beautiful book in the making: Solace by Helene Athanasiadis…
Posted in artists, australia, books, photographers December 16th, 2015 by pia

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“A poetic study of the beautiful spaces women create for themselves. Rooms of serenity & calm, to retreat from the everyday…solace.”

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About six months ago, visual artist Helene Athanasiadis wrote to me asking if I’d consider letting her come into my home to photograph me in my sanctuary as part of her upcoming book, Solace. It was two months after my mum died and I was in deep mourning, retreating daily to the very intimate place in my home that Helene was asking to photograph. After perusing her website, something about her collection of beautiful work made me feel calm and open, and I found myself saying “yes”.

It’s with such pleasure that I am able to share with you today some of the pages from her book while it’s still in the making. Take a look at this selection of wonderful spaces she has photographed from some incredible creative souls around the country…

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Helene is based in beautiful Castlemaine, a creative haven in the state of Victoria, Australia. She has degrees in fashion design, archaeology, and art history, and has been creating  fine art photography & mixed media collages for some time now. Her background and influences are evident in her work: “In both mediums I am guided by archaeological concepts; layered, stained & aged, all of which are rendered in muted & textured tones”.

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In my next post I’ll show you some of the photographs she took of my special place, but in the meantime you can check out the artist’s havens she has photographed so far.

Thank you Helene for allowing me to share your wonderful project here.

xx

 

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Little Treasure contributions abound…
Posted in australia, books, charities, little treasures: made by hand November 3rd, 2015 by pia

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Last month I sold the bulk of the last remaining copies of Little Treasures: Made by Hand through an online flash sale. I’m very grateful to every one who bought copies, shared the news, and sent me beautiful emails about the book throughout the past weeks. For those who don’t follow me on instagram or other social media and haven’t already read my appreciation, as I press publish on this blog post I send a big THANK YOU wave of love across the globe to every beautiful soul who supported the book, shared the book and bought the book and packages to make it happen back in 2013 and since. Being on the wild seas of self-publishing and crowd-funding was an incredible adventure, and it continued to be a stormy ride for the 2 years that followed as I discovered my limitations as a human – what I was willing, and not willing, to do. I know a lot of the murkiness had to do with the intensely challenging times in my personal life, and as I am a person who feels much, accepting that I feel that has been part of the challenge.  However I’m so thankful for the experiences on this particular part of my creative life journey, not just for the huge lessons but mostly for the amazing connections.

Today though I have to say that what is lifting me and strengthening my heart wings right now is the knowledge that I have been able to donate hundreds of Little Treasure books to some amazing not-for-profit foundations around the country.  It’s now become one of the most exciting parts of this book’s journey for me – as exciting as it was when the book was first published. It feels like a wonderful way to see out this book’s life.

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I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know where the books have gone and what their purpose and contribution will be within the community. Please click on each link to learn more about the organisations as they are all very special:

Grace Centre for Newborn Care – The Children’s Hospital at Westmead…
The Grace Centre for Newborn care is an  intensive care unit for new born babies at The Children’s Hospital, looking after some of the sickest babies in NSW.

50 Little Treasures: Made by Hand books were delivered to be included in the Christmas hampers given to the parents of each little one in care, with many thanks to Peta Cappello for coordinating.

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Kiss Goodbye to MS – MS Research Australia…
Kiss Goodbye to MS is an initiative of MS Research Australia, and calls on people with multiple sclerosis (MS), their friends, family and colleagues to raise funds for vital research into the cause and cure of MS. MS is the most common acquired neurological disease and affects around 23,000 Australian, of which 3 out of 4 are women. Kiss Goodbye to MS is on facebook, this is a great way to be updated on their events.

48 Little Treasures: Made by Hand books were donated to raise funds, give as gifts and as lucky door prizes for upcoming events. Many thanks to Emma Giunti for reaching out and coordinating the collection and delivery of the books.

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Sarah’s Place – Pregnant Alternatives…
Sarah’s Place is an independent, not for profit organisation that offers a service to women seeking advice on matters to do with an unplanned pregnancy, headed by a team of specialists in Pre AND Post Decision support and consultation.

100 Little Treasures: Made by Hand books were donated to their recent fund-raising event, with many thanks to Linda Smyth for coordinating.

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Sandhills Community Garden – Newcastle
Run by local volunteers, Sandhills is a self-sustaining community garden, supplying residents and visitors with herbs and vegetables without the use of pesticides or artificial fertilisers. The recent addition of a sensory garden provides visitors – including the visually impaired -with an opportunity to experience the aromas of a wide variety of scented plants and herbs. The concept of these gardens has been designed to encourage the community to ‘pop in’ take what you need and leave the rest for other locals.

48 Little Treasures: Made by Hand books were donated to use as part of the garden activities, developing outdoor craft activities using the contents of the book. The books will then be given to participants. With many thanks to Jen Robinson for reaching out, and coordinating the distribution of the books.

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There are a few copies left available to purchase through my online bookstore along with my other titles,  and I have a few remaining boxes of books reserved for charities so if you have any more wonderful suggestions for an organisation that can benefit from the donation of the books please let me know. Organisations that help new mothers or babies would be great, and if you or someone else can be in charge of liaising with the organisation that would be appreciated.

Unless there is any big news, this will be my last post about the book. I’ll update news about further donations on facebook and add them to the book blog page (when I renovate the blog in coming months).

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Little Treasures: Made by Hand – thank you for all you’ve taught me, I’ll never forget you!!

With love,

Pia xx

ONE & ONLY SALE: Little Treasures: Made by Hand
Posted in books, child's play, DIY September 18th, 2015 by pia

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Some of you may have already seen on my instagram feed that I launched a flash sale for Little Treasures: Made by Hand on Tuesday. Thank you for the sales so far!

Here is a recap of my post:

It’s time for me creatively to be out with the old to make room for the new so I’ve decided to have a flash sale for the remaining stock of Little Treasures: Made by Hand at less that wholesale.

Just $10 per copy.

This one-off sale will end this coming Tuesday, September 22. If you’d like to buy books for your shop or to have on hand for the new mothers-to-be in your life this is the time to buy them. If you’d like to order more than one copy then please feel free to email me with your address and quantity and I can send you an invoice including shipping. Otherwise you are welcome to come and pick up your order here in Sydney. 

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As I mentioned on instagram (@piajanebijkerk) I’d like to offer the remaining boxes of books to charities. I’ve had a couple of wonderful suggestions so far like Westmead Hospital and the MS Research Centre which I’ll be offering boxes to, however I have lots of boxes of books (24 in each box) so I’ll need some more suggestions or an organisation that can take all of the remaining books. An organisation that helps new mothers or babies would be great. And if you or someone else can be in charge of liaising with the organisation that would be preferred.

Thank you all. It’s heartbreaking to sell the books off like this,  but I know I need to do it to make room for new possibilities.

Click here to make your purchase.  Or email me here.

With love,

Pia xx

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Posted in books, little treasures: made by hand January 14th, 2013 by pia

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I’m sitting at my desk, with mess and books and pens and paper all around me.  Glancing over at my pin board I see the four ultrasound photos I was given some 15 months ago of our little baby who is today, 11 months old. I remember when I first saw those photos, it just didn’t seem possible that one day I would meet this little being growing inside me. Who was she? I was so eager to get to know her, to hold her and kiss her. I really had no idea how much my life would transform once she was born. No idea. These past 20 months I have experienced an incredible succession of extreme emotional highs and extreme lows, but there is one consistent truth underneath it all that remains and grows stronger by the day: love.

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The  moment we announced the birth of  Laly 11 months ago, parcels began to arrive on our doorstep, each filled with the most beautiful gifts made by hand from around the world. From France came knitted cardigans, booties and toys, and from friends here in Australia came tiny felted slippers and the sweetest crocheted dresses and blankets. I was overwhelmed with gratitude and love for these sweet gift-givers who, with their generosity,  helped get me through each challenging day as a new mum.

But how to find the time to say thank you?  All I managed was a simple email, and it just didn’t seem enough.

Then, one night, in the early, dark hours of morning while feeding Laly, I had an idea. It shone in my mind’s eye as clear and bright as a shining star:

Imagine if I could create a book, photographing and cataloguing each unique object, writing a little about each person who made and sent the gift, sharing links to their websites so others could also buy their beautiful creations or find out more about them. It would be a collection of little treasures, connecting creative souls around the globe. I thought, Yes, this would be the most wonderful way to say thank you…

So I started to make notes and lists in a journal which I carried with me everywhere, a habit from making each of my past books.  Any spare moment I had, I thought about what it would look like. But the reality was evident – if I didn’t have time to write or send a proper thank you card, how was I going to find the time to make a book?

LTMBH_internals_diaryentry_1{note cards and diary pages from my journal}

Let’s be truthful, you all know time management is not one of my strongest character traits. And now, becoming a new mum, I suddenly realised my time was no longer my time.

That’s when serendipity stepped in. Around 6 months ago I had the pleasure of meeting Fran. With Laly in my arms, we got talking over chai, I told her all my grandiose plans, and before I knew it, Fran agreed to be my manager and help me make. stuff. happen…

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With Fran’s incredible dedication and amazing efforts of managing my work life so that I could concentrate on being a mum and being creative over the past few months, I’m so so thrilled to announce that the book has gone from being just a vision in my mind, to something very real…

LTMBH_PJB_bookpages{here are pages back from the designer, ready for me to check & make final changes}

Oh I’m so excited!! It is looking so beautiful. Would you like to know the title?

Little Treasures: Made by Hand.

It will be the third in the “Made by Hand” series. And there are even more exciting things to tell you. This special, limited edition book will be in both English AND French. The French title is : Petits Trésors: faits à la main

PJB_LTMBH_onlinecover500_1the cover! Little Treasures: Made by Hand

I’m so excited to say that we are in the final stages of production, and that the book is ready to be printed!  One of the thoughts that transpired on that night was that I wanted to self-publish this book to have it ready for Mother’s Day 2013. In order to do that I have created my very own little publishing label – par cœur press –  (‘by heart’) and I have a wonderful team working with me including the fabulous designer Vivien Valk and editor Amanda Cromer who both worked with me on My Heart Wanders.

And what’s more? The book will be printed right here in Australia by Arena Printing who specialise in environmentally responsible printing using vegetable-based inks and environmentally-friendly paper stocks.

To be able to pay for the production costs of printing, editing and design, I am about to launch a crowd-funding campaign through Pozible.  As Little Treasures, Petits Trésors is so personal, I really wanted to be able to offer it directly to you guys, as well as independent booksellers & retailers via this campaign, so here’s hoping I can reach the target!

The campaign has JUST GONE LIVE and will end on Laly’s birthday on Thursday, February 14. Check out the page for a sneak peek look at some of the pages, and for all the information. Not only is the book available to order through the campaign right now, but there are some amazing packages created exclusively to help raise funds.

LTMBH_internals_threadopenerhere is a chapter opener from the book.

Far out! Putting myself out there in the hope that you guys might jump on board and help support this project is really really scary. Remember my first ever blog post 6 years ago? That’s how I feel right now: My heart is racing.

If you live in Europe and are interested in purchases any of the packages other than the book on its own, the shipping is only available within Australia, NZ, USA, & UK  however if you really want one of the other packages, just get in touch and we’ll get you a personalised freight cost.

Okay, I’ll leave you to peruse the site now, and I’ll get on with jumping around the house like a jittery jack rabbit.

Thank you dear friends! I’ll be updating you on the progress of the book and the campaign every few days. I hope you’ll help spread the word any way you can, and if you would like a copy of the book, head straight to the Little Treasures/Petits Trésors project page and click away! Merci merci…

with love.

 x
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!

xx

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

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