DUST by Organic Merchant...

Chocolate Nut Muffins  by Organic Merchant, Photographed by Pia J B.

Chocolate Nut Muffins by Organic Merchant, Photographed by Pia J B.

It’s no secret that I’ve been an enthusiast of naturopath Chalimah Jeanne’s organic teas for many years. I first came across her collection when we moved to Sydney in 2011, while wandering through Paddington Markets. Chalimah has such a beautiful energy and incredible wealth of knowledge, and I found myself coming back for more. For those who’ve been around for a while, you might recall I featured her teas in a story I wrote for Country Style back in 2013, and have continued to use her teas over the years for styling projects and as gifts for clients.

PJB_ORGANICMERCHANT_DUST_IMG_6696.jpg

Last year I had the pleasure of collaborating with Chalimah to photograph both her new packaging (you’ll see these sensuous images soon) as well as the recipe cards for her new Dust Collection. Dust is a range of healthy & delicious raw cacao infusions, designed to improve mental focus and physical performance. There are six infusions in the range: Super, Sex, Soothe, Spark, Shine, and Spirit. Each one is designed specifically to enrich the characteristics we need to strengthen within us.

Chalimah wanted to create some beautiful recipe cards that show the many ways you can incorporate the infusions, as they are not only wonderful as warm elixirs but also scrumptious in pancakes, muffins, smoothies and popsicles. So one morning, she made an incredible array of some of her favourite foods and I came with my camera to photograph them all on her long wooden dining table.

Would you like to see some of the photographs? I took many, it was such a beautiful setting. And there was a gorgeous natural coppery light that came through, infusing everything with a warmth and glow. Here are a few of my favourites…

PJB_ORGANICMERCHANT_DUST_IMG_6825_diptych.jpg
PJB_ORGANICMERCHANT_DUST_IMG_6556.jpg
PJB_ORGANICMERCHANT_DUST_IMG_6825_diptych_1.jpg
PJB_ORGANICMERCHANT_DUST_IMG_6494.jpg

Chalimah has been sharing a few of her delicious recipes on instagram and on her website, and I’ve included a few here for you. They are all so yummy…

PJB_ORGANICMERCHANT_DUST_IMG_6597_nourishbowl.jpg

Nourish Bowl…

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buckwheat hulls

  • 2 cups plant mylk

  • 4 heaped tsp DUST infusion of your choice

  • 2 tbsp chia seed/flaxseed

  • 1/2 cup fruit – currants/raisins (optional)

How to assemble:

  1. Combine ingredients into a bowl and soak overnight to allow hulls/seeds to soften.

  2. Once soaked, transfer to saucepan and cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes or until thick and creamy. Add more mylk or water if needed.

  3. Serve into bowls topped with your choice of suggestions from the list below.

Suggestions to add…

  • Grated apple with cinnamon

  • Fresh figs with honey and walnuts

  • Poached pears with vanilla

  • Pomegranate jewels and pistachios

PJB_ORGANICMERCHANT_DUST_IMG_6703_cacaopancakes.jpg

Cacao Pancakes…

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour

  • 4 heaped tsp DUST infusion of your choice

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 2 tbsp coconut sugar (optional)

  • 1 to 1.5 cups plant mylk

How to assemble:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and stir well.

  2. Whisk in mylk to create a batter.

  3. Set stove top to medium and add butter/coconut oil.

  4. Gently pour 1/3 cup of batter into pan using ladle/large spoon to create pancakes roughly the size of an orange.

  5. Flip pancakes over once bubbles have risen on the surface.

  6. Set / stack cooked pancakes on wire rack or plate and continue until batter is finished.

PJB_ORGANICMERCHANT_DUST_IMG_6497_nutmuffins.jpg

Chocolate Nut Muffins…

Dry ingredients:

  • 2 cups buckwheat flour

  • 1 cup ground seed/nut meal

  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar

  • 1/4 cup DUST infusion of your choice

  • 1 tsp bi-carb

Wet ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup plant mylk

  • 2 eggs or chia egg replacement*

  • 2 ripe bananas mashed

  • 1/2 cup hazelnuts/frozen berries

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil/butter melted

*Chia egg replacement = 1 tbsp chia seeds + 3 tbsp of water. Combine and set aside for approx. 10 minutes.

How to assemble:

Preheat oven to 180 ̊C.

  1. In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients and stir well.

  2. In a smaller bowl, combine all the wet ingredients and stir well.

  3. Add wet mixture to the dry ingredients and combine (It’s OK if the mixture is a little lumpy).

  4. Spoon mixture into muffin tray or baking cups.

  5. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

  6. Cool in tray for 5 minutes then transfer to wire rack.

Store in airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. 

PJB_ORGANICMERCHANT_DUST_IMG_6775.jpg

There are more wonderful recipes at Organic Merchant so please head on over, along with more details about the full Dust range and where to purchase them. And Organic Merchant’s instagram is here.

Enjoy!!

With Love,

Pia xx




A Butterfly In My Hair...

Vibeke curates a beautiful blog called A Butterfliy In My Hair, and the other day she shared with me on patreon the you tube video she made to share my piano piece called All This, Yes with her readers. I love it, and so appreciate all the sharing so please have a listen, and head to her beautiful blog for more inspiration. These gentle, quiet worlds in the ether, they truly are gifts that I hope we can all acknowledge and be grateful for, like butterflies they need our full attention in the moment, they are our magic. xx

Amy's Wonder-Walking world in the palm of my hands...

AMYTWON_PIAJANEBIJKERK_2.jpg

In October I wrote about Amy T. Won’s kickstarter campaign to produce her beautiful wonder-walking card deck. It was very successful and Amy was able to get the cards made and all the orders have been sent out - I received mine this week and wow, I knew they’d be amazing but not this amazing!!

AMYTWON_PIAJANEBIJKERK_3.jpg

Amy’s attention to detail is incredible, so I knew the quality of the cards and her watercolours would be nothing short of stunning but I wasn’t prepared for the level she would take it - the box in itself is a work of art, with exquisite gold foiling in all the right places. Amy’s concept with the cards is to connect us to nature (and in doing so, our intuition) in new ways. The idea is to pick a card from the deck before you head out for a walk, and the card, along with Amy’s notes, will trigger new ways of exploring and seeing your surroundings.

Nature needs to be at the centre of all our attentions these days and I am all for enabling pathways for people to make connections any way they can. This deck for me, is an incredibly creative way to ignite that all important connection…

AMYTWON_PIAJANEBIJKERK_4.jpg

In my patreon collective, I do an ancestral card reading for each new moon, and now I will be adding Amy’s card reading as well to enrich the connection. The idea of these readings is to connect each member to their intuition, to make more intuitive choices in their work and home life throughout the month. I am thinking about adding individual readings for each member too, so I’ll be talking about that over there soon. Serendipitously, this was the very first card I pulled in the deck while I was in my studio…

HOME.

HOME.

I’ll be sharing the meaning of this on Patreon later this week.

Thank you Amy for sharing your beautiful world with us in these wondrous ways. X

Panoramic Bushscape: bookbinding & watercolour workshop...

PiaJaneBijkerk_eramboo_2019_3.jpg

Last Sunday I spent the most wonderful day at Eramboo Art Studios, learning all about bookbinding and watercolour techniques with photographer & book maker Sam Mackie, and watercolour artist Ingrid Bowen. I knew Sam from years ago when she ran my favourite cafe on the Northern Beaches, The Cook’s Larder in Avalon. And Ingrid I’d met online and admired her work, but had never met in person until Sunday. They are both incredibly talented women who are so generous with sharing their knowledge and time, it was such a treat to spend the day with them, learning new skills and meeting new people…

PiaJaneBijkerk_eramboo_2019_2.jpg

Sam had set out all the materials we needed to create one of her stunning accordion books, using beautiful watercolour paper, explaining all the varying qualities of different styles of books along the way, what to use them for and why she uses various materials. We also learnt how to make the different cover pockets. Sam has an incredible eye for detail and is so generous in sharing her passion & knowledge gained over her years of making books. I can’t wait to try making another book with Sam’s instructions, I have a few ideas to try out.

After a delicious lunch and chat, we all eagerly observed Ingrid paint in her signature style - using the bush as her inspiration, she creates watercolour scenes often using only two colours. Ingrid shared her tools, techniques, watercolours and inks, and encouraged us to play with these techniques to see what would come about. Like me, Ingrid works intuitively - her tools and techniques are uncomplicated, her style is completely her own. It was so much fun to sit and paint using her tools and techniques to see what would transpire. Both Sam & Ingrid’s aim was for us to paint directly into our newly created books, and I think most of us did manage to do so - I loved walking around the room to see how unique each person’s book was, what a treasure. I didn’t finish my book as I wanted to come up with a specific idea for it, and I knew it would take a little time to evolve. I have the idea now, and am looking forward to finishing the book, it will be a gift to my daughter and I’ll show you when it’s finished.

Here is where we hung out for the day at Eramboo, nestled in the bush. As soon as I got out of my car and took a breath, I reconnected with the land of my youth…

PiaJaneBijkerk_eramboo_2019_1_1.jpg

For more information you can head to their websites, I’m sure they’ll be sharing new workshop dates soon, it was a hit and I know it will be popular! So check out: Ingrid Bowen, Sam Mackie & Eramboo Artist’s Environment. I would also recommend joining the newsletters so you don’t miss out on upcoming workshops and events. Thank you both for such an inspiring, nurturing and soul-nourishing day! xx

PiaJaneBijkerk_eramboo_2019_4.jpg

Season 2 Ends - It's All Up From Here! podcast update...

Laly exploring in Lane Cove National Park, during the full moon, 2018

Laly exploring in Lane Cove National Park, during the full moon, 2018

Wow Season 2 of It’s All Up From Here flew! The last episode was uploaded a couple of weeks ago, and features Shona’s beautiful parents Al & Sheryl, chatting openly about some of the things they learnt as parents and what wisdom they gained along the journey. It’s a sweet episode, a lovely way to end the season. I loved listening to the recordings of their interviews and I admit, I did feel a little emotional to know I can’t interview my mum too. I wonder if she were here, would she let me, if I asked her? I wonder what she would say? Those were the thoughts going through my mind. And as far as my Dad goes, I wouldn’t even dream of asking him, so that also made me a little melancholy. None of which takes away from the openness of Shona’s parents though, in this last episode, so if you haven’t had a listen yet, please do.

A run down of our most popular listens so far: Season One’s most listened to episode was “Setting Boundaries”. And Season Two’s has remained strong with “How to Know When To End A Relationship, Part One”.

It’s so interesting that these episodes have been the most popular - it shows that there are some major shifts going on in our society, shifts that I know are so crucial to our growth and evolution. It’s exciting, but I understand how challenging these times can be when we are in major life shifts. Both Shona & I have been through a lot these past 2 years, and we’ve been as open as possible on the podcast, with respect to the people we love in our lives, I’m sure there is more to come as we each process these changes and find the jewel lessons in these experiences.

The break between Season 2 and Season 3 will be extended as Shona has just embarked on a 6 week adventure to America and England - a trip with great significance, which she will be sharing some of the details with us upon her return. I’m super excited for her - for those who have been listening to us on the podcast, you’ll know why this trip is such a big deal, but there is much more to be revealed, all in time!

Both Shona & I are pumped for the next season - we’ve already recorded a few of the episodes so they will be ready to share as soon as she returns. We will be covering some big topics, creating space and shedding light on things that are so often taboo in families. Often we don’t realise what we don’t talk about with family members until someone else shares their story with us, and that’s our intention - because both us know how powerful it is to shed light on dark areas in our lives. So get ready for season 3!

If you’d like to catch up on episodes in the meantime, you can head here, to my podcast page. I upload all episodes there, and you’ll also find the occassional show notes, with resources to explore certain topics further. We’d love you to put a review in on itunes! It will help others to find the podcast too, thank you! And if there are episodes that resonate with you and you’d love others to listen (but you don’t feel confident to bring up the topic yourself), let them know about the podcast so they can listen in - it’s a great way to open discussion on things you otherwise feel timid to bring up yourself.

Any topics you would love discussed? Don’t hesitate to email me or Shona or let me know in a comment below. See you soon for Season 3!

With love,

Pia

New Work: Begin your day the Ayurvedic way for Happinez...

Step One: an early walk in nature

Step One: an early walk in nature

This was another wonderful story of images for Happinez magazine, which I photographed in February here in Sydney. The brief was to create six photographs featuring each step of how to start the day with Ayurvedic rituals. I hadn’t realised until the magazine came out that the story was a feature for Bianca Fabrie’s new cookbook Holy Happy Belly - Bianca and I had worked together in Amsterdam a few times for various photoshoots when I lived there - along with being an Ayurvedic therapist she is also an incredible makeup artist - so it was such a great surprise to know we had collaborated on this without knowing it, from across the seas!

A couple of weeks before the shoot, I made a call out on social media for a model for two of the shots, but it was an encounter in my local cafe with my friend & fellow photographer Gaby who was dining with her dear friend & photographer Sam, that lead to Sam becoming my model for the shoot the following week. It was such a lovely morning, I took Sam down to a small beach on the bay near my home. The light was incredibly subdued, as it turned out there had been a fire of sorts in the area the night before which left a strange golden glow over the sky. Shooting with Sam was so easy as she is a photographer herself so she understood the process and needed little direction, it was such a treat to hang out together and get to know her through this experience. Thank you Sam!

The full story is in Issue Number 3 for 2019 available in The Netherlands out now. Continue on below to find out more about the creative process and a brief understanding of each ritual.

Step Two: Nasal Rinse

Step Two: Nasal Rinse

I really wanted to find a beautiful neti pot for this, and I went on quite the hunt across Sydney, searching Indian and wellness shops. I cannot remember where I found this one now! I think it was in Dr. Earth on King St, in Newtown. As soon as I saw it I knew it was the one - most of the neti pots I’d found were ceramic and ‘clunky’, this one being copper and slim was definitely the pick. Because really, nasal cleansing isn’t appealing, is it? At least this one would inspire us to try it!

Step Three: Dry brushing

Step Three: Dry brushing

These brushes were also from Dr. Earth, and I made the hand cloth from a vintage silk scarf. I have thoroughly enjoyed adding this ritual to my morning routine - I use the large brush for my body and the small one for my face before I hop in the shower each morning. It gets the skin tingling in the best of ways, I can feel my skin waking up to the day.

Step Four: Self massage

Step Four: Self massage

I wanted to create a rich, warm & nurturing set for these ideas, so I used the deep greens from the moodboard as my main backdrops, varying texture and hue as well as incorporating found foliage to give a tropical feel - a little nod to India. For this shot, I actually used one of my “Where Is My Heart?” photographs from the diptych as a surface, here is the photograph in situ in my studio to jog your memory…

PJB_studio_IMG_6291.jpg

…in a moment of inspiration, I took it off the wall and laid it on the table, and instantly loved the effect of the soft focus flora. I also loved the grain of the paper, being cotton rag, it soaked in the light at the same time as creating a dreamy effect. Instead of a flat surface behind the bottles I created a foliage wall, building it up until it felt lush and layered. Those two little dark bottles of wonderment in the front are gifts from my beautiful friend Midnight Blue, and I cannot wait for her to release them into the world for everyone to enjoy, she is almost ready I am told! I will be one of the first people to share this news with you.

Step Five: Belly breathing

Step Five: Belly breathing

Sam is wearing a kimono from Fabrik Store (gifted to me some years ago by Gaby!), and the nail colour is wanderlust from Sienna Byron Bay, the ring is from my jewellery box, a slice of lapis.

Step 6: Green Smoothie

Step 6: Green Smoothie

This turned out to be my favourite photograph for the story. Again using '“Where Is My Heart?” as the surface, palm fronds for texture along with fresh berries and sprouts, it came together beautifully. I made the smoothie moments before I took the shot - setting up the glasses in position first. I love the layering of the ingredients in the glasses. The gold metal straw is from one of my favourite cafes in Sydney, Orchard St Cafe.

As I’ve been writing this post I’ve realised, with the exception of the nasal rinse, that I’ve been incorporating these rituals each morning since this shoot. The smoothie is something I’ve been making for some time, an incredibly healing recipe created by Midnight Blue, and I’ve been walking most mornings, along the water, after dropping Laly off at school. The dry brushing is a new addition since the shoot, and I strive to do 20 minutes of meditation each day. Self massage is also something I’ve done for many years. So yes, I would agree that these are a wonderful way to start your day the Ayurvedic way!

For more information, check out Happinez, Nummer 3 2019 along with Holy Happy Belly by Bianca Fabrie.

With love,

Pia xx

Photography & Styling: Pia Jane Bijkerk
Magazine: Happinez, Nummer 3 2019

School Holidays...

I love seeing the aftermath of painting as much as I love the process and final creation.

I love seeing the aftermath of painting as much as I love the process and final creation.

I seem to recall a few months ago I said somewhere on the socials that if there was enough interest, I’d post about what we get up to during the school holidays, and I do recall there being quite some interest but then life got busy and here we are at the end of another school holiday! So here I am, better late than never, offering a brief recap of some of the activities we enjoy during the holidays, to spark you if you’re feeling like you need some ideas…

Firstly, I thought I’d share what my intentions are during the school holidays. As you know, I am passionate about arts, music and nature education for kids, and the public school system here in Australia (and I’m guessing everywhere else in the world judging by the state of affairs and the current interests of the nations!) does not cut it. The kids spend a lot of time and focus on reading and maths and although I too feel those subjects are important, to me they come second to arts & music. In that art is the beginning of reading and writing, and music is the beginning of maths - which is guided by our intuition, so imagine if we learnt the skills of reading and maths through art & music! All the kids who struggle due to thinking expansively rather than linearly would benefit and those who are linear thinkers experience a new perspective. I feel everyone’s life skills would be much improved! I have much to say on this topic and will save it for another time.

So during the school holidays I focus this time on art, music and nature. While I do my best to not book in any work during this time so that I spend most of it with Laly, sometimes it doesn’t happen that way - this school holidays I had a week long shoot (of a two week break! with Easter in between!) but since I used my backyard as the set, and as the producer & photographer I create the shooting schedule, I made the shoot times short to fit in while Laly was occupied elsewhere. She also assisted me during the times she was around and she was fantastic, being my hand model and assistant set builder - this will be her first paid job at the ripe age of 7, and what a wonderful introduction to the working world, knowing you can make money from doing something fun that inspires thousands of people. I’ll share more about this particular shoot when the photographs are published in a couple of months.

A couple of afternoons spent like this, working on her bedroom painting, read on for more details…

A couple of afternoons spent like this, working on her bedroom painting, read on for more details…

This school holidays, I invited Laly to make her own bedroom painting. I bought a large artist’s board, and talked about where this painting would hang in her room, that is would be something she would wake up to every morning so she could think about painting something that would spark joy for her. Not surprisingly, she immediately chose to paint a rainbow! So away we went with this idea. For me it’s a lot to do with the process and not just the final piece so I use these ideas as a way to show her what’s involved in making art. First we needed to prime the board and then paint the background colour. She chose blue. But instead of just using the paints straight from the tubes, I suggested she make her own colours - to make her own blue. I helped her with this. The next day once the background was dry, it was time to paint the rainbow. I let her know that the rainbow doesn’t have to be the colours you see in other pictures, they can be whatever colours you like - in fact, it can be a rainbow of colours that you love, what colours do you love? I said colours out loud that weren’t the normal colours (ie turquoise, acqua, rose, indigo, etc) and she lit up with ones that she loved, so her intuition was well ignited. Then we set out creating the colours. It’s not as easy as it seems it would be, which is why I love this experience because it gives them an understanding of what’s really involved in art making. Once she decided she was finished I offered her some special gold paint to finish it with. And then I encouraged her to sign her name at the bottom. Her art work now resides in her bedroom and I also get to see it every morning, sparking my joy. I will add, it’s also a great experience as a parent to go through this, as you really need to let go of your control and let them make their own intuitive decisions here - this was by no means what I thought she’d paint, but I didn’t interfere. It takes practice.

…….

I’ve noticed we’ve created a few traditions and rituals over school holidays now, here they are…

  1. She loves being active, she has bundles of energy which when she was younger I found rather exhausting but now she is older this energy can be directed into things she loves doing…oh how I remember the hundreds of hours spent at all the local parks and how frustrated she was when she couldn’t reach the monkey bars or climb onto the roofed play equipment! Now she climbs up there and takes a book to read, as if she’s in a treehouse. So during the holidays, she has been enrolling in the wonderful Active Arts, run by beautiful Elena from Dance Domain in St. Peters. Active Arts runs for 4 days, 9-3pm, and the kids get to try everything from rock climbing, trapeze, dance, drama, martial arts, and clay making with local clay artist Agatha who I’ve done a few mother & daughter workshops with as well, and have absolutely loved it, Agatha is a wonderful teacher.

  2. MCA school holiday workshops - this is something we’ve been doing for two years and it’s the most wonderful experience. Laly and I make it a date, we set off from my studio in Balmain and walk to the ferry, and take it under the harbour bridge into Circular Quay, then walk the five minutes to the MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art). We love watching the buskers along the way and Laly brings some of her money from her donate jar to pop into musicians hats she likes (there’s some music appreciation right there!). We head up to the kids area to buy the tickets and then find out what we get to do! As an adult I find it a fabulous way to experience the art in the galleries, from the perspective of a child who is encouraged to interact with the work and find ways of connecting with it. The kids (and adults!) then get to make things in the atelier space which is always the most fun, this holiday it was about making sound with art, using all sorts of found materials and objects. Laly made three, she was very inspired by this project! After that we head up to the restaurant for lunch which is always a treat, the menu is fantastic. Laly and I have been invited to be part of the kids committee this year which means we help the creators of the workshops design them and figure out ways to connect kids to art. Which means more dates to the MCA for us two! Happy days.

At the MCA this school holidays, playing on a handmade ping pong machine. So.Much.Joy.

At the MCA this school holidays, playing on a handmade ping pong machine. So.Much.Joy.

PiaJaneBijkerk_mca_schoolholidays.jpg
…from a kids workshop at the MCA in January. The idea was to think of a place that is special and create a textural collaged ‘map’. Laly chose her Mamy’s (her grandmother in France) garden and got busy picking out fabric swatches that made her think of playing with Mamy in her garden. Heart-melt.

…from a kids workshop at the MCA in January. The idea was to think of a place that is special and create a textural collaged ‘map’. Laly chose her Mamy’s (her grandmother in France) garden and got busy picking out fabric swatches that made her think of playing with Mamy in her garden. Heart-melt.

…from a past kids workshop at the MCA making posters with their own messages. This was Laly’s message to the world: LOVE YOURSELF.

…from a past kids workshop at the MCA making posters with their own messages. This was Laly’s message to the world: LOVE YOURSELF.

3. Beach days or nature walks. I try to get a few of these in if we are not planning a holiday away, then I make sure we do a few local day trips.

And plenty of playdates with friends, where there is always some magic potion making happening in the backyard…

…Laly and her friend made this wonderful array of mud treats yesterday!

…Laly and her friend made this wonderful array of mud treats yesterday!

And a number of nothing days in between! I’m not a big planner as I like days to flow naturally/intuitively especially when school is so scheduled, however, I found this particular break busier than usual which happened because I had the shoot as well as my regular mentoring connections.

Also, during this school holiday I’ve also set a great screen time intention that incorporates art & music, I think it might be of interest to some of you, let me know if you’d like more information and I’ll write it up a separate post. Today was the first day I implemented it and it worked so well.

Oh and I nearly forgot, Tiny Doors! This was one of the highlights of our last school holidays, Laly and I had an absolute ball treasure hunting these all around the Northern Beaches. I’m not sure if it’s still on but here is the link, and you can start at Manly Library to get a map and go from there (call the library first to check the maps are still available and that the doors are still around) - we’ve almost found every door, there are only a few we haven’t been on the search for yet. I highly recommend it. And I hope every council picks up this idea and runs with it!

So, school holidays: art, music, and nature. I feel these ideas can be adapted to wherever you live, as there are always art galleries, nature and music venues around. I tend not to do the expected school holiday activities as, if I’m honest, I find them boring, exhausting and some things are torturous - like kids concerts and some kids movies (the exception being Moana, I will happily see that at the cinema a dozen times!). My idea is to make it joyful for both of us, so it’s not just about her but us together, to find experiences that ignite us both, as these will create ideas and memories for her forever. Let me know what you get up to and please do share your ideas here so others can find out, or link to any posts you’ve written about too for others to find you.

Vivent les petites artistes! xx