the window display “in the making”, part one…
Posted in amsterdam: made by hand, behind the scenes May 27th, 2010 by pia

I was just thinking this morning about how, because of the nature of my work,  I am not able to show you my projects while they are “in the making”. Part of the job of being in this type of creative industry is keeping the work-in-progress as close to one’s skin as possible until it hits the shelves – it’s possibly one of the hardest parts of my job because when I get a good idea I want to shout it out at the top of my lungs and share it with the world immediately. Instead, when people ask me what I’m working on I have to just say with a smile “stuff: really really good stuff”.

But this morning I thought, why not share the “making of” the american book center window display while I’m actually making it? Why not, right? I think it’s one of the only projects I have going on at the moment that I can share with you while I’m going through each stage. I may not have the time to go in depth about each phase but I can share photos as I go, and you can follow along my train of thought via the visuals. So what do you say, are you in? Yes? Okay, great! This will be fun…

So just to give you a quick brief so you’re up to speed on the whole window display progress thus far: The window dimensions are 170cm high x 430cm wide x 26 cm deep. It’s a tricky space to work with – very narrow, very long. There are also restrictions to take into consideration like the display can only take up about 70 cm of height in the window so that there is still clear space to see through, and there can be nothing fragile or expensive in there in case of theft. It’s also a difficult space to work in so the display needs to be easy to slide into place (I learnt this the hard way the last time – I spent about 3 or 4 hours, squeezing into the side window space while the sun beat down on the window, trying to attach tiny thin pieces of string to the ceiling, it was a disaster!). So this time I’m trying to be smarter about it and create something that takes up the most amount of space and can just slide into position. This weekend my lovely friend Rani is going to help me make the display and then I’ll be putting it up in the window this coming Tuesday.

To give you a visual idea of the space, above is a photo of the current window display showcasing  tattoo artist Henk Schiffmacher’s book Encyclopedia for The Art and History of Tattooing (which looks like an amazing book by the way!). As you can see, it’s a huge window, rather daunting actually. And as you know, my book is rather little. So the challenge is on! It would of course, take too many Amsterdam: Made by Hands to make a visual impact in that window so I’m taking the backdrop of Amsterdam as my window display inspiration…

…hang on, that’s not Amsterdam, it’s Paris! It’s Alexia’s cute atelier to be precise, but it’s inspiring for what I have in mind. I love the bright colours of these shops, particularly the red and yellow, I think these colours would really pop in the window. In my home at the moment I have some beautiful droopy tulips and other dying flowers, they have been a great source of inspiration too…

(here I imagine colourful garlands, perhaps made from paper flowers in bold hues)

(and here I love the colour combo of the yellow with the purple, reds, oranges)

Speaking of red, yellow, and everything gorgeous in between, I spotted Amy from Eat Drink Chic’s lovely engagement/wedding photos the other day –  I adore the flower display, take a look…

above two photos by  jonathon ong

…so sweet! Although I cannot have glass or anything like this in the window, I love the colour combination. So with all of the above in mind, here is the colour palette I’m going to work with…

I’ve been collecting some odd bits and bobs around the boat, on the search for some paper, fabric and ribbon that I have in these hues. This is what I’ve found so far…

And here are some wallpapers and tapes that I’ve scanned, these will work perfectly I think…

So that’s where I’m at so far. I haven’t told you what I plan to do exactly, but I will reveal more in ‘part two’. Have a lovely evening, mes amis.


« « « Leave a comment » » »


  1. [email protected] TreeSpace Studio says

    I love works in progress, and definitely an unusual post from ya! BEAUTIFUL color palette and objects…*sighing*

    May 27th, 2010 | #

  2. BB says

    wow, thanks so much for sharing your inspirations and thoughts on that project, now i´m really looking forward to seeing the finished window (or even more sneak peaks of the progress) greets from vienna BB

    May 27th, 2010 | #

  3. holly says

    ohhh pia. this post is the good in my day. flowers in hanging glass bottles? your work, everything you do, is like a fluid daydream in motion – one i am wholly and solely completely addicted to. i’ll miss you in amsterdam by a nick in time, but i will be camped out here for updates and photos to enjoy and celebrate vicariously.

    May 27th, 2010 | #

  4. beauty comma says

    i love this colour palette, it’s fresh and warm and eye-catching. it’ll be fun “watching” you work and seeing the result!

    May 27th, 2010 | #

  5. Sarah says

    This is interesting to see your process. I look forward to seeing more!

    May 27th, 2010 | #

  6. erin says

    love those bottles. just strung up something similar in my place–can’t wait to fill the bottles with something as colorful!

    May 27th, 2010 | #

  7. Mandy says

    Wow, that is some “really, really good stuff” …. love the colours and seeing where your inspiration comes from … it is all so exciting !!!

    May 28th, 2010 | #

  8. Maria says

    Your inspiration is inspiring, but all I have to style is my half of the computer table…

    Looking at pretty things and ideas give pleasure to the day.

    May 28th, 2010 | #

  9. Emma says

    i find people’s processes absolutely fascinating..almost better than the finished project. show us more!

    May 28th, 2010 | #

  10. Suzi Poland says

    Pia, thanks for sharing, always a delight to read and see your visuals on your process, so delightful I slipped away from my world for a blissful moment. Have fun, look forward to next post!

    May 28th, 2010 | #

  11. Masha says

    That is so amazing, thank you for sharing this – the photos are absolutely magical, the colours are so inspiring…

    May 28th, 2010 | #

  12. linda dacey says

    What a hectic creative and inspirational gal you are; how do you ever manage to sleep? The hanging floral display is so simple and yet stunning; thanks…

    May 28th, 2010 | #

  13. Sarah says

    so lovely to take a peep into your window inspirations, wishing you a wonderful book launch…

    May 28th, 2010 | #

  14. Swirly says

    I found you through Tara’s blog, and this is a beautiful space you have here! Looking forward to seeing more from your book.

    May 28th, 2010 | #

  15. Joan says

    love, love, LOVE this post! Eager for AMBH… and this work-in-progress makes me smile. The bottles, the twine, the luscious colors… it is as though you send a pick-me-up right over the computer! Wishing you great fun and much encouragement during your book launch. Wish I could be there.

    May 29th, 2010 | #

RSS feed for these comments. | TrackBack URI