My Artist's Retreat in the making, ready to take bookings...

...my artist's impression of of my artist's hideaway in Balmain.  

...my artist's impression of of my artist's hideaway in Balmain.  

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For those who follow me on instagram, you'd know that a few weeks ago I embarked on a new, wonderful adventure, sharing with you a bare space in the midst of being transformed into my artist's retreat. It's a one bedroom apartment in the heart of Balmain: a minute walk to the ferry to get into the city, and a minute to Darling St, the main shopping street.

It's something I wasn't planning to do at all, but as happens with following my heart, things don't make sense in the moment, but I now see it was leading to this sweet abode all the while...

I had been looking at artist studio spaces over the last couple of years- spaces that were part of large artist communities, and as much as I loved the idea of sharing an artists space and being among other artists, it never felt right for me - I couldn't imagine myself in any of the spaces, no matter how much I loved them or the artists I'd be working alongside. 

Then, just out of the blue, with no clear reasoning whatsoever, I got a feeling to look at some one bedroom apartments in the area. I looked at three, and this one - this one, had it.  Housed in a humble 1980's white brick building, tucked away from the street, with a tiny galley kitchen and bathroom off the bedroom tiled in slate, it simply sang to me. The energy of the space is beautiful and serene and so open to creative flow. I felt the magic of it coarse through my veins and couldn't stop feeling all it will be - to me, to my work, to my new mentoring clients and their work.

So over the past couple of weeks, I've been hanging out there when I can, spending time listening, observing, and feeling, letting the ideas flow, and in the next couple of weeks I'll be shaping it into a fully immersive, multi-disciplined creative space...

Two ESSENTIALS that I had to claim for the new space from Drunk on the Moon, my go-to vintage treasure stop in Newtown: an artist's stool and an anchor. The significance of the anchor will be explained in time :)

Two ESSENTIALS that I had to claim for the new space from Drunk on the Moon, my go-to vintage treasure stop in Newtown: an artist's stool and an anchor. The significance of the anchor will be explained in time :)

Gathering flora (and weeds!) from around the neighbourhood, as I get to know the surrounds and bring nature in to inspire... 

Gathering flora (and weeds!) from around the neighbourhood, as I get to know the surrounds and bring nature in to inspire... 

The space in its beginning phase. 

The space in its beginning phase. 

And, with only a couple of weeks away from being ready,  it's with absolute delight that I am now taking bookings for my personal artist’s hideaway in Sydney!

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This is a truly unique opportunity to step into my world; into the world of My Heart Wanders

Spend two nights fully immersed in your creative genius, with all access to my multi-disciplined space, as well as one-on-one mentoring sessions with me throughout your stay.

My mentoring clients around the world are currently writing books they never knew they could, making art they never thought they would, and most importantly they are doing so ignited by their own fire, which, through my unique approach, they’ve learnt how to feed and cherish, never wanting to let it turn to ash again.

Please note: As many of you know, I don’t muck around. Once you book your time with me, you open the doorway to your creative calling. And I need to make this clear: This is not creativity as a hobby. This is not creativity as a side project; this is creativity as your calling.

As a prolific author, photographer and visual storyteller, my work has been featured in dozens of magazines and books across the globe over the last decade. I am an artist and I’ve never been starving. Every day I make room to ripen; every day I’m in an alchemical state.

And, now and then, my creativity erupts to make something wonderful that resonates with thousands of people across the globe

I live the creative life, the heart-led life. I am the real deal. I go against the grain. I’ve stood in front of my fears, time and time again and moved through those fears, time and time again. I am an artist, I play by my own rules. I am authentic. Passionate. And I’m living it – there is no pretence. There is no bullshit. My work is tangible. I am visible. I live my truth.

And when we work together, you & your authentic work will come through quickly and become visible too, so you need to be ready & willing: it's simply how powerful our connection is, and when you're open, it will flow. 

Bookings are now open for November and December. There are limited spots, and it's by application only.

Two magical choices:

1.     I welcome you into my artist's hideaway, and then leave you to your creative self to finish off a project you’ve urgently needed to – providing a nurturing and artistically supportive space, plus access to me when you get stuck!

2.     I mentor you 1-1 during your stay in my space – this is powerful, transformative work; identifying your creative calling and showing your how to make it a reality!

There are going to be lots of wonderful, personal touches to this experience - this is not simply booking a couple of nights accomodation in Sydney, this is opening yourself to YOU. It is a transformative experience that is completely unique and exclusive... 

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For more information, please click here

Vivent Les Artistes mes amis, Vivent Les Artistes! 

xx

Happi.Kidz photo feature...

...clear quartz crystal mobile made by me; beautiful chunks of tangerine quartz sourced from Mineralism in Glebe. 

...clear quartz crystal mobile made by me; beautiful chunks of tangerine quartz sourced from Mineralism in Glebe. 

In June this year I was commissioned to create another story for Happinez magazine, this time for their children's edition called Happi Kidz. The brief was to create eight images to show the benefits of various crystals for children. I came up with a few ideas, drew up a storyboard, ran it by Albertine via email - the image editor for the magazine - and then got to work bringing my ideas to life. The magazine was published last month, and it's a delight to know that my hero shot of gorgeous first time model Freya, was chosen for the cover...

...garnet necklace made by me, using Tinctifolia hand-dyed silk ribbon. 

...garnet necklace made by me, using Tinctifolia hand-dyed silk ribbon. 

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My dear friend Kaspia assisted me on the day, offering not only her talents as a stylist but also props from her incredible collection, including clothes & textiles from far away lands. Freya, who is half Norwegian and half Australia was my gorgeous model for the day - it was her first time modelling and she was amazing. Freya is Kaspia's niece, and along with her lovely mum Ragna, and Kaspia's eldest daughter Paloma, we had a great day on set in my home...

...aquamarine talking stick made by me; pouch for the jade fish made by Zoë from Tinctifolia. 

...aquamarine talking stick made by me; pouch for the jade fish made by Zoë from Tinctifolia

...stunning lapis lazuli sourced from Mineralism, Glebe. 

...stunning lapis lazuli sourced from Mineralism, Glebe. 

Here are a couple of the behind the scene shots for you as I know many of you love to see how I work...

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The dining table was removed to make room for the set, the light in this part of the house is beautiful. 

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The magazine is out now in Holland. I'll post some more behind the scenes shots on instagram in coming days. Thank you to Kaspia, Ragna, Freya and Paloma for your wonderful assistance and for helping to make the day so pleasurable. If you'd like to see my past work with Happinez, please click here

xx

Credits:

Producer, Photographer & Stylist: Pia Jane Bijkerk
Photographer & Stylist's Assistant: Kaspia
Props from Major & Tom, Mineralism, Kaspia's Caravan, Tinctifolia
Model: Freya Gilmour


 

old habits die hard...

The other day I was scrolling through the archives on my old Wordpress blog (which I miss! and am thinking of switching back because I'm having a number of issues with squarespace, let me know your thoughts about it) looking for images I couldn’t locate in files on my computer.  I found them, and so much more.

While scrolling through, I came across a post I wrote back in 2014 called ‘being enough’. And even though so much has changed, I realised I am still resonating strongly with what I wrote, three years later.  I know there are many layers of release, and that even though I’ve become aware of something, it doesn’t mean it completely dissolves. In this case, I am no longer questioning my ability or inability to do the laundry (progress!), but I have understood in recent days that this feeling of not being enough runs deep. That it is in fact at the very core of my being. And on further reflection, I’ve become aware that it runs even deeper… that what I am feeling and tuning in to is universal: It is at the core of being.

In my observations - and social media is wonderful for this, if nothing else! - it’s become clear that every move we make, every breath we take (thank you, Sting)  and everything we choose to post online is almost always in direct response to our belief that we are not enough as we are and where we are in our lives.

It’s epic. And I’d go further to say it’s an epidemic. And then even further to wonder, is it in fact the epicenter of dis-ease?

And with this I can see a direct connection between our obsession with money and this core belief. That everything in our lives has become part of this emotionally charged economic system – from the moment we are birthed, to the moment we die. Think about that for a moment. It’s insanity. And yet it’s our reality. And I wonder, which came first – did the economic system develop, which then created this core belief, or was the core belief there to start with which created the economic system to feed it? The idea of not having a monetary system has been explored and pondered in various ways.  But for a moment, with the understanding of this belief being at the center of it all, imagine our lives without feeling not good enough fuelling this system, what would life be like day to day? I suppose it’s why I am so drawn to the strengthening of intuition, because I sense the urgency for it. Would the feeling of not being enough remain as strong if we lived more intuitively? Would the economic system remain the same if we made more intuitive choices? Perhaps it would be transformed into something new.  

Not feeling good enough feeds fear. Fear feeds our lifestyle choices. Our lifestyle choices feed banks and corporations. Banks and corporations feed war. War feeds fear. And so tells the story of our lives...

Xx

I’d love to hear your thoughts. And for the original ‘being enough' post, complete with lovely photographs of our life with chickens some years ago, please click here.

The Alchemy of Assemblage Workshops 2017

Last year I held my first ever workshop, in the beautiful antique & restoration warehouse, Elements I Love, located here in my neighbourhood in Sydney. It was a collaborative workshop with owner Brooke, who shared her fabulous expertise on woodwork finishing while I guided participants to connecting with their unique creative flow as they each made their own assemblage boards. It was great fun,  and the energy in the room was magnetic.

After some wonderful feedback and several consultations with a workshop specialist over the past months, I have designed & redefined The Alchemy of Assemblage into something delightfully unique & I cannot wait to share it with you! So without further delay, I am thrilled to announce  I have two exclusive & intimate workshops to be held at Elements I Love next month (and two to be held in Amsterdam in September, which I'll share the details of in a moment!).

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The first one coming up is a weekend workshop, spread over 2 days - from 11-4pm on August 26 & 27, 2017. Join me for a rare opportunity to spend 10 hours together learning how to connect with your intuition to unlock your own unique style and journey toward finding the beauty & magic in your everyday.  With a limit of just 6 participants so I can genuinely connect to each person, this unique workshop is a life-enriching experience that reaches heart & soul. 

On Day One, you’ll acquire the knowledge to create your own distinctive piece of personal art on wood using a collection of elements you love. Through the process of creating your own assemblage board (collage on wood), I will guide you on how to recognise and follow your intuition, allowing your creative spirit to flow freely - a technique you’ll be able to practice and strengthen over time. I will help you discover how to approach a creative project by guiding you through making your own beautiful and evocative collage: it will be like learning to bring to life one of the pages from My Heart Wanders but even more wonderful - this will be your very own. 

We'll enjoy a delicious & nourishing French-inspired lunch with champagne surrounded by incredible antiques from all over the world and have the chance to talk in more depth about creative blocks and how to work through them. 

On Day Two, you'll have the opportunity to practice what you've learnt from Day One and take it one step further by creating your own styled vignette with selected objects from the beautiful Elements I Love collection. Through the styling of your own vignette in a supportive, nurturing and captivating environment, learn how to get in touch with your intuition and work with your creativity to find beauty in the everyday.

This is where you'll learn my creative principles which I apply to styling & photographing for clients as well as magazine and publishing shoots.

After another delicious lunch together and more time to deepen your intuitive connection, you'll be ready to head home feeling empowered, nurtured and with joy in your heart.  You'll have gained confidence in your creative abilities and be inspired to nurture and grow your heart connection in a new and magical way. 

Here are the dates and details for the Sydney Weekend Workshop:

Date: Saturday and Sunday, August 26 & 27, 2017

Time: 11-4pm on Saturday August 26 & 11-4pm on Sunday August 27. 

Location: Elements I Love, 124 James St Leichhardt.

Price: $800

Learn: how to approach a creative concept and learn skills that will enable you to craft other assemblages.  Gain insight & knowledge into the thought process behind creative and artistic projects whilst learning the stylist’s trade techniques that make it happen.

Bring: (optional) one or two mementos from home that represent a moment, a place, a time, a memory or a person you love. For example: a photograph, a scrap of fabric, a piece of leather or similar, an old letter or card, a ticket etc. 

Supplied: boards and materials, beautiful organic teas & coffee, lunch (please inform us if you have any dietary requirements), champagne and afternoon tea. 

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The second Sydney workshop is a single day workshop, incorporating everything from Day One of the weekend workshop, here are the details:

Date: Saturday July 22, 2017

Time: 11-4pm 

Location: Elements I Love, 124 James St, Leichhardt, Sydney, Australia

Price: $400

Learn: how to approach a creative concept and learn skills that will enable you to craft other assemblages.  Gain insight & knowledge into the thought process behind creative and artistic projects.

Bring: (optional) one or two mementos from home that represent a moment, a place, a time, a memory or a person you love. For example: a photograph, a scrap of fabric, a piece of leather or similar, an old letter or card, a ticket etc. 

Supplied: boards and materials, beautiful organic teas & coffee, lunch (please inform us if you have any dietary requirements), champagne and afternoon tea. 

There are only 6 places available for each, you can click on the link below to learn more and book your place...

Now for the details about Amsterdam...

Yes! Very excited to share with you my friend Leslie's incredible studio in Amsterdam for these workshops. All the details are as above, but they will be held at Swarm: Leslie Oschmann's wonderful world of making. Being an artist hermit (like myself, we are alike in that way :), this is definitely a rare opportunity! Here are the details...

Amsterdam Weekend Workshop:

Date: Saturday and Sunday, September 9 & 10, 2017

Time: 11-4pm on Saturday September 9 & 11-4pm on Sunday September 10.

Location: Swarm, Vereniging De Loods, Zeeburgereiland, Amsterdam

Price: $885AUS (600 euros)

Learn: how to approach a creative concept and learn skills that will enable you to craft other assemblages.  Gain insight & knowledge into the thought process behind creative and artistic projects whilst learning the stylist’s trade techniques that make it happen.

Bring: (optional) one or two mementos from home that represent a moment, a place, a time, a memory or a person you love. For example: a photograph, a scrap of fabric, a piece of leather or similar, an old letter or card, a ticket etc. 

Supplied: boards and materials, beautiful organic teas & coffee, lunch (please inform us if you have any dietary requirements), champagne and afternoon tea. 

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Amsterdam Single Day Workshop:

Date: Friday, September 8, 2017

Time: 11-4pm

Location: Swarm, Vereniging De Loods, Zeeburgereiland, Amsterdam

Price: $445AUS (300 euros)

Learn: how to approach a creative concept and learn skills that will enable you to craft other assemblages.  Gain insight & knowledge into the thought process behind creative and artistic projects.

Bring: (optional) one or two mementos from home that represent a moment, a place, a time, a memory or a person you love. For example: a photograph, a scrap of fabric, a piece of leather or similar, an old letter or card, a ticket etc. 

Supplied: boards and materials, beautiful organic teas & coffee, lunch (please inform us if you have any dietary requirements), champagne and afternoon tea. 

For more info, follow the link below...

If you have any questions at all, please send me an email.

With love, 

Pia xx

STUDIO book cover

I was informed by a friend the other day that one of my photographs of Leslie Oschmann's Amsterdam studio Swarm has become the cover for Sally Coulthard's new book called Studio: creative spaces for creative people. Leslie's studio is not featured within the book, so for those who bought the book hoping to see more of the space featured on the cover, here are more of my photographs of Leslie's incredible space...

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I met Leslie when I was living in Amsterdam and was researching for my book Amsterdam: Made by Hand. It was a joy to photograph her home and studio, it remains to be one of the most inspiring places I've ever had the pleasure of spending time in...

There are plenty more photographs which I will be sharing in my stock media room soon, for publishers interested in seeing the full story of images, please feel free to email me in the meantime. 

Leslie has since moved to a new studio in Amsterdam, and I had the pleasure of visiting with my daughter last July, and yes, I took lots of photographs! I'll share these with you soon too.

Also in exciting news, I'm about to reveal my next workshop dates - one of which will be in Amsterdam, in Leslie's new studio. I can't wait to share the details with you. 

xx

Mentoring...

One of the most rewarding new features of my work these past two years has been becoming a creative mentor.

When I was growing up & forming the foundations of my own career in the arts, I didn't have a mentor.  I didn't have access to anyone around me who was an artist.  And while attending university some 20 years ago now, I started observing the journeys of my fellow students and got the sense that life as an artist could be a little less of a struggle with a mentor. Some students had a parent who was a working artist, or an aunt, or uncle, or family friend or they came from a long lineage of creative professionals. I found this intriguing. Imagine being able to call upon that person when you were blocked or needed some support, and heard wise & nurturing words from someone who just 'got it'? Imagine having someone in your life that you didn't have to explain or defend your creative leanings? Could it be possible to be an artist and feel supported rather than be in conflict with your life choices?! These were my wonderings.

...Amsterdam, 2010, writing the manuscript for My Heart Wanders ....................................................................

...Amsterdam, 2010, writing the manuscript for My Heart Wanders

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mentor ˈmɛntɔː/ noun : an experienced and trusted adviser and supporter.

It's incredible to now be in the position in my life to be a mentor - the very person I longed for in my early creative exploration. I work the mentoring and consulting around my projects - each week I am producing photographic stories, working on my upcoming books or developing and hosting workshops.  Today I am able to support creative beings during their processing, help explore and dissolve their blocks, and nurture them through their artistic endeavours: It's such an honour. 

One of the very first client consultations I had was back in 2014 with creative entrepreneur extraordinaire Beth Kempton. Beth disclosed her then-secret book project to me and needed some advise on book pitching and publishing. I was able to help her in those early stages, and today, she launches that very book in London through Hay House Publishing. It's called Freedom Seeker. I've written a little about it on Instagram, and there are some sneak peeks of the beautiful & thoughtful package she sent me in my insta story. I'll be posting about it here soon in my journal, along with the piece she wrote in her book about my own journey to freedom. I'm so thrilled for Beth and feel so much appreciation for being able to support and help her realise her publishing dream. 

Without disclosing too much about my current mentoring clients projects (I've always been a great secret keeper!), some of them are embarking on amazing artistic adventures like visual book publishing, becoming professional photographers, creating online art portfolios that truly represent their style and encompasses all their various talents, and working toward their first art exhibitions. 

If you'd like me to mentor you this year to help activate your creative flow you can click here to book & find out more information about what I can offer you. The package is 3 hours which can be taken as an intensive one-on-one - like a personal workshop - or it can be split into 3 one-hour sessions over a period of 1-3 months. My goal is to see your work realised, so I will be able to assess what you need and tailor the sessions to meet those needs. You can book another package or we can create a tailored mentoring package to suit your long term goals. There are also one hour creative consultations available. 

I'd love to support you in your creative life! Send me an email or comment below if you have any questions about the process. 

Vivent les artistes!!!

xx

photo story for Christmas edition of Happinez 2016...

1. "let me take you for a walk through my favourite neighbourhood": hand drawn map of Amsterdam (which I made a few years ago for my Amsterdam: Made By Hand tour, antique French book from our bookshelf, gold fabric from Major & Tom. 2. "a wander on the beach": Bottle from Major & Tom, as well as gold scalloped dish, made by beautiful Bridget Bodenham. ..............................................

1. "let me take you for a walk through my favourite neighbourhood": hand drawn map of Amsterdam (which I made a few years ago for my Amsterdam: Made By Hand tour, antique French book from our bookshelf, gold fabric from Major & Tom. 2. "a wander on the beach": Bottle from Major & Tom, as well as gold scalloped dish, made by beautiful Bridget Bodenham.

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3. "I'll be your Marie Kondo for the day": everything found around my home - fallen bark from a nearby tree, found feathers, and beautiful velvet lined box gifted to me by an Alchemy of Assemblage workshop attendee. 4. "I'll knit you something warm this winter": wool bought in British Columbia many years ago, tiny knitting needles found in a vintage shop on King St, Newtown, blue silk fabric given to me by my friend Kaspia.  ..............................................

3. "I'll be your Marie Kondo for the day": everything found around my home - fallen bark from a nearby tree, found feathers, and beautiful velvet lined box gifted to me by an Alchemy of Assemblage workshop attendee. 4. "I'll knit you something warm this winter": wool bought in British Columbia many years ago, tiny knitting needles found in a vintage shop on King St, Newtown, blue silk fabric given to me by my friend Kaspia

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In September last year, I produced, styled and photographed an 8-page feature for Dutch magazine Happinez, for their Christmas edition, 2016, issue 8. It was titled "What money can't buy", featuring non-traditional gift ideas for the festive season. The brief was to come up with some gift ideas that celebrate sharing time together and offering a skill, rather than going out and buying something. As you can imagine, I was pretty rapt with this assignment: challenge accepted!

Would you like to know a little about how I made these assemblages?

5. "I'll plant you a rose garden": back boards from Major & Tom, hand dyed silk ribbon from Tinctifolia, and tiny French pots from Elements I Love . 6. "I'll make you some healing soup": sari from Malaysia (details below), hemp string from String Harvest. ..............................................

5. "I'll plant you a rose garden": back boards from Major & Tom, hand dyed silk ribbon from Tinctifolia, and tiny French pots from Elements I Love . 6. "I'll make you some healing soup": sari from Malaysia (details below), hemp string from String Harvest.

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Together with the Creative Editor, I came up with some ideas and then had to figure out how to visually capture them. For example, one idea was to gift a walk on a favourite beach together. When I thought about that idea, I began to visualise a beach in a bottle, so I created just that, using a small bottle, some sand, tiny shells and a little sparkle (shown in the top right image). The layering of the objects around the bottle created depth and warmth, and I used gold threaded fabric and ceramics for texture and a touch of festivity. That was the first photograph I made from the story, as in my mind it was the strongest, but it also took the longest to create (3 hours). 

Another gift idea was to make some delicious festive soup, but instead of creating an image of a bowl or pot of soup, I decided to bundle the ingredients together, giving a textural feast for the eyes (image 6). I deconstructed a variety of fresh mushrooms from the supermarket, choosing the most interesting ones and creating a bundle with fresh herbs and watercress, wrapped with string and bells. The sari used as the backdrop for the ingredients I had bought in Malaysia many years ago when I was a bridesmaid for a modern Malay wedding. 

7. "Private concert": Gold textile from Major & Tom, Indian festive circles from India in Balmain, music sheet from my personal collection. 8. A beautiful mess. ..............................................

7. "Private concert": Gold textile from Major & Tom, Indian festive circles from India in Balmain, music sheet from my personal collection. 8. A beautiful mess.

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Below each image is more information about each photograph, with links to wonderful prop suppliers and makers here in Sydney. And if you'd like to see a behind the scenes mini film of me in the process of making one of the photographs, you can see it right here

9. "I'll come to clean up your decorations": box of decorations from my personal collection, with collected seed pods dipped in glitter, vintage baubles, and an assortment of ceramic stars by Paper Boat Press. 10. vintage sari as above.

9. "I'll come to clean up your decorations": box of decorations from my personal collection, with collected seed pods dipped in glitter, vintage baubles, and an assortment of ceramic stars by Paper Boat Press. 10. vintage sari as above.

Would you like to learn how I create assemblages like these? This year I am scheduling a few exclusive and very intimate weekend workshops to share my techniques with you, connecting to our intuition. In the next couple of weeks I'll be announcing the dates, first through my newsletter to allow subscribers to get first choice with early bird specials, then publicly. There will only be 6 places available per workshop, so if you'd like to be first in line to book your preferred date, please ensure you have subscribed

And if you have any questions, please comment below! xx