Hills in colour

hills in colour

Post by Shelley Krycer.

I had the idea for this curated colouring-in set for all ages featuring artists’ work about six or seven years ago. For me this is a nice reminder to feel ok about not realising all the ideas I have just as I dream them up. The good ideas will still be exciting to work on later down the track. It can take time for all the right elements to come together and to find the right people to work with! Creating this set with visual artist Emma Johnson allowed us to transform this concept into reality. Our different strengths complement each other and it’s been great working with a like-minded creative.

Hills In Colour (Just Add Colour) is about rethinking how we engage with artworks. It brings together ten black and white artworks by ten artists from the hills printed on beautiful loose-leaf fine art paper. Rarely, if ever, do we have the opportunity to take an original work of art on lovely paper and make it our own. It gets us really looking at it and noticing what it is the artist has done to make it just so unique and beautiful in a way that isn’t really possible without pencil in hand! And since they’re at a standard A4 size, these artistic collaborations could find happy homes in frames as well as on fridges.

Emma and I had a really fun time selecting works that relate to each other yet feature a range of different styles that reflect what is happening in the Dandenongs artistically. We imagine groups of people of all ages sitting around together colouring in different artworks. The back page gives you bios and the website details for all the artists included in the set, so if you like their work, you can see what else they’ve been doing.

EJ and SK-1

As an artist myself, I often have people tell me that the art activity they miss the most is colouring in…. and that they secretly pick up kids colouring-in books to get their fix. With the elegant, playful, beautiful works in this set, I think this might help secret colouring-in-ers colour loudly and proudly. The secret is out!

Hills In Colour (Just Add Colour) is available for sale for $10.

Stockists so far include:
London Art Company, 1660 Burwood Highway, Belgrave,
Limerence, 2/1642 Burwood Higway, Belgrave
Burrinja, Crn Glenfern Road and Matson Drive, Upwey
Mountain Ash, 1536 Mt Dandenong Tourist Road, Olinda
Ripe, 376 Mt Dandenong Tourist Rd, Sassafras
Lululoft, Shop 4, 47 -53 Olinda  Monbulk Rd, Olinda
Kallista Tea Rooms, 103 Monbulk Rd, Kallista

They’ll also be available at the Forest Picnic market stall at End Of The Line festival Nov 30th in Belgrave
Online shop will soon be available at the (not quite fully set up yet facebook page) www.facebook.com/justaddcolouraustralia
We’d love you to colour and share at our facebook page too!

“Is honesty the best policy?”

Post by Zoë-Amber Preston.

Abandoned honesty shop caravan

Having grown up in the Dandenong Ranges, I often find myself surrounded by kind-hearted, honest people. As you drive along our rolling hills you may notice that there are those who share their home-grown goods with love and trust by using the ‘honesty box’ system. An honesty box allows you to take part in a community tradition of sharing. It is also a unique opportunity to try out local food; free of chemicals and filled with love.

A few weekends ago, my Dad and I explored the lovely streets of the hills looking for honesty boxes. We had some trouble at first, because a few of the boxes that had been recommended to us had been abandoned. I wondered what had caused them to close. Was this the result of thievery or troubles looking after the store, or perhaps the change in seasons or environment had prompted their closing.

After stopping for lunch in Emerald we hit the road again with great determination. We were pleasantly surprised to find plenty of honesty boxes that people have spent so much time looking after. To me, honesty boxes really reflect the feeling of spring. I love the sunny weather, bright colours, and fantastic feeling when you buy a bunch of flowers or a delicious treat that was made by the local community.

Sweet eez oranges

Hancock’s Daffodils

I chose to photograph honesty boxes because they are something that people don’t often take notice of.  Seeing one on the side of the road always makes me curious to see what is being sold. I thought it would be a good opportunity to discover more of the hills and appreciate how some people put so much of their time into them. Dad and I had a fantastic day exploring the hills and finding out more about our charming community!


Zoë-Amber Preston is a creative young artist and writer living in the hills. She has had an article published in Hillscene magazine and spends a lot of her time drawing and taking photos in her lovely forest home.

To see some of her art visit her Facebook page: Zoe Amber Photography and Drawing

Glengower farm

Revitalising the Oromo Language | the power of stories

Blog Post by Zac Exner from Burrinja.

Earlier this year I was lucky enough to be involved in a film shoot which captured an incredibly moving story around community/cultural ties and the power of language to support the development of this enduring community fabric.

I woke early to pick the film maker, Scott Baskett of Legitimate Films, up from Melbourne Airport. I was unaware of the details around the shoot other than the fact we were working with a community leader named Toltu Tufa.  As soon as I met Toltu I was captured by her personal story and the grander story of the Oromo community in Australia and worldwide. Oromo is the 4th most spoken language in Africa, with a community of over 40 Million worldwide and to this day there are little to no educational tools available.


The Oromo language was been kept alive through the determination of a community holding Saturday Schools to verbally pass on the language and culture, I was lucky enough to visit five of these schools over the course on the day. The teachers that donated their time were truly inspiring but the real inspiration was the enthuasim with which the young students connected with the teachers and the content.


Toltu has been instrumental in administering these schools but now Toltu is stepping up to pursue her dream to create educational text books, posters, flash cards and cartoons to help the language be passed on to future generations all over the globe.

Throughout the film shoot I was astounded by the complexities of the issue but was further interested in the power of film/design and well thought out artistic practices; and how they can impact emotionally to start a social movement. This project has come from the community – but it is building a bigger community network which is strongly represented online and in-person. This passion for language feeds culture, community and individual expression allowing for the development of an enlightened generation that is in touch with the past and looks to the future.


Toltu has utilised many means to communicate her story including film, design and photography to develop a strong story to engage and mobilise a community. This was felt by the filmmaker Scott Baskett. “Having the opportunity to help tell Toltu’s Story has been an absolute privilege……. Film is a truly powerful medium and this is one project which reminds me of such power. It really shows what a well-timed clip, combined with a passionate leader can do.”

To learn more about the Afaan Publications project and the Oromo community visit www.afaan.com.au

To support Toltu’s campaign you can make a pledge through Pozible www.pozible.com/project/174432/0