books

How to not be an Influencer...

Something fun for everyone! I’ve been a busy bee making this over the past few weeks, in between end of school term meltdowns, mentoring and grieving. Oh, it’s been a wild ride this month but not without funny bits. And how timely is it that I’ve been working on it and then all those articles just came out this week about influencers. People right now are feeling confused and lost, so this lovely little guide I’ve created has come at the right time, to put you back on track! I do hope you enjoy it. It’s FREE. Would you like to know more? Click on the button below to get your free copy…

With love, Pia xx



Panoramic Bushscape: bookbinding & watercolour workshop...

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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…

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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…

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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

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NOURISH + NURTURE + WABI SABI WISDOM...

corner of my home, part 1.

corner of my home, part 1.

One of the most important life lessons I’ve learnt in recent years - a lesson that is still very much a work in progress - is to prioritise nurturing and nourishing myself. And to understand what that even means. There is common theme of religious text about giving to others. And that being a woman is a nurturing - to the point of self-sacrificing - role: Others before self. So most of my life, I grew up not even conscious that I thoroughly believed that to give to myself - to look after myself - was incredibly selfish. This understanding, this belief has been all around me my entire life - in conversations and in the general atmosphere. And although I have always been drawn to Buddhist philosophy (not the religion but the ideas), it focusses heavily on selflessness and egolessness. When I was young, this strengthened what I felt which was that “I am of no value”, “I do not exist”. And if I ever did feel like someone had been unjust toward me or I felt like I needed to stand up for myself, or simply say “no”, I thought that it was a selfish act. And that was confirmed by the reactions from others I received when I did stand up for myself. Which made me feel guilt and shame. And so the cycle continued for many, many years…

corner of my home, part 2.

corner of my home, part 2.

Until I stopped it. That was when I went to Paris in 2006. When I left all that I knew to be safe. With distance I learnt that much of what I understood to be safe wasn’t safe. It was an illusion - an illusion “to keep me safe”. That’s a very hard reality pill to swallow.

But what I discovered in this journeying was incredible: I discovered that I am safe. Within me, I am safe - I am capable of nurturing and nourishing myself. I am strong and wise and beautiful, and I can fly without a safety net below. For me to even write those words in a public space - let alone think and feel them deeply to be true without feeling selfish or guilty or ashamed - is huge. It’s a magnificent feeling, and it’s a feeling I want every person I encounter to experience. If I could give this feeling to everyone in the world, I would. That’s why I’m so compelled to do what I do, to learn everything I can about intuition and support people in connecting with their intuition (as this is the foundation of it all) in as many different creative ways as possible…

At this time of year, so many emotions rise to the surface. For me, I think of my original family and how we are no longer connected, I think of times spent together in the past, but mostly I think of my Mum. I miss her enormously at the moment. I want to hug her, tell her all that I’ve learnt this year through the experiences I’ve had, I want to tell her I understand now how much she did for us that I didn’t truly realise until now, and how grateful I am for her being my mum. I want to tell her that I wish she had been more self-nurturing, and that I’ve been wondering if she might still be here if she wasn’t so self-sacrificing in order to boost the lives of those around her. Mums are our original anchors. Literally - our umbilical cord was attached to their inner most sacred space which nourished us for ten moons. And until we find our own anchor within, we will always be attached to hers, even when she is no longer living.

But I am feeling a significant shift within and all around. The more time people spend reflecting inward, the more we understand our society and ourselves, and the more we can be in life without trying to put anchors in material wealth, in beliefs, in events and in other people. We will be anchored in our own self - not ego, but ‘self’ - and we can form deeper, real connections through our intuition with those around us.

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Christmas is one of those yearly events that I still find difficult to release anchor, even with my awareness and the positive changes we’ve made. It’s so ingrained in our way of life that I still find myself wanting it to be a certain way, to feel a certain way. I know it’s because the anchor is still there, and I’m slowly working on pulling it up and placing it back inside myself.

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WABI SABI WISDOM from Beth Kempton…

(an excerpt from Festive Season Reimagined, page 10)

Beth Kempton is a friend and fellow author whose knowledge and enthusiasm for Japanese culture knows no bounds. She recently released a gorgeous book all about the concept of wabi sabi, titled Wabi Sabi: Japanese wisdom for a perfectly imperfect life. I asked Beth her thoughts on how we can incorporate wabi sabi at this time...

“So many of us put pressure on ourselves to deliver the perfect Christmas - a perfectly cooked dinner in a perfectly tidy house, with perfect gifts for everyone and perfectly convivial conversation all day long, but in doing so we are setting ourselves up for stress and pressure. This relentless pursuit of Christmas perfection often makes us forget to enjoy the precious moments that occur when we aren’t paying attention. Embracing the Japanese philosophy of wabi sabi, which reminds us to appreciate the beauty in imperfection and the gifts of simple natural living, can bring calm and love to your festivities. Give yourself permission to let go of traditions that no longer serve you and seek beauty in the small moments of magic offered by the season.

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Thank you Beth for sharing your wisdom in your book and extending your knowledge with all of us through our connection. It’s such great advice to carry with us as we move through the next few days.

I have a number of beautiful projects in the works for the year coming to enrich and ignite that part of us that is yearning to be heard. In the meantime, I’ve created lots of content over the past month or two that will support you in your creative pursuits, I have listed them below.

There has been much loss and endings this year - I’ve observed many long term relationship breakdowns, business endings, and life passings. For some it will be a tough time, which is why I cannot emphasise enough the importance of reimagining this week as a time for self- nurturing and nourishing - and if you don’t know what that means for you, to take the time to think and reflect on it. It’s a whole chapter in my book, which you can order digitally if you’d like to read it straight away. The second print run is on its way too, and I’ll continue to send out orders when they arrive. It’s not a book just for now, it’s for the whole year, so you’ll benefit from it now and for the years to come.

Happy festive season dear hearts,

With Love,

Pia xx

PS. Yesterday I wanted to talk to my mum, hug her and be in her presence and last night I did just that in a dream. I feel like I just saw her, and today the grief has transformed. I’m not sure if it’s my connection to my heart space, but this is one thing I’ve been able to do whenever I’ve needed to since she passed. Perhaps it’s a side effect? I’ll see what I can find out and let you know - if so, it’s yet another incentive to strengthen it within us.

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Links to check out over the festive season:

New piano compositions on Patreon including the latest one I recorded yesterday. If you become part of the collective now, you’ll be able to download all 6 songs to create a playlist to listen to to strengthen your connection to your intuition - it will be a wonderful way to end and start the new year if you feel that deep desire to pursue your dreams but don’t know where to start.

Reimagining the Festive Season, and interview between me and Kayla Robertson on the All Being Well podcast. All about how to reflect, self-nurture and reimagine this time of year.

Episode 8: Christmas aka The Festive Season podcast with Shona & I - a bit of light hearted banter about how different this time of year is! (scroll down the bottom to listen)

Bonus episode: How to Reflect on your Parenting with Shona & I - a podcast with questions to prompt you that not only work for parenting but also for your career (scroll down the bottom to listen)

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

UPCOMING EVENT: The Alchemy of Creative Intuition

This Saturday, October 27 from 4:30-6pm I’ll be on the talks stage at Turn Out, a fete for grown ups! I’ll be interviewed by my dear friend, presenter and podcaster Shona Smith, about the alchemy of intuition - what it is, why we need to prioritise tapping into it now, how we can benefit from it both creatively and in our lives, and what it has to do with developing a ‘bullshit-free zone’.

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Shona will be asking some great questions! She’s a lot of fun and such a great presenter, so I can’t wait to answer her questions and meet the audience. I’ll be doing a Q&A at the end, and there will be time to chat and sign books as well. I’ll have all copies of my books, including (hopefully! It’s still at the printers!) my new Festive Season, Reimagined - of which there are only a handful left to purchase, thanks to everyone who has been pre-ordering up a storm! All books will have a special fete price, and can be individually signed.

Here is a peek at the book sample I received earlier this week. I’m so happy with the colours and paper stock - it’s beautiful matte paper, not too thin and not too thick, 100% recycled, printed locally.

Here is a peek at the book sample I received earlier this week. I’m so happy with the colours and paper stock - it’s beautiful matte paper, not too thin and not too thick, 100% recycled, printed locally.

I don’t do many events through the year as you know, much preferring to be hunkered down in my artist’s retreat, allowing my ideas to run rampant! So it’s a rare & special occasion to be out under the spotlight for a moment or two, I hope you can join me.

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Shona & I have also been working on something fun (“and very useful!” says Shona) together which we will be announcing on social media as early as this afternoon! And we will be talking about it at Turn Out too. The above pic is a little clue!

Happy full moon to each of you.

With Love,

Pia xx



Festive Season Reimagined by Pia Jane Bijkerk

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I’m delighted to let you know that my new publication, Festive Season Reimagined is at the printers and will be ready for shipping from October 29!

For those who don’t already know the journey of this book, I wrote the beginnings of it in 2016 and released it as an ebook which was titled The Everyday Alchemy Festive Guide. It was in response to my deep yearning to move through this time of year in a very different way. I was tired of feeling drained by the frenzy of the season, with all the rushing around, consuming, and the general expending of so much valuable energy. This year I decided to embark on creating my own printed version as I had a lot more content to add to it since I'd learnt from another 2 years of experiencing the festive season in this new way. Would you like to see some of the inside pages? Here is a sneak peek…

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Here is some insight into the contents…

“In this beautiful 80 page handbook, author + artist Pia Jane Bijkerk has created a visually inspiring & intuitively formed anthology of ideas for those among us looking to connect deeper as the year completes its cycle, no matter where we live in the world.”

I created this book for parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and essentially, for the child within. It will open up a path of discovery in finding  fresh ways  of experiencing the festive season with great joy  and a sense of renewal, without stimulating  over-consumption and stress. Nature has always been the foundation of all that I create, and you will notice this among the pages. This is one of my favourite new images for the book…

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As with all books I create, this one is highly illustrated, combining my photography, stories and sharing ideas of my own as well as those from creative souls around me. I’m releasing a small eco-conscious print run which I am printing locally.

It will retail for $30 AUD, but I am making the first 50 available now for pre-order at a special price of $25. The book will have a soft launch at my next speaking event at the Turn Out fete at the Locomotive Workshop in Everleigh, Sydney on October 27, where I’ll be speaking about the power and importance of intuition in our lives. I’ll be signing books at the event, so for those who have pre-ordered, you can let me know you’ll be at the event and I’ll have your copy available. For those who are not able to come along to the event, you can still pre-order with shipping, and I’ll send it off to you on November 1. It is also available for independent retailers, just send me an email if you’d like to purchase them at wholesale.

And for Patreon members, all receive a 10% discount code they can use across my website for the duration of their patronage. For those not yet a member, you can find out more here.

Thank you to all who have supported me in this project over the last couple of years, through purchasing my original ebook, sharing my work with your own social media networks, and becoming part of my patreon collective to enable me to keep creating freely and wholeheartedly.

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I’ll spread the news on social media over the next 2 weeks - lifting my hiatus while I release this into the world. I’d love your help in letting people know about it, so if you would share it on your social media and friends, I’d be so grateful. This is a book I have produced independently, which means I rely completely on us as individuals to share it, purchase it, and support it any way we can. I would love to be able to continue making these types of work and in the future I’d love to grow the collection to include work by others.

Okay that’s it from me for now. Let me know if you have any questions!

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