sweet mini art exhibition…
Posted in child's play, the sydney cottage August 9th, 2014 by pia

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Laly LOVES craft, and as you can imagine, I’m pretty thrilled about that. This week, she got into art & craft in a big way, so I was inspired to hold a mini art exhibition of her work in our hallway with a surprise ‘opening’ on Monday evening in time for her guest(Papa)’s arrival. By the end of the week the exhibition had grown from displaying various craft techniques she’d experimented with, to painted found objects and favourite pieces of textile.  It was such a beautiful process which I’d love to share with you. Here is how it happened…

On Monday, Laly told me she wanted to use glue and scissors, so I set up a craft table on the front porch so we could get some winter sunshine while we cut and pasted. We gathered leaves from the street pathway and I gave her washi tape (beautiful cloud washi tape from paper boat press) to stick her chosen leaves onto the walls. By the afternoon she had amassed quite a portfolio of work, which is when I got the idea for an exhibition. We put on some ‘art gallery’ music (putumayo felt appropriate), and Laly taped each artwork up herself very carefully, understanding that the tape needed to be half on the paper, half on the wall to be able to stick.

The next day, she wanted to paint, and it was high time I refilled her paint pots so she patiently waited for me to do that and then spent an hour or more painting found rocks, shells and sticks. I was in awe of what she made…

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At two and half years of age. I couldn’t create such wild magic if I tried (I did try actually, but mine were pretty unimaginative). Below, she is proudly standing among her work, choosing to accessorise with her sunglasses (!)…

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On four pieces of small, black paper, she painted on glue and sprinkled different coloured glitter which we decided together to call the series “stars in the night sky”.

The works below are all about texture. The one on the left with the cotton balls is her ‘feeling’ painting, and to the right, her ‘ripped paper flowers’ work (the one in the foreground is mine, I couldn’t help but try out the technique myself!)…

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We added a beautiful sari curtain (given to us by our sweet friend Kaspia) at the end of the hall to give the exhibition a sense of intimacy…

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…And then outside on the front door I made a sign that read “Laly’s first art exhibition. For Papa, prepare to be dazzled!”. And dazzled he was.

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A great activity for a cold wintry week, even if it meant skipping the week’s cleaning chores to fit in the time to oversee and curate the exhibition. The dust balls and bits of leaves and ripped paper across the floor throughout the house just add to the ambiance of the art show, right…Well,  it was worth the mess. And in case you missed the video on Instagram I made of her painting, click here for your viewing pleasure. It’s called “I’m quite finished with that”.

xx

 

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Posted in personal July 29th, 2014 by pia

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A few weekends ago I had a wonderful experience that I’ve been longing to share with you. In the photo above, there is a little treasure that I made by hand using a technique that has been passed down over thousands and thousands of years. Can you guess what it is?

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This basket, this tiny basket the colour of sunshine.

I made it by weaving pandanus collected from the outback, soaked and hand dyed with colour made from bush roots. With many thanks to my dear friend Kylie who invited me to attend the weaving workshop with her mum, sister Tiff and friend Jennifer, and to the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) in Brisbane who hosted the workshop taught by two beautiful Aboriginal women named Lucy and Shirley from the gapuwiyak community in East Arnem Land, I spent 2 hours sitting among 30 women, learning the technique and absorbing the sacred energy. It was such a privilege to be in Lucy and Shirley’s company, I could feel how special it was to be in their presence, and to be learning the ancient weaving technique that was passed down to them by the women in their families over millennia. During the workshop, Lucy and Shirley guided each of us as we began our coiling mat, it took two hours to get this far…

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…so how many hours does it take them to create an entire basket? Not to mention the walking to and gathering of materials which are collected along the shoreline of crocodile waters in remote parts of the outback, land that I will most likely never know, but these women know as their backyard. They also search and collect roots to create the dyes to colour the pandanas, all of which take hours of itself. Even though I’ve always had appreciation for Aboriginal art and wares, I didn’t know the depth of my appreciation until I sat with them and tried my own hands at it. When I came home to Sydney, I was eager to finish my piece, turning it into a little wonky basket that fits snuggled in my two hands.

Thank you Lucy and Shirley for travelling to us to share your knowledge, and to all Aboriginal women past and present and future, who will continue to weave and teach us how to connect with the earth. Thank you to Shannon for organising the trip and all that goes with it.

Please take the time to check out the website and facebook link to the gapuwiyak culture and art center, there is much to admire. And if you can attend one of their workshops, all the better.

xx

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All this, yes.
Posted in music, my heart wanders, pia's music July 4th, 2014 by pia

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Like a paper boat on a windy sea,
battered and bruised from the to-ing and fro-ing.
Drenched in drops of tears that fall like rain…
I’ve lost sight of the shore.

All this, yes.

But now that I am surrounded by all that is unfamiliar,
I’m more aware, more awake, than ever before.
And with wide, clear eyes I soon find myself
In a world of wonder I never dared dream about.
It’s in this world that wandering hearts come lost,
To be found.

Poem excerpt from My Heart Wanders.
Music, voice, words and photograph by Pia Jane Bijkerk.

Download. Share. Enjoy.

With Love and Gratitude,

Pia x

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I’m so excited to reveal the details of a very special and fun event that fellow author Kelly Doust (aka The Crafty Minx) and I have been planning…

Kelly has become a dear friend since I moved back to Sydney.  Although I’d heard a little about her from our mutual friend Catherine while I was living in Amsterdam, I first met Kelly when she came along to one of the My Heart Wanders book launch events in 2011. I was struck by her incredible presence, her beauty and style. We chatted briefly at the event, she was so open and honest and at that point, I hoped we would meet again. And we have, many times since, and I feel honoured to have her as my friend – she enhances my world and I can’t wait to share her with you if you haven’t already gotten to know her yourself.

Join us in quaint Rozelle on Saturday August 9 to stroll through one of our favourite flea markets of Sydney as we share our tips and advice for uncovering unique one-off finds in homewares and fashion. After our wonderful treasure hunt we will head over to Ungaro Raw for an intimate chat over delicious sweet treats. Each guest will receive a signed copy of Little Treasures: Made by Hand and A Life in Frocks.

For more details see the invitation above. Tickets are on sale now with numbers strictly limited to keep the event intimate and exclusive. To purchase, just click on the ‘buy now’ button below.

I hope you can join us! Have a beautiful weekend mes amis.

xx

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Posted in child's play, handmade June 9th, 2014 by pia

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Laly adores the beach. Well, mostly the sand, as she’s still “quite scaredy” of the rolling waves and vastness of the ocean. So I thought it’d be great to build her an all-natural sandpit in our backyard so she could play with sand anytime she likes. Of course I like to set myself some major challenges, and for this project I decided that I wanted to source most materials from our own backyard, and to build the whole pit for FREE. That’s right, not spend one single cent.

Inspired by the idea of living as freely as possible, I signed up to my local freecycle group and after only a few weeks of scanning the incoming offers, I found the sand and the shade cloth to cover the pit. I am loving being part of the freecycle community, it’s been a fantastic way to move things out of my home that are no longer in use, and bring in things that we want.

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I dug a hole in a corner of the garden protected by trees for shade.  I found all the rocks outlining the sandpit under and around our house, and moved them all myself with the exception of a giant rock which I enlisted the help of Romain, who kept telling me over and over again “there is no way you can move that rock” and “this is impossible” – he was still saying this while we maneuvered it inch by inch to where I wanted to place it. Within minutes and only a little bit of sweat we had it in position. I couldn’t help myself: “umm, yeah, impossible, did you say?” Oh how I love seeing his dimpled smile appear despite his efforts to hide it. A great example of how nothing is impossible, no matter what anyone tells you! After a few weekends I had finished the sandpit,  just in time for Laly’s birthday party in February.

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This sandpit is one of my proudest home projects, for three reasons: I built it myself from scratch,  I built it for free, it’s beautiful and earthy. Because of this, I get the greatest satisfaction just looking at it, and even more when I see Laly playing in it…

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xx

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