper out but today the mess of ink and patterns looked pretty cool. Watch this space.


Shop update update

I'm posting shop updates each day this week. Mainly because there are so many new things and dealing with them all at once would do my head in! Here's a sample of what's gone up so far - lots of ceramics...

Happy Thursday.

New things

Just a quick post to share some new things I've been working on! The brand new tea towel, Fishes, is my first proper two-colour screen printed design and I'm so happy with it (and not just because I'm a Piscean). It's based on drawings I did earlier this year and certainly has a Scandi vibe. A limited number are now available in my shop and the Etsy shop.

Also new is an art print called Fish, which features more hand! It's printed onto the most lovely textured paper and fits A4/8x10" frames. It's in both this shop and Etsy too.

There will be shop updates each day this week, so keep an eye out for more new things. These one-off plates will be online tomorrow!

Oh, and in non-Spin Spin news, I've started *another* Instagram account, this time in my own name. So if you want to see what else I take photos of (mainly houses that are falling apart, sausage dogs, old buildings, old signage and plants) go forth and follow.

Makings: Ceramic Mobiles

I had this idea yonks ago to make some mobiles, using hand painted porcelain pieces strung from wood with linen string. Like most ideas I have, it sat at the back of my brain and perpetually near the bottom of my ever growing to-do list. But the other week I finally had some time to play around with making the pieces, and it was super fun - I made some different shapes and used colours I don't usually use. 

Then after the usual waiting, waiting, waiting for ceramics (for the clay to dry, then to sand it, paint it, then get it to a kiln and fire it and refire it!) the pieces were finally finished and ready to go last week, so I got to bring them to life. And I'm kind of in love and now I can't wait to make some more. The first batch are in the shop, I hope you like 'em too. 

Shop Visit: Fibresmith

Today I *finally* visited Fibresmith, an amazing new cloth and yarn shop in Yarraville, and had my mind blown with loveliness. It's run by Leslie, of Maze and Vale, with the help of lovely staff Alison and Kara. The shop's a great edit of yardage and fabric pieces, yarn, buttons, mags, supplies and more and I highly recommend a visit if you're in the area and into such things. It's also the only place you can buy Leslie's amazing screen printed fabric and hand dyed yarn, which is worth travelling for. And of course I couldn't resist taking some snaps. Prepare to SWOON. 

If you're interested in seeing more of Leslie's work, she was actually the very first person I visited for my side project Studio Space, when she worked out of West Footscray (she now has a studio in West Melbourne).

New papergoods

It's nearly September...what?! To celebrate entering the ninth month of the year, all September orders will receive a little Hei Hey Hallo Hi! screen printed postcard. Cute! I'm also working on a little card idea using some multi-coloured designs I've created lately.

Also coming soon - some more art prints, on the best textured paper ever. It's taken me years to find a stock that I like and this is it (below). Hope you like too. Watch this space.

X Susan

(Non-) Tutorial: Felt Pillowcases

If you are looking for a fun craft project or you have a kid's birthday coming up, I highly recommend making a felt pillowcase. So easy, so fun and they make a great personalised gift. In place of a pillowcase you could use a tea towel, T-shirt, a piece of fabric (then frame or use as part of a quilt) - so many options! I was thinking of making a tutorial but it's pretty straightforward, I don't think you need one - just use iron-on interfacing on the back of the felt, cut into shapes/letters and use a sewing machine to sew on (around the edges). Here are some that I've gifted lately. And if you make one, I'd love to see it so remember to share!


Stockist: Paradise Structures

Just a little heads up for local Melbourne folk that Spin Spin goods are now stocked in the amazing Paradise Structures in Footscray. The shop is run by sisters Alana and Annabelle, with help from their trusty tiny pooches Harvey and Charlie and features jewellery, clothing and records and tapes from local makers and musicians. Yay! When I dropped the goodies off I couldn't help but also take a couple of snaps of the space, which is so sweet AND has the best afternoon light. I usually don't have much time for wholesaling my products but it's nice to be able to work on this recently. More shop reveals soon!

If you're in the area tomorrow, Saturday 19 August, Paradise Structures will be hosting a live recording of the fab Wowee Podcast (by Esther Sandler of Togetherness Design and Penny Min Ferguson from Min Pin, from 2:00-5:00pm. 61 Victoria St, Footscray.

Oh, and check out this amazing drawing by Alana and Annabelle, which appeared in Esther's Bloomin' Beauties exhibition at BSIDE Gallery in Fitzroy earlier this month.


Mid-winter cooking

I've been doing lots of cooking lately, because it's mid-winter here in Melbourne and I'm in dire need of warming foodstuffs (and the occasional scoop of icecream). I've mainly been into making hearty winter vegetable dishes and some 'healthy' sweet snacks and I thought I'd share links to some of the recipes, in case you need some foodspiration.

  Lunch Lady 's  quinoa brittle  is a pretty great sweet treat. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Lunch Lady's quinoa brittle is a pretty great sweet treat. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

 It might be winter but that doesn't stop me making  matcha ice-cream .  Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

It might be winter but that doesn't stop me making matcha ice-cream. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

 Lunch Lady's Walnut, Oat and Beetroot Tart. The one recipe I can't find online, sorry! But it's in  Issue 6,  which is a great read.  Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Lunch Lady's Walnut, Oat and Beetroot Tart. The one recipe I can't find online, sorry! But it's in Issue 6, which is a great read. Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

  Lunch Lady 's  quinoa brittle , just out of the oven. I'm looking forward to trying some other recipes next - this  quinoa crunch , these  quinoa snack bars  and  peanut butter quinoa crunch .  Photo by Susan Fitzgerald.

Lunch Lady's quinoa brittle, just out of the oven. I'm looking forward to trying some other recipes next - this quinoa crunch, these quinoa snack bars and peanut butter quinoa crunchPhoto by Susan Fitzgerald.

This pumpkin, lentil and kale bake with cauliflower cheese from My Darling Lemon Thyme is sooo delicious.

This rich carrot soup recipe from The Guardian is simple and so amazingly vibrant in colour.

This roasted pumpkin soup with chickpea migas, also from My Darling Lemon Thyme, is hearty and filling and you'll have to stop yourself from eating all the crouton-like migas in one sitting.

This Persian red lentil soup with tahini, beetroot and fried mint from Gourmet Traveller is flavoursome, hearty and tastes even better the next day.

Cauliflower rice - is it the best thing ever!? It's so easy to cook and is tasty, healthy and filling. You just grate or food process raw cauliflower and fry up with whatever you've got on hand -  some spices, olive oil, salt and pepper. 

Now I'm off to pretend I'm warm and on holidays in the sun.

Hand Painted Pillowcase

I've been working on lots of new ideas lately, but was getting frustrated with having nothing to show for it. What I needed was a quick crafty project that produced a real-life thing that day, not next week or next month. So I dug up a blank pillowcase from the pile I've got in my studio, pulled out all my favourite custom-mixed screenprinting inks and painted directly onto the pillowcase and here's what I came up with. It's kind of full-on in terms of pattern/colour craziness but was so so fun and took no time at all. And I kind of like the fact that some of the ink colours bled a bit at the edges, to give a gradient of colour. 

Happy Monday to you.


I'm having a very drawing-y week, trying to get some recent and super old ideas refined. And I should clarify, when I say 'refined' I mean more like how I see them in my head, rather than more polished or professional looking. Because I like my work to be raw and real and sometimes sketchy, just like my favourite music and my favourite people :) This afternoon's task was redrawing (as in with pens) and scanning and recolouring a picture I did a while ago - all the combs of my childhood. So many memories in a comb! I think I used to study them and the shapes of some of them are etched in my mind. Here they are, and maybe one day soon they'll be an art print.

Happy Thursday!