the solace of my bedroom, as captured by Helene Athanasiadis…
Posted in interiors, photographers, the sydney cottage January 4th, 2016 by pia

HELENE_ATHANASIADIS_PIAJANEBIJKERK_SOLACE_2015_2 welcome to my home. please come in, no need to take your shoes off…

Happy New Year mes amis.  How do you feel about the year to come? There has been so much change in the world, and I sense there will be much more to come yet. But change is transformation, and I can feel our world is in dire need of it. In my creative life,  I feel ready to come out of my healing cocoon. I learned so much in 2015, and wrote and wrote and wrote all the while.  So there is a book or two or three there, and in time all those words and photographs and experiences will take shape. If there is one thing I have in abundance it’s ideas and in the past year the well has not dried up – it’s now overflowing.  It’s always been my dream to be able to realise and share not necessarily every single idea, but at least a steady flow of them.  Ideas not only need creative thinking but also time and money, and these two requirements have never been in abundance in my life, and I’ve finally accepted that these need attention too. So finding a way to get the balance I need to pull myself into alignment with what I’m called to do in this life is now my priority… without compromising my ethics which, for those of you who have come to know me quite well, is as resolute as ever, if not more nowadays.  And although I still feel a little at sea about what the direction will look like and where it will take me from here on in after taking the last year off from all creative commitments, I am trusting the process and I’m trusting the deepest depths of my self.

As I set sail on this year’s vessel, my first port of call with french boy (as the only other member of the crew so far – this is a small boat!) is the creation of a revitalised online space: one that houses all my creative endeavours under one roof and is once again interactive and free flowing.  Since my focus has been elsewhere over the past few years my online space has been neglected. It’s become outdated, haphazard and disorganized, and it needs some attention & love. So in coming weeks I’ll take you to this new space when the walls have been built and the paint has dried.

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As promised in an earlier post, here now I share with you some beautiful photographs by Helene Athanasiadis of my very personal offline space – my bedroom. This room has been my retreat over the past few years. It’s the place I have spent the most time – mothering, resting, grieving, healing, learning, and writing…

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As part of her photographic project and book Solace, Helene has captured what this space means to me and it feels special to have this documented and shared in such a beautiful way.

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Although this house has been falling apart around us over the past year, seeing these photographs has made me appreciate the space for what it has been and what it still is for me today. As my own projects unfurl, I’ll be sharing with you more of my home and how it’s evolved over the years.

2327265_origsurrounded by talented souls: my favourite dutch bag made by leslie oschmann, and some beautiful organic cotton garments by mady doijes

Thank you again, Helene.

With love,

Pia

christmas, chez nous…
Posted in christmas ideas, interiors, nature December 23rd, 2015 by pia

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While others might revel in this time of year, I have felt a growing resistance to it over the years, especially the last decade. On reflection I can see there are many personal reasons for this, but I can also feel it connects with a collective consciousness as the world opens to change…

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As I’m not religious (in that I don’t follow any particular faith), I’ve always felt conflicted with celebrating Christmas in what it traditionally symbolizes. In past years we’ve just pulled back from it and done our own thing. And that was okay until we had a child… how to make this time of year retain the magic and joy for a child but also give it deep meaning that is in alignment with our family without following the hype and conformity?

I have been able to take some wonderful and small steps toward reinventing this time for my family. This year I have the emotional and physical space to create what we want and need as a family without family pressure, social or religious conformity, hype, excessive-consumption, drama or stress. For us that means rather than focus on “Christmas” as the destination, we choose to focus on the journey we’ve had together and as individuals this year. So it becomes about gentle reflection and slowing down toward the end of year rather than speeding up. And instead of just showing up and receiving, the emphasis is on the giving which also and most importantly for me includes giving care to self. For us, this time of year in our home is about creating tranquility and peace, along with strengthening the connection to earth by spending as much time in nature as possible, bringing it in and expressing gratitude for it daily…

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A few changes that I’ve been able to put in place this year include:

…being ‘just the three of us’ for the whole day of Christmas – it will be completely free of plans and be inspired by nature and the weather. Beach, mud puddles, playing with puzzles, who knows, but it will be about being together.
…Romain and I haven’t given gifts to each other for Christmas since we’ve been together and we don’t want to but I didn’t want the tree to have gifts just for Laly so – as suggested by wonderful Meg who runs the playgroup that Laly and I attend – Laly has made a gift with her Papa to give to me and her and I will make a gift for her Papa to give to him. I have also made a gift for her so each of us will receive a handmade gift. This for me has been one of the loveliest experiences and I’m thrilled to make it a new tradition.
…not visiting a single department store or mall in the lead up to Christmas. I’ve done without this for years as I only shop locally or online for handmade items, but this year I decided to make it an essential part of the preparation.
…this year I introduced an advent wreath on our table to acknowledge and express gratitude toward the mineral, plant, animal and human kingdoms on earth. Traditionally this is religious but I choose to focus on nature as the divine, and each week we light a candle for each kingdom while adding a found piece of nature that represents that realm…

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…And I made a wreath from foraged flora for the front door in the first week to express gratitude for the plants we have around us…

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There is much more I’d love to add and rather than strive to get it all together now, I’ll implement the shifts slowly over the years and see how they evolve as Laly grows… and I have no doubt she will want input on it all as she gets older.  I can’t wait to share all these ideas with you. Along with this I’ve been creating some beautiful projects & I look forward to sharing all of it with you later in the new year.

Processed with VSCOcam with f1 presetmaking little trees

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Processed with VSCOcam with f2 presetLaly’s frangipani sculptural piece hangs in the hallway and smells delicious

In the new year I’ll be transforming my creative online space and evolving it into the next phase of my creative work. In the meantime, I’ve been having fun in my growing online store by adding some new book packages and a special digital download of the how-to projects from Little Treasures

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Click here to find out more.

So this year for the first time in a very long time, I am feeling joy and gratitude and contentment about the coming few days. And although it will be the first Christmas without my Mum in my life, incredibly I feel her presence stronger than ever. I know she is here with us, I feel her love everyday and it feels amazing – like the warmest blanket on the coldest night, or the sweetest ocean breeze on a hot summer’s evening.

Last but not least, with all that I’ve learned from this year’s journey of self discovery and healing, stars have become my central theme for the holiday season because we are all made from stars…

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Eternal Love,

Pia xx

Welcome to Stef Bassett’s Hessian Shack…
Posted in australia, handmade, interiors November 18th, 2015 by pia

Processed with VSCOcam with f3 presetStef’s studio space in her hessian shack.

I wish to begin by acknowledging that in this post we are visiting the country of the Bundjalung people.  I pay respect to their tribal elders, I celebrate their continuing culture, and I acknowledge the memory of their ancestors.*

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Last week Laly and I flew up to the incredibly beautiful Rainbow Region of Northern New South Wales – the Bundjalung people’s nation area. Also known as the the Northern Rivers and Byron Bay Hinterland. Invited by my very dear friend Nat, we stayed for a week and together toured around part of the region, visiting The Channon markets, Byron and beyond. On Friday we drove out to our friend Stef Bassett’s shack set back from the road on a field in the bush among cows and horses. You may recall Stef used to own a beautiful store in Newtown, Sydney called Newspaper Taxi, where she hosted one of the most special book launch events for me for My Heart Wanders in 2011. Now Stef lives here, off the grid in an original 1940’s farm shack which she has transformed into a creative wonderland, take a look…

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Laly and I sat in wonder, looking around at all that Stef and her partner Ben have made, collected and displayed – everything being found or crafted from tossed away materials. It felt like we were sitting inside a hidden away hessian-lined treasure chest…

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While we chatted at the kitchen table, Laly happily (and quietly!) drew pictures in one of Stef’s notebooks, soaking in the unique atmosphere. Besotted with Stef’s cat Rupert Bunny, who was a wild kitten rescued from a wood mill and has the most incredible emerald eyes, Laly would wander in and out of Stef’s bedroom to pat Rupe who had nestled himself into the window frame. Laly then asked Stef if she could draw a picture of Rupe for her, so Stef drew the body and left the eyes and other details for Laly…

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All the while Ben sat across the table from Laly, strumming his guitar and playing Devendra Banhart’s Little Yellow Spider…

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The Hessian Shack has no electricity (except a little bit of solar), no hot running water, no TV, no big appliances – their ‘fridge’ is a steel chest with ice. Stef’s mobile phone, when in reception,  is their only connection to the online world. Thankfully for us she updates her life and creations on instagram regularly. As an artist Stef works in many mediums, and at the moment she is working on a range of ceramics which she will be selling soon.

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For more info about Stef and her work, you can email her here, and there is more information about her on her instagram profile. Stef was also featured in Kara Rosenlund’s beautiful new book Shelter.

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It was such a wonderful experience, thank you Stef and Ben for welcoming us and sharing a slice of your world with us here.

With Love,

Pia

*{From today, my dear readers, each time I write about an Australian place – be it about visiting a creative dwelling or a beautiful landscape – at the beginning of each of these particular posts I will write an acknowledgement and pay respects to the ancestors of the land. It’s my way of learning and connecting to my country of birth, and sharing that connection with you. Thank you. }

Kaspia’s Caravan pop up in Surry Hills…
Posted in creative ventures, homewares, interiors, stores, stylists, sydney November 18th, 2015 by pia

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My beautiful friend Kaspia has opened her pop up store Kaspia’s Caravan this year at the old Garden Life shop in Surry Hills. Having dressed it up in the most glorious of colours, motifs and jewels, it’s the perfect location for her incredible collection of wares from around the world, take a look…

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…Laly, where are you?…

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I wrote about Kaspia’s Caravan earlier this year, click here to read my post with more info about Kaspia, and here to visit her website.

The shop is open 7 days a week – Monday to Saturday from 10-5pm, and Sunday’s from 11-4pm. Kaspia’s there herself from Wednesday to Saturday if you want to pop in to see her and say hi.

It will be open for 3 months, until the end of January, with new treasures arriving weekly.

357 Cleveland St, Surry Hills.

Congratulations Kaspia on creating another amazing place for people to get lost and found in, a true treasure trove.

With Love,

Pia xx

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Related Posts :
Kaspia's Caravan...
Welcome to Stef Bassett's Hessian Shack...
christmas, chez nous...
Little Treasure contributions abound...
beautiful book in the making: Solace...
mother. nature.
Kaspia’s Caravan…

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What a beginning to 2015, for all of us… much energy moving around, can you feel it? Old energy moving out, new energy moving in, big changes in the air. I have many thoughts on it that I’d love to share with you and I’d love to hear your thoughts, to see how we are shifting and changing as a collective. I haven’t been blogging much this past year, as many of you know who follow my instragram, there are a number of personal reasons for that. But I miss being here. I miss this space, I miss you.  And this year I have some ideas on how I can be here some more, with your help. Because I’ve come to see this is a special place, a creative passage I need in my life – a place in the past where I’ve been able to thrive, to create freely, to move forward. And it feels really important to keep it going, keep it alive and fresh, for all of us. It’s not something I take for granted, and I’m very grateful for it, for you, both silent and spoken readers – we share something together, something we can’t really see, or pinpoint. But it’s there, it’s present and strong and it needs to grow…

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Today though, I wanted to share with you a creative endeavour of a dear friend of mine. Her name is Kaspia, and for years she has been dreaming of opening her very own pop-up shop, filled with incredible treasures she has collected from her exotic travels around the globe over the years. Kaspia has an incredible, unique style. I’ve long admired her sense of colour, wonder and energy, and I’ve been so excited for her, to see her dream become a reality and be shared with the world. You guys know how I feel about taking risks and following your heart!  Kaspia opened her pop up shop last month in the heart of Sydney in Potts Point, in the stunning artist’s space known as The Yellow House

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There are rugs, cushions, quilts and throws from the most remote parts of the world. There are necklaces, bags, boxes and bracelets, tables, day beds, lamps and baskets from Mexico, the Far East, the Himalayas and beyond.

The collection is out of this world and I urge you to go and visit before it closes on February 1st, 2015, that’s only two weeks away.

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A big warm, all encompassing hug to Kaspia for making her dream come true and sharing it with all of us… If you’d like to learn more about her wild and wonderful life, read her interview on Daily Imprint, and for more information about the pieces in her store, you can read her blog, there is lots to learn about the collection, where each piece came from and how they are made.

To celebrate I’ve put a few copies of My Heart Wanders and Little Treasures: Made by Hand in her store as a package for $65 (instead of the normal retail price of $85) so that means you basically get Little Treasures: Made by Hand for just $5 when you buy both books together. I know that’s crazy, but I want to! It’s only for this two weeks, so I hope it will encourage you to get down to Kaspia’s shop pronto. Someone commented the other day that they received My Heart Wanders as a graduation gift from a relative and I thought that was a wonderful idea.

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Looking forward to hanging out here in my blog house this year, in between working on my next book. Here’s to the new year, to celebrating our connections, and to being who we are meant to be, with our hearts open…

Pia xx

all photographs by Pia Jane Bijkerk