When I first moved to Paris in 2007 I began documenting my creative journey on my self-titled blog. Back then I was enraptured by this medium that enabled me to connect with other like-minded souls, electrified to discover people in hidden away pockets of the world who reached out through my blog, passionate about nature, real life, beauty, truth and humanity like me. I had photographed & penned an article about Parisian artisans, sharing a little about it on my blog. Other wonderful souls blogged about it as well and soon after I was contacted by The Little Bookroom, a US publisher asking if I'd be interested to expand the article into a very special guide book on Paris. This became my first book, Paris: Made by Hand. At the same time I relocated to Amsterdam, The Netherlands with my French partner Romain, into a quaint and quirky houseboat in the centre of the old city. Then came my second book Amsterdam: Made by Hand and not long after came my highly illustrated travel memoir, My Heart Wanders, which captured the essence of it all. Within those years my blog (now called ‘journal’ because I never liked the word blog!) became popular in the design blogging world and I am forever grateful to it and its devoted readers for being the catalyst for becoming a published author.
In 2011, upon the release of My Heart Wanders, we made the heart aching decision to move back to Sydney to be close to my mother who was dying from an incredible 40 year long battle with RA (Rheumatoid Arthritis). The decision to move to Paris in the first place was to give myself the freedom to live for myself, away from the unspoken and expected role as carer for my mum – a role I had carried my whole life, and a detail of my life I had never shared until recently. While back in Sydney I had hoped to have a child while my mother was still alive so they could meet and bond. In 2012, my beautiful daughter Laly was born. I attempted to get back into my creative work and juggle motherhood in 2013 by taking on the mammoth project of being a first time self-publisher of my fourth book Little Treasures: Made by Hand which was successfully funded through crowd-funding, along with accepting to write a monthly column for Australian Country Style magazine. It took a substantial toll on my health. My real life experience wasn't matching up with what I was sharing and projecting to the world and it felt incredibly uncomfortable and 'not me'. So for the following two years I pulled back drastically – reluctantly quitting the magazine after a year of articles, and pulping the remaining unsold copies of Little Treasures so that I could become fully engaged in the intense learning process of becoming a mother while looking after myself and caring for my dying mother. This was my reality and it needed my full attention. On March 16, 2015, my Mum died with her last wish granted: against all odds but true to her determined nature, she managed to stay home and pass quietly, in her bed which looked out among the treetops and down to the calm bay below.
In the days leading up to that moment, as I lay next to mum on her bed, I was flooded with immense gratitude: for life, for love, and for the very experience and courage of being present with her right there and then.
The voyage over these past years has been a wearying and extraordinary one. It has completely transformed me. Becoming a mother and now learning to live without my mother has changed me in ways I never thought possible. It has opened me.
I’m currently on a healing journey filled with creativity, and I’m excited to be sharing it here, with you, in this new, interactive online space, which aligns and resonates with the new, winged me. I’m keen to explore and find that rapture and delight that I first encountered when I began my blog - now journal - a decade ago. Although the medium has changed significantly over the past few years, I want to discover again a raw and real way of connecting and communicating in the face of the overwhelming duplicity that runs rampant. This new web space is the vessel, and it will grow as I grow. Perhaps you would like to hop on board from time to time and join me along the way, you are welcome anytime...
With Love, Pia xx