pia's photos

We are all made of stardust...

Stardust print installation , currently in my studio

Stardust print installation, currently in my studio

Having a studio has given me the space- physically and mentally - to embark on something I've been holding back from doing for, well, since I completed my arts degree at Uni some 19 years ago! While I was at COFA, I spent many hours in the dark room printing my photographs. I loved it. Every step of the process (minus the intensity of the chemicals) was a joy for me, I absolutely loved the alchemy of it. And to see the finished print was always exciting, it fuelled my creative fire.  Throughout my last two years of high school and into my Uni days, in those 5 years I spent most of my free time between classes in either the dark room or the library.

But since the onset of digital photography - which I have fully embraced in the most analogue way possible!  - I lost something of my work that I hadn't realised until now.  That is, the beauty and wonder of experiencing my photography in full colour and off the screen...

Stardust photographic print , limited edition, 11 x 14 inches

Stardust photographic print, limited edition, 11 x 14 inches

While visiting the Gallery of Modern Art in Brisbane a few weekends ago, I came across a room that reignited that lost part of me. It was filled with Australian artists I had studied all those years ago, intently, in books and galleries. As I roamed the room, little sparks lit in me with each work. I moved from Arthur Boyd, to Sydney Long, Rosalie Gasgoigne, and John Olsen. Every one of them had been an influence and inspiration in my years of intense study and making. Then I saw a piece that made my heart skip a beat, and took me to a long lost memory. It was a photograph called groundspeed (rose petal) by renown contemporary Australian photographer Rosemary Laing. In that moment of staring into her carpeted forest, I remembered how huge a role she played in my photography. She was one of my teachers while at the College of Fine Arts, and taught me everything I know about photography, both digital and analogue. And she was one of the best teachers I ever had. I remember how much she'd engage with each of us while we learnt the ropes of Photoshop. She was patient, kind, passionate and enthusiastic. She also gave me my best marks, which compelled me to learn more about my style, my motivation, my goals. While I looked at groundspeed (rose petal) and got lost in those memories, I felt a wave of gratitude and realised how lucky I was to have such a great teacher.

It also cemented in me how powerful it is to put your work out there, to move through those emotional blocks that stop so many of us from creating what we know we are meant to, and how important it is to have those influences in our lives - and why I love being able to be that person, that mentor, to artists around the world now. By making our work, by supporting each other and investing in each other's work, it's how we will thrive.

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So it's with absolute delight that, having found the best pro printing lab in the city, I offer one of my most popular photographs Stardust as the first photograph released as a limited edition print on archival rag paper. This photograph is featured in my Festive ebook . As with all my books, I love creating visual stories throughout to capture your imagination and connect with your heart.  This photograph was created inspired by my work in redefining this intense time of year, by exploring the alchemy in each of us: The wonder that we are all made from stardust...

"Every element of the universe is made from stars, including us. As beings, each element within us was birthed in stars, the very stars that twinkle above us in the night sky and around the Earth. As humans both ancient and existing, we have held an everlasting fascination for stars, and knowing that we are made from stardust only enriches the allure and magic of the exploration of those tiny intergalactic sparkles that light up the deep indigo sky we look to each evening before we sleep."
Excerpt from The Everyday Alchemy eBook, Festive Edition. 

Each Stardust print is hand numbered, dated and signed by me. There are two sizes available, worldwide shipping is available (with free worldwide shipping for the next two weeks  - promo code in the info) all the details are available here.  When I say limited edition I mean LIMITED EDITION. Only a very small number will be printed. 

Thank you to everyone in my life who has encouraged me to print my work over the years. I finally got there! It took a while but the wait, I hope, will have been worth it. 

Vivent les artistes. 

xx

 

 

 

Happi.Kidz photo feature...

...clear quartz crystal mobile made by me; beautiful chunks of tangerine quartz sourced from  Mineralism  in Glebe.

...clear quartz crystal mobile made by me; beautiful chunks of tangerine quartz sourced from Mineralism in Glebe.

In June this year I was commissioned to create another story for Happinez magazine, this time for their children's edition called Happi Kidz. The brief was to create eight images to show the benefits of various crystals for children. I came up with a few ideas, drew up a storyboard, ran it by Albertine via email - the image editor for the magazine - and then got to work bringing my ideas to life. The magazine was published last month, and it's a delight to know that my hero shot of gorgeous first time model Freya, was chosen for the cover...

...garnet necklace made by me, using  Tinctifolia  hand-dyed silk ribbon.

...garnet necklace made by me, using Tinctifolia hand-dyed silk ribbon.

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My dear friend Kaspia assisted me on the day, offering not only her talents as a stylist but also props from her incredible collection, including clothes & textiles from far away lands. Freya, who is half Norwegian and half Australia was my gorgeous model for the day - it was her first time modelling and she was amazing. Freya is Kaspia's niece, and along with her lovely mum Ragna, and Kaspia's eldest daughter Paloma, we had a great day on set in my home...

...aquamarine talking stick made by me; pouch for the jade fish made by Zoë from  Tinctifolia .

...aquamarine talking stick made by me; pouch for the jade fish made by Zoë from Tinctifolia.

...stunning lapis lazuli sourced from  Mineralism , Glebe.

...stunning lapis lazuli sourced from Mineralism, Glebe.

Here are a couple of the behind the scene shots for you as I know many of you love to see how I work...

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The dining table was removed to make room for the set, the light in this part of the house is beautiful. 

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The magazine is out now in Holland. I'll post some more behind the scenes shots on instagram in coming days. Thank you to Kaspia, Ragna, Freya and Paloma for your wonderful assistance and for helping to make the day so pleasurable. If you'd like to see my past work with Happinez, please click here

xx

Credits:

Producer, Photographer & Stylist: Pia Jane Bijkerk
Photographer & Stylist's Assistant: Kaspia
Props from Major & Tom, Mineralism, Kaspia's Caravan, Tinctifolia
Model: Freya Gilmour


 

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

photo story for Christmas edition of Happinez 2016...

1. "let me take you for a walk through my favourite neighbourhood": hand drawn map of Amsterdam (which I made a few years ago for my   Amsterdam: Made By Hand   tour, antique French book from our bookshelf, gold fabric from  Major & Tom . 2. "a wander on the beach": Bottle from  Major & Tom , as well as gold scalloped dish, made by beautiful  Bridget Bodenham .  ..............................................

1. "let me take you for a walk through my favourite neighbourhood": hand drawn map of Amsterdam (which I made a few years ago for my Amsterdam: Made By Hand tour, antique French book from our bookshelf, gold fabric from Major & Tom. 2. "a wander on the beach": Bottle from Major & Tom, as well as gold scalloped dish, made by beautiful Bridget Bodenham.

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3. "I'll be your  Marie Kondo  for the day": everything found around my home - fallen bark from a nearby tree, found feathers, and beautiful velvet lined box gifted to me by an  Alchemy of Assemblage  workshop attendee. 4. "I'll knit you something warm this winter": wool bought in British Columbia many years ago, tiny knitting needles found in a vintage shop on King St, Newtown, blue silk fabric given to me by my friend  Kaspia .  ..............................................

3. "I'll be your Marie Kondo for the day": everything found around my home - fallen bark from a nearby tree, found feathers, and beautiful velvet lined box gifted to me by an Alchemy of Assemblage workshop attendee. 4. "I'll knit you something warm this winter": wool bought in British Columbia many years ago, tiny knitting needles found in a vintage shop on King St, Newtown, blue silk fabric given to me by my friend Kaspia.

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In September last year, I produced, styled and photographed an 8-page feature for Dutch magazine Happinez, for their Christmas edition, 2016, issue 8. It was titled "What money can't buy", featuring non-traditional gift ideas for the festive season. The brief was to come up with some gift ideas that celebrate sharing time together and offering a skill, rather than going out and buying something. As you can imagine, I was pretty rapt with this assignment: challenge accepted!

Would you like to know a little about how I made these assemblages?

5. "I'll plant you a rose garden": back boards from Major & Tom, hand dyed silk ribbon from  Tinctifolia , and tiny French pots from  Elements I Love   .  6. "I'll make you some healing soup": sari from Malaysia (details below), hemp string from  String Harvest .  ..............................................

5. "I'll plant you a rose garden": back boards from Major & Tom, hand dyed silk ribbon from Tinctifolia, and tiny French pots from Elements I Love . 6. "I'll make you some healing soup": sari from Malaysia (details below), hemp string from String Harvest.

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Together with the Creative Editor, I came up with some ideas and then had to figure out how to visually capture them. For example, one idea was to gift a walk on a favourite beach together. When I thought about that idea, I began to visualise a beach in a bottle, so I created just that, using a small bottle, some sand, tiny shells and a little sparkle (shown in the top right image). The layering of the objects around the bottle created depth and warmth, and I used gold threaded fabric and ceramics for texture and a touch of festivity. That was the first photograph I made from the story, as in my mind it was the strongest, but it also took the longest to create (3 hours). 

Another gift idea was to make some delicious festive soup, but instead of creating an image of a bowl or pot of soup, I decided to bundle the ingredients together, giving a textural feast for the eyes (image 6). I deconstructed a variety of fresh mushrooms from the supermarket, choosing the most interesting ones and creating a bundle with fresh herbs and watercress, wrapped with string and bells. The sari used as the backdrop for the ingredients I had bought in Malaysia many years ago when I was a bridesmaid for a modern Malay wedding. 

7. "Private concert": Gold textile from Major & Tom, Indian festive circles from  India in Balmain,  music sheet from my personal collection. 8. A beautiful mess.  ..............................................

7. "Private concert": Gold textile from Major & Tom, Indian festive circles from India in Balmain, music sheet from my personal collection. 8. A beautiful mess.

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Below each image is more information about each photograph, with links to wonderful prop suppliers and makers here in Sydney. And if you'd like to see a behind the scenes mini film of me in the process of making one of the photographs, you can see it right here

9. "I'll come to clean up your decorations": box of decorations from my personal collection, with collected seed pods dipped in glitter, vintage baubles, and an assortment of ceramic stars by  Paper Boat Press . 10. vintage sari as above.

9. "I'll come to clean up your decorations": box of decorations from my personal collection, with collected seed pods dipped in glitter, vintage baubles, and an assortment of ceramic stars by Paper Boat Press. 10. vintage sari as above.

Would you like to learn how I create assemblages like these? This year I am scheduling a few exclusive and very intimate weekend workshops to share my techniques with you, connecting to our intuition. In the next couple of weeks I'll be announcing the dates, first through my newsletter to allow subscribers to get first choice with early bird specials, then publicly. There will only be 6 places available per workshop, so if you'd like to be first in line to book your preferred date, please ensure you have subscribed

And if you have any questions, please comment below! xx