I discovered Spin Spin Screen printed textiles back in 2010. Since then I’ve purchased and stashed away the beautiful fabrics created by Susan, designer and screen-printer behind Spin Spin store. I watched Susan as she embarked on her journey as a ceramic artist and has been admiring her beautiful creations from clay. It always fascinates me when designers start working with a different material and how their style translates into the new creations made from it.
I hope you’ll enjoy reading this interview as much as I did when I received in my inbox.
My background is in multimedia and graphic design and I started screen printing nearly 10 years ago, as a way to get away from the computer and start working on real, tactile things. In the last couple of years I’ve also started working on a small range of ceramic products – planters, mugs, jewellery, spoons and a few other things. I really love working with clay!
I’m into bold patterns, simple colour palettes, bright and monochrome, natural textiles, minimalism, organised chaos, textures, classic fashion, black ink on white paper and so much more. I love walking around my neighbourhood with my dog, drinking tea, hanging out with my boyfriend on my one day off, sewing my own clothes (though I never have much time for this), reading non-fiction, watching documentaries and even seeing my friends and family occasionally!
What do you find the most challenging in running your own business?
Finding time to do everything. When you run your own business solo you’ve got to be able to multitask all the time but I’m no good with sticking to a rigid schedule. Plus I do other work, so I’m juggling that as well. I tend to have a working digital to-do list and then a paper list in front of me, with the most important to-dos. Sometimes it takes a little while to get to things (like answering these questions, sorry about that!) but I generally get there in the end.
I’m an Instagram tragic. I’m a visual person so never really got into Twitter, but can spend waaay too long scrolling through days of Instagram posts. There’s something about the intimacy of it – lots of makers/creatives use it to show behind-the-scenes snippets of their business – and the fact that you can have a direct conversation and build relationships with your followers and those you follow. Plus, you get to see endless pretty pictures and develop a gallery of your own work.
Do you have any tips for small business owners who just started using Instagram?
Focus on building connections, not blindly building follower numbers. You’re much better off having a small, engaged group of followers that grows organically than having a huge number who are disconnected. Be selective about what you post, make sure the grid of photos works together, spread things out (don’t post 10 things in a row!), post your own photos (it isn’t Pinterest) and keep it real but pretty.
Tell us about your blog and Hello Studio Space project?
What do you write about and what inspired you to write these series?
I’ve been interested in documenting others’ workspaces for a while and about six months ago I decided that even though I’m already time poor, I’m going to make time to work on this project. I also love photography, so this gives me a chance to develop my skills. The plan is to visit a different studio every month and document it through photography and an interview with the artist/creative person. I plan to visit a range of different types of spaces and creatives. So far I’ve been to Madeleine Stamer’s custom built, freestanding, adorable home-based studio, Like Butter’s huge industrial workspace, Spenceroni’s shared open plan studio and more. The most rewarding thing about this project has been getting to know the person behind the work – everyone has been so lovely and giving of their time, their personal space and their thoughts. I hope others enjoy taking a look behind the scenes too – so far they seem to.
Getting some new fabric designs out there – that doesn’t happen often enough – and doing a lot more fabric printing. I’m also developing a new range of ceramic jewellery. I’d like to spend more time working on Spin Spin, so need to figure out how I can do that, which might involve some planning, wrangling and a leap of faith. There’s a super exciting collaboration that is in the works, more to be revealed soon (involving my ceramic work). And a trip to Japan, my first visit, which I’m really excited about. It will be very inspiring, I’m sure. I’d also love to have room for a bigger printing table and a kiln but that might have to wait!