artists

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

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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!!

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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…

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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

Swarm Studio, Amsterdam...

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Those who’ve known me for a long time will know that artist + founder of Swarm, Leslie Oschmann, is a dear friend of mine. We got to know each other ten years ago when I was living in my houseboat in Amsterdam and scouting hidden ateliers for my second book, Amsterdam: Made by Hand. We soon became friends, and went on many adventures together around the city and beyond. I’m drawn to people who see the world around them in a unique way, and can transform something overlooked into something extraordinary, which is what I call Everyday Alchemy. Leslie is one of those unique people.

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My daughter Laly, taking in the atmosphere of Swarm & ready to paint, 2016

My daughter Laly, taking in the atmosphere of Swarm & ready to paint, 2016

Each time I’ve been back to Amsterdam since moving to Sydney, I spend time with Leslie and her sidekick, McDuff. I love being immersed in her creative world - her home & studio, which is always filled with her latest projects. There are chairs hanging from the ceiling, piles of found oil paintings ready to be transformed into something new, paintbrushes, textiles, leather straps, ropes and the most incredible found objects from her travels - many of which she sells in her online store.

When I visited her new studio in 2016 with Laly, Leslie had just embarked on the epic journey of writing and making a book. She’d been approached by Rizzoli to write a book about her creative life in Amsterdam, centered around her muse, wire hair fox terrier McDuff. The book was inspired by Leslie’s fun photographs on instagram of the sometimes obscure places her and McDuff would visit, and the playfulness of exploring these interesting landscapes together. Because wherever Leslie goes, so does McDuff - when she heads back to New York, he’s on the plane with her, and travelling to her new studio-in-the-making in France known as Q, he’s sitting beside her in her van. I remember when Leslie and I went to Beaune in Bourgogne for New Year’s Eve some 8 years ago, and McDuff wandered the frosted cobblestone streets with us.

With this book project, Leslie wanted to find a way to create the unique visual layout she had in her mind, and we’d discussed the idea of creating them by hand - each page spread as an assemblage which could then be photographed. When I got there, she had the page layouts pinned up on one of the studio cabinets. It was an honour to be able to see the book in progress at this early stage - to see how Leslie’s visual directing translated into book form, and I couldn’t wait to see the final result….

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Earlier this year, her book was published. It’s called Me & McDuff, and it’s filled with her creative energy & love for her sidekick. Every page is an artwork in itself, with each assemblage created by Leslie & photographed by Sarah van den Bosch. The book tells the story of Leslie & McDuff’s creative companionship in her way - minimal words, maximum visual effect…

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With some of her favourite captures from the book, Leslie has made some into pouches which I love, you can find them in her store.

While on my trip to Amsterdam this year in August, I took my camera with me to photograph her studio for one of my book projects. I won’t be able show you many of the incredible captures (her space is seriously amazing), but here are a few of the photographs from my shoot…

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…in her zone. 2018

…in her zone. 2018

Laly & I playing, Swarm Studio, 2016.

Laly & I playing, Swarm Studio, 2016.

Okay here is one more…

The Alchemist’s kitchen, in all it’s utilitarian glory.

The Alchemist’s kitchen, in all it’s utilitarian glory.

You can click on the links to have a look at Leslie’s new objet d’art, her new book Me & McDuff, and her latest bag collection is stunning. They are one of a kind and they sell fast, so if you see one that pulls at your heart strings, you’ll regret it if you don’t get it (believe me, this has happened a number of times to me and my friends and we still lament over the ones we missed out on).

Thank you Leslie for continuing to be such an inspiration in my life & for sharing your world with us in all that you create!

With Love,

Pia xx

A Deck for Wonder-Walking by Amy T. Won

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My friend across the pacific and fellow artist + heart wanderer Amy Won has just launched her long-awaited kickstarter campaign offering her 2nd edition deck of 32 wonder-walking cards, and I had to share this with you because I know so many of you will love this as much as I do…

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"This is an invitation to the human experience: A call to open our eyes and see more, feel more deeply, and observe closer.”

I absolutely love the way Amy sees the world around her. I have been enamoured with her enchanting watercolours and creative outpourings for years, and I’m so excited for her to be creating this collection and sharing it far & wide. Amy has featured my piano composition titled “All this, yes” from my Spirit & Flight album as her background music to her launch video which is so beautiful, I am honoured. Check out her video here.

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Amy has poured her heart and soul into this project, she has an incredible eye for detail and an understanding of what we seek to experience in our everyday…

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Only days into her campaign Amy has reached more than halfway to her goal, and it’s easy to see why when you peruse her page, there is so much to enjoy. I’d love to see her reach beyond her goal to enable her to offer her stretch goals, one of which is a printed version of her beautiful Journal of Wonder-Walking, currently available as an ebook.

I’ve learnt over the years that most people have no concept of how much of our individual time and energy goes into projects like these. I once had someone comment on my first foray into crowdfunding when I self-published Little Treasures: Made by Hand that they were disappointed that once I had reached my crowdfunding goal I was still promoting it and encouraging sales. Rarely having received comments like that in the past, I was dumbstruck and felt guilty for a long time, as if I’d done something terribly wrong by believing in my work and wanting to share and expand it. I began a journey to understanding that most people don’t know how much work, skill and personal funds go into these creations, and that most artists who take the brave steps towards something like crowdfunding or self-publishing, will never receive enough money to pay for their own time because of the current value system of the world, but are incredibly grateful for whatever they receive to pay for the hard costs like printing, framing, and any services they need to outsource. Because I’ve lived this all my life, I couldn’t comprehend that others who have not lived this, did not know this. So hook, line and sinker, this commenter got me! I finally snapped out of it, but learnt a valuable lesson: I gained a knowing from my core that I will always give my all in what I do, and I am allowed to receive money for it too! And so it’s with absolutely pleasure that I encourage and share the work of other artists and creators whose work I adore and know how beneficial it is to our everyday expansion. I know that by investing in work like Amy’s, we are building the world we want to live in…

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“In a world of vicarious living, we can choose instead to discover life for ourselves… I believe that a reconnection begins with a walk and a wonder.”

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A big congratulations to Amy for bringing this beautiful work into the world, and I wish with all my heart that you reach your goal so that people around the world can experience their surroundings in a new way. Click on the button below to learn more…

And to visit Amy’s wonder-filled instagram, please click here.

I’m also delighted to let you know that Amy & I are in the midst of collaborating on something amazing together! Which, once we both get through our current projects, we will announce. I’m incredibly thrilled to be working with her and can’t wait to share our news. xx

LET'S BEAM...

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On Monday, I posted the above photo you see here in the frame on my studio shelf on instagram, with the message "we are human beams" written over it, creating the hashtag #wearehumanbeams. In the week leading up to posting this photograph, I was feeling these words resonate strongly through me. As I felt the powerful energy and importance of the meaning of these words, this moment I captured in this photograph came to mind. It was almost exactly 3 years ago. My Mum had just passed away, and I had taken Laly to my parents to assist my Dad with household changes. Perhaps we were staying there, I can't remember the details of that time, I just remember the intensity, the fatigue and how surreal it felt, like I was walking between worlds. I spent quite some time looking for this image in my archives, wondering if it was how I remembered it and my heart felt expansive when I found it: seeing the beauty and awe of that moment. When I took this photo, through the tidal wave of grief, I remember how it pulled me up to the surface - to the present - as I stood captivated by how my daughter's human form connected & communicated so wondrously with the sun, the sea and the sand. It felt like I'd witnessed a moment of real-life magic. I could see the sunlight radiate through her skin and her inner glow play with this light, encouraging it, nurturing it. There she stood before me as a human BEAM. 

This is what I saw, and this is what I posted.

However within a few minutes of posting it, I had someone I'd not heard from before called Vivienne comment something along the lines of "I wish you'd be more circumspect when choosing photos of Laly, this is inappropriate". It pissed me off, I admit, but I took a moment to reflect on her comment and try to see things from her perspective. I wrote a reply along the lines of, "I was absolutely circumspect when choosing to post this image. I understand some people see things differently, I respect that". I got the impression that she too respected that and I thought we had resolved our differences. But when I awoke the next morning, my photograph had been removed by instagram, along with all the comments - most of which I had not read because I was asleep - and I was and still am locked out from using the hashtag  I created #wearehumanbeams. 

That got me really pissed off. 

Then I sat with my feelings. And so much came up...

Feeling shamed, feeling like someone told me I was a bad parent, feeling like I'd been disciplined for something wrong that I didn't do, feeling like I wasn't good enough, feeling like I hadn't understood something, feeling confused, feeling violated, feeling misunderstood

How often had I been misunderstood in my early life? I think that's why I have spent all these years strengthening my ability to communicate clearly, to ensure that if there is a misunderstanding, I know that I've done everything in my power to communicate clearly.

Anyway after the anger began to dissolve, I felt the powerful energy of the experience sink in.  "Sure", I thought, "I get it".  I can see life from other perspectives -  again, it's something I have found as an important attribute to work on in life - and I'm all for safety, and I'm absolutely all for keeping our children safe. 

But this? So much strength came forth after the anger released. I realised that this behaviour, these emotional reactions from people, these restrictions from companies like instagram are EXACTLY why there are so many incredible souls too  scared to be themselves, to let their creativity shine, to lead a  creative, heart-centered  life. 

"Why can't you see what I see?" I wondered. It was really perplexing, I struggled to understand what was happening. But that's when it hit me like a brick: they aren't connected to their centre.

For me, I chose to post this photograph because of the art. For me, and so many of us I know, we are seeing the art, the beauty. But others simply can't see this - all they can see is a photo of a nude child. And that brings up all sorts of deeply disturbing emotions for them. Feelings they are too scared to feel, too scared to allow come up to the surface. They can't connect to their hearts, it's just too confronting. 

I know there are deeply damaged souls out there. And I understand that the people who report photographs like mine think they are doing good, that they are protecting me and/or my child. I understand they think they know something that I don't know. That I am naïve and vulnerable, and that they know better. But I know that removing this type of photograph - of which I was very discriminating in selecting to communicate the concept of being a human beam -  will NOT stop damaged souls from feeding their addictions. What this action does is even more damaging: It stops authenticity, art, talent and beauty from shining in an increasingly dark world. This action and the actions of these major communication companies are feeding the fear in the world - fear of seeing & experiencing life differently, of not conforming, of not standing out from the crowd. This behaviour stifles freedom and disconnects us from our heart centres. 

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What do you see? This is how I came to write My Heart Wanders in the first place:

What you see is a reflection of what you feel inside. And people would rather stop something like my photograph from being published than deal with the emotions that arise from what they see.

It's what you feel that matters. It's what this image brings up in you. It's not what I don't see, it's what you see and how that makes you feel. That's the purpose of ART:  it evokes our feelings, particularly those feelings that are trapped and stuck.

This is why I am so passionate about the importance of tapping into your creativity, because if we don't, we will become stuck like this: we will only be able to see things from the darkness, from the fear. We will rationalise our limited viewpoint as 'logical', 'reasonable', 'sensible', 'practical', 'truthful'. But that's not heart speak. Humans are not meant to only think with our brains. That would make us computers. We are also meant to feel, express, radiate from our heart centres...

We are human beams: We are light - traveling under the ocean,  above in the ether, and right here on earth for our lifetime. Every new idea we form is light. Close your eyes and imagine the the world at night, look how it lights up with the light we have created. We are drawn to light. Because we are light. And what we project is also what will be reflected back to us. 

So ANYWAY, in response to the removal of my photograph, I have made this...

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Because I won't allow anyone to take my art away. Instead, I'm going to beam my light BRIGHTER. My child is art, I am art, what I express is art.

And it got me thinking: How would you, my fellow creative souls, express the idea that we are human beams? I want to see your interpretation - I want us to make this art. 

And since I am no longer able to post using the hashtag #wearehumanbeams, it doesn't stop you from using it! 

So I got an idea - a beam of light: How about we come together as a mass creative collaboration and use this hashtag to create a body of incredible work, that showcases in each of our unique ways, how we would express that WE ARE HUMAN BEAMS. And to get you inspired and focussed, I'll choose someone to receive a 3-hour creative mentoring package from me, no matter where you are in the world.

If we can create an incredible body of work for #wearehumanbeams, if this becomes big, we can turn it into a book! Let's rock this place up!!  Vivent les artistes

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So in my usual fashion, I don't have deadlines and limitations on this for now - I will give it the freedom to expand - that's always the BEST place to start. And the only way this can happen is through YOU. For now I feel if we use the hashtag on insta #wearehumanbeams , spread the word - you can repost my new piece above "we are human beams" - and tag people in the post I write on insta, then you're in the collaboration. Even if you don't want to make something for it, let others know who you know would love to. Then, when you post your work for "we are human beams", hashtag it so others can see and follow your work, and tag me in it so I can see you want to be in the running to receive the mentoring package. 

Note: there are no limitations on how many works you submit. You can use any form of art - whatever your heart is drawn to. The idea is to ignite your creative spirit. Kindred spirit & fellow artist Midnight Blue already posted a wonderful video she made in support, take a look at the hashtag #wearehumanbeams on insta to see it! It will get you inspired! I don't know if, when I post this on insta, my hashtag will work so I will need to rely on you guys to repost it there for everyone, so they can see it in the hashtag and understand the project. 

Let's be human beams. Let's make the light shine bright. 

Fuck, I'm excited about this. 

 

xx