My Heart Wanders: photographs from the book & design discussions…
Posted in amsterdam, book design, my heart wanders, pia's photos August 21st, 2012 by pia

So here is the first post in the series “My Heart Wanders: photographs from the book & design discussions”, as mentioned in my last post to celebrate the opening of my online bookshop.

This particular photograph is one of my favourites. It is the chapter opener for Chapter One, Reflection: Leaving Home. For each chapter opener, I wanted to create an image that visually described the story that follows. Each image represents how I was feeling at that point in my life, and what I was doing in my life.

To create this image, I had the idea to create some sort of reflection in a shop glass window. I spent days looking for the perfect window – something with pretty reflections, but also one that I could access from inside with the camera and tripod. As I was living in Amsterdam at the time, I rode my bike around and gazed a thoughtful eye around at all the windows. I lay in bed at night, flicking through all the shop windows catalogued in my mind’s eye each day, and wondered  which would be best. Then it dawned on me – one of my favourite windows and window displays in Amsterdam had always been that of Hilde Tempelman, whose beautiful work and atelier I featured in Amsterdam: Made by Hand. It was perfect! So I called Hilde and asked if she would mind if I come play in her window one morning and as lovely as always, she said “Ja, come on down!”.

So with my little antique rattan suitcase full of props, camera bag slung over my shoulder and tripod attached at the rear of my bicycle, I headed down to Hilde’s studio shop.

I picked a corner of the window and set up my camera and tripod inside the shop. I decorated the window with various props, set my camera on a timer and dashed outside to place myself in frame. It was a bit tricky but after a number of takes, I started to get the right feel and look I was after.

It was a lot of fun to photograph this chapter opener using Hilde’s gorgeous creations as inspiration and props, and it was just as much fun developing the image further in postproduction. I wanted to create a sense of flight so I overlayed the original image with a wing illustration I made using a photograph of bird wings I took some months earlier, making them transparent and then adding a warm colour tone and splashes of ink.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this first look at some of the design elements of My Heart Wanders. The next post will look at how I created the numbers for each chapter opener and what they represent.

+to purchase My Heart Wanders, click here.

THE BOOKSHOP is now online & open for business…

I know it’s not a revolutionary idea, and I realise most of you figured I should have done this a long time ago but here it is, enfin, my very own online bookstore so that you can buy a signed copy of My Heart Wanders, Amsterdam: Made by Hand or Paris: Made by Hand any time you like, delivered anywhere in the world.

You’ll notice on the sidebar of the blog there is a button called “THE BOOKSHOP”. You can click on that whenever you’d like copies of the books sent to friends as gifts or of course for yourself. Each book can be signed if you leave a note in the comments section of your order, and each book will be wrapped in brown paper and string. No doubt with a little dried flower from my garden attached to it.

In celebration of finally opening a permanent online bookshop, I thought you might like to learn about the design of My Heart Wanders and how I came to create some of the pages. Those who have the book will know now that with the help and guidance of head book designer Vivien Valk, I designed each double page spread uniquely (in other words, there were no templates involved) as I wanted each page to be an artwork in itself, and for the book to be something that you could open at any random page and find inspiration within each single page of illustrations, images and text. With over 300 pages, there is much to explore and discuss about how it all came to be…

I hope you’ll enjoy this little series of posts. And I hope you will visit THE BOOKSHOP soon. Merci mes amis, have a wonderful weekend!


PS I should mention that I haven’t had the time to put shipping costs in place for every country in the world, but each continent is covered so if you live in a country that doesn’t have a shipping cost in place, just look for the nearest country and use that (just be sure to enter your exact shipping details), otherwise send me an email and I’ll invoice you directly. The shipping is expensive to send books from Australia, unfortunately there is nothing I can do about that but each will be signed and wrapped by me so I hope that will count for something. x