photography

The Sweetest Gift...

“Quietly while you were asleep, the moon and I were talking…” beginning lyrics to  The Sweetest Gift composed & sung by Sade .

“Quietly while you were asleep, the moon and I were talking…” beginning lyrics to The Sweetest Gift composed & sung by Sade.

As an Everyday Alchemist, it would come as no surprise to you that over the past year I've been experimenting on myself. Well not just myself - to be more specific, I've been experimenting with the moon too, observing and playing with my connection to it. And what I've discovered has the power to change everything. It already has for me. I am in the midst of putting together something so incredibly grand, I can barely contain my excitement, but these things take time -  because rather than just come up with a theory, I need to know it actually works. I also know that the moon is currently on trend (which makes me laugh just writing it! That something which has existed for all of time as we know it could be suddenly popular) - there are a number of books popping up about it, especially around abundance because that’s another trend ... and you know how I feel about doing anything 'on trend'! But I also won't dismiss something just for the sake of rebelling, instead I will seek out the resistance. What is important for me to continue this everyday alchemy is that in the process, I make sure that what I've come up with works for the whole - for each of us, for humanity, for Earth.

The first step of this is what led you to reading this right now - my new email. We have become so disconnected from the moon, which is our original time maker along with the sun, that we don't even know what phase it's in. Especially for those of us who live in the city, or are always busy doing (pointing a loving finger towards myself here too, with a busy 7 year old at my heels!). So with this email, I'll be sending it at the beginning of each new moon phase, just so we know at a glance what phase it's in. There will not be any information about the meaning or symbolism behind the phase, or anything along these lines. This is just simply to connect us to the moon, to get to know it a little more intimately, and in time I’ll let you know why.

Along with the moon phase illustration, I'll be adding a quote that resonates with me at that time. And this will not be a throwaway quote with no context - it will be from something I have read, from someone who I value, and there will be a deeper intuitive connection as to why I have chosen that particular remark at that particular time, so there will always be a link for you to discover more if it resonates with you and you find yourself yearning to hear, read or learn more. I will not comment on it, I will simply leave it up to you. I hope you’ve enjoyed this first one as much as I have had listening to the entire interview (I have listened a number of times, there is not one remark that does not resonate with my entire being, it’s a powerful interview that I hope you get as much out of as I have).

With each email, sometimes this will be all there is  - my moon phase illustration and a quote. Other times, there will be images and links below to work I have just produced (like you would have seen below the quote and is what led you here). As with all that I do, I like to create things that ignite one of our five senses at a time - sight, taste, touch, smell and sound. At the moment I am all about the sound: my wonderful collaborative podcast with Shona Smith as well as my monthly downloadable piano compositions on Patreon, & sight: my photography feature stories published in magazines, in my new books, and around the world via my personal clients. Some of these also involve taste and touch and smell too, if you choose to cook or craft something from what I've shared through my visual storytelling. And the reason I am so inspired to ignite our senses is because I know these senses are the ways to our hearts, to connecting us to our intuition and learning to trust and use it everyday. This will always come through my work, and is accessed directly each week with my mentoring clients as well as each month on Patreon.

Please share this post with your friends and family and encourage them to subscribe to the email - there will always be much to connect to, and it will be an opening for many beautiful conversations between those you love.

Thank you to every single one of you who are here right now, reading these words - you've made such a powerful impact on encouraging me to share my everyday alchemy, I value your presence so much and it’s my hope that this gratitude flows back to you through my work.  

With love, 

Pia

New Work: The Confetti Effect for Happinez...

The confetti is actually over 50 years old - it was in a box in my grandmother’s home many years ago and I’ve kept them all this while. They are made from tiny shapes of paper and I just love them. For the diary shot above, I combined them with petals and pods found outside my studio entrance. The beautiful ribbon is from  Tinctifolia . Little glimpses of joy are never far away.

The confetti is actually over 50 years old - it was in a box in my grandmother’s home many years ago and I’ve kept them all this while. They are made from tiny shapes of paper and I just love them. For the diary shot above, I combined them with petals and pods found outside my studio entrance. The beautiful ribbon is from Tinctifolia. Little glimpses of joy are never far away.

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Here is my latest work for Happinez Magazine, featured in their Intuition edition, out now in The Netherlands. The assignment was to create 6-8 photographs inspired by the book and talks by Ingrid Fetell Lee. Ingrid’s concept with The Aesthetics of Joy is devoted to a simple, powerful idea: that our greatest source of joy is the world around us. The art director wanted me to come up with simple ways to showcase this, through little things in our everyday lives - be it a new page in your diary, light & shadow play, or nature. My assignment was to translate this feeling to a colour range that fitted with their moodboard for the issue. I also needed to give the concept a bit more depth, meaning and spirituality. To say I enjoyed creating this series is an understatement - it was pure joy…

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I foraged most of these flowers from the beautiful nature reserve down by the water near my studio.

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Moon cookies! I made these using all natural ingredients with only a little coconut sugar. If you’d like the recipe let me know and I’ll write it up in a seperate post.

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Citrus and pomegranate seeds are bursting with joy! This shot came together beautifully,

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The sparklers were quite smoky and I was worried the studio fire alarm would go off!! It was a tricky shot but I love the effect. And the shadow and light play I created on the studio porch, using the sun as my muse.

xx

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