the photos: wandering window displays (part two, melbourne)...

the first wandering window display: Coventry Bookstore in Melbourne Many many months ago, way back when I was writing My Heart Wanders, I thought about what it would be like to finish the book, and what I'd like to do to celebrate the book's release into the big wide world.  I dreamed up a rather wild idea - I wanted to go and visit various boutiques and bookstores, creating a 'wandering window display' in their windows, inspired by the fun I had making the window displays in Paris and Amsterdam. I liked the idea of these window displays just popping up around the city, randomly, with quotes from within my book, with images and ideas that I explore in the book taking form in '3d' within a shop window. I thought that I'd get a resounding 'no' from my publisher when I proposed my wild idea during a meeting earlier this year. Instead, I received a booming 'yes!' from everyone in the conference room, I couldn't quite believe it. Then I was lucky enough to be teamed up with book publicist Ashlea Wallington, who  - as I mentioned in my Melbourne post - loves getting crafty, and doesn't mind the challenge of an untraditional author like myself.

To Ashlea and my delight, lots of boutiques and bookstores put up their hands for a wandering display, and so I've been busy every week throughout the month of May, creating my wandering displays. The first window I created was on May 1st in Melbourne, at Coventry Bookstore...

me having fun making the display, photos by ashlea wallington

Would you like to know a little of the process of making the displays? As you guys already know, I like to use what I have. So it's probably no surprise that my inspiration for the window displays came when I was unpacking the boxes that arrived from Amsterdam a month ago. Everything in the boxes was wrapped in recycled packing paper. It was not too thick but not too thin. It was pliable and looked as good all scrunched up as it did all smooth and flat. Without thinking much about it, I'd begun collecting the paper - flattening out each sheet and putting it in a pile on the lounge room floor. Soon there was a huge stack of paper, and I was inspired by the layered edges. They reminded me, somehow, of flowers. And then I thought, perhaps I can make paper flowers? So that's what I did - I began making paper flowers by tightly gathering small pieces of the paper, bundling them together and tying them with string. I loved the effect, so over many days and nights, I made hundreds of paper flowers for the window displays...

I made this origami boat out of brown paper gift wrap, a diary page from My Heart Wanders as the sail, paper flowers and some ribbon with my name on it

Then, because my journey in the book begins in autumn of 2006, I wanted to create autumnal scenes for the displays. So with this in mind I began forming my ideas, while looking around my surroundings for inspiration & things I could use. My friend Jenni came over one day and made a beautiful brown paper wreath using a big roll of brown paper I'd kept from my shop days. You can see the wreath in its full glory in that first photo in the window of Coventry Bookstore. Jenni also made the heart garlands and gorgeous little paper books which I combined with some of favourite spreads from within My Heart Wanders...

Ashlea and I had a ball creating this first window display. And at the end, I wrote this on the window...

"four years ago something very peculiar happened. My heart wandered."

The leaves and flowers that we used in the displays in Melbourne were supplied by In Full Bloom - a beautiful florist just around the corner from Coventry. They were closed the day we were making the displays, so they dropped off a big bundle of floral props including hydrangeas and birch branches for me at the bookstore the day before. Thank you In Full Bloom! I had a peek in your window while in the neighbourhood, inspirational indeed...

Our next stop was Avenue Bookstore in Albert Park. They had quite a different window - it was tall and skinny, and had a lovely wooden cabinet for book displays. Ashlea and I stripped the cabinet bare and began assembling little vignettes in each cubby hole...

...using hydrangeas, paper flowers, book pages and birch branches...

It started to get dark quite quickly outside, but it didn't deter us, though it made it more difficult to take photos of the process...

By the time we finished it was night! And we had a plane to catch back to Sydney. But before I left the store I drew a whimsical (as a lovely customer called it) tree on the window out the front, and signed some books. A week later the staff at Avenue called Ashlea to say they've had a fabulous response to the window display and had sold lots of books. That, I love...

Thank you Coventry and Avenue for lending me your windows to play in! A big thank you to Ashlea for all her help and making my weekend in Melbourne wonderful, to In Full Bloom for supplying such beautiful floral pieces, and thank you to Jenni for helping me make the paper props. Oh what fun we had. Next up: wandering window displays in Sydney...