wandering window displays in sydney…
Posted in my heart wanders, nature, recent work, stores May 24th, 2011 by pia

gathering my supplies for the window displays

It’s been a lot of fun gathering leaves and tree branches from parks and the side of the road, then installing all this found nature into shop windows. It’s incredibly satisfying, especially when I see people stop on the street and take a look – taking a moment out of their busy day to see something a little unusual, hopefully capturing their hearts and imaginations.

The first window in Sydney I installed was at the bustling Better Read Than Dead on King St, Newtown. This was one of my favourites to install, I think because I had the chance to incorporate some of Tracey Deep‘s incredible floral sculptures…

Tracey let me choose a number of pieces in her studio. I settled on these marvelous sphere sculptures, and some delightful dried banksia branches. I thought they might just work perfectly hanging from the ceiling next to my old chair, to create a kind of dream-like forest scene – a place to sit quietly and read a chapter or two from your favourite book. I used the packing paper flowers as well, and cut out some of my butterfly illustrations…

The cushion is something I’d made years ago with some left over sample fabric from Signature Prints. The backdrop comprises of linen strips that I’d used in the houseboat for curtains, and the leaves I found at Callan Park…

The next window I created was at sweet Oscar & Friends in Surry Hills. This window had quite different dimensions – it was tall and skinny, with only a small ledge for sitting props. So for this window I decided to focus on the glass itself and print then trace an entire passage from within the book…

Once I put the text up on the window to trace, I loved its roughness and was tempted to leave the strips of printed text as is…

Above is my little work station while creating the window.

It started to get dark rather quickly and I needed the outside light to be able to trace the text, so I had to stop taking photos of it and focus.  It was labour intensive, but once I finished and stripped the paper off, I loved the results. Then I wondered, what to do with the rest of the window? And how to draw the eye to the text? Well, I just happened to have found a huge eucalyptus branch the day before which had fallen from a tree in a car park. So I installed that up against the side of the window – I was pleasantly surprised to find that it was an ideal fit. Then to create an autumn tree effect, I attached branches of dried leaves along with some ribbon from the top of the window…

While I was searching for which passage of text to use a few days prior to installing the display, I opened the book and unexpectedly, it flopped open to one of the beginning pages that talks about how my trip to Paris came about. In it I mention that I was having an after-shoot drink with an art director friend – that after-shoot drink just happened to be around the corner from Oscar & Friends, at a neighbouring bar. So now here I was just around the corner but 4 years on, making a window display about the book that I wrote based on the journey I took that stemmed from that very conversation. I find that amazing. Anyway, back to the window display: It was pitch black outside by the time I finished the window, but I took a photo regardless of the lack of light…

And then before I headed off to Brisbane the next day, I took a quick detour back to Oscar & Friends to take a photo of it in the daylight…

The beauty of doing window displays is that they are so much about being there, in the moment – you have to be there to really see it, as windows are not easy to photograph with reflections and all. There are always lots of textures and layers which is what makes them wonderful, 3d forms of art.

Next up was the fabulous Shearers in Leichhardt… hello Norton St…

This time Ashlea and Romain were there to help (merci beaucoup mes amis!), so we got the window installed in next to no time. I love that all the props I’ve used in all these windows have been found, salvaged or handmade. For this window, I found a lovely branch the day before while driving through the residential streets of Bondi Beach. We attached it with fishing line, and then attached the paper flowers and scattered the leaves around the base, along with copies of the book…

Thank you Shearers, Oscar & Friends, and Better Read Than Dead for your continued support, and for letting me play in your beautiful windows. And a big hug and thank you to Tracey Deep for lending me some of her floral sculptures.

Last weekend Stef from Newspaper Taxi and I created a window display in her gorgeous store in Newtown (and had a party to celebrate it!), here is a sneak peek of the display…

…but more about that soon. For now, be sure to check out the window at Newspaper Taxi –  there is something you can add to it too (I’ll let Stef tell you about it when you go and visit).

This Saturday will be the very last window display event in Sydney to celebrate the launch of the book.  It will be at Little Paper Lane in Mona Vale. It’s exciting to wrap this month of events up on the Northern Beaches – my old stomping ground. On Thursday night I’ll be talking at Mona Vale Library – the very place I used to go to almost every afternoon after high school. And then Saturday we’ll have a party at Little Paper Lane– I’m so looking forward to being surrounded by family and locals, new friends and old – I hope you can come along! Check out the details right here. I wonder what I’ll create in Jayde’s window? I think since it’s my last, I’m going to go all out – Mona Vale, here I come!

a jumble of words, a jumble of thoughts and ideas…

PS a few people have asked what I use to write on the windows – I’m using posca pens in white, in different sizes, and I bought them at modern times on king st, newtown.You just need a bit of water and a rag to wipe them off glass. I find the pens are much easier to use than paint and a paint brush. Have fun!

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  1. anastasia says

    so wonderful! wish i could have seen you in action…the windows look amazing! i will have to venture by some of these places to take a look…

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  2. Lisette says

    One of the images incorporates this very word: exquisite! Wish I was in Australia and not Barcelona, so I could see your windows in person! Yet grateful for the beautiful photos you took to share with us…

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  3. Nat@ dear little house says

    The texture from those leaves is really lovely 🙂 They look beautiful, well done!

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  4. Amanda says

    i cant believe ive missed all these at some of my favourite stores. 🙁
    ive spent many an afternoon in Shearer’s and Better Read than Dead.
    Your imagination and creativity is incredible and so inspiring.
    congratulations, lovely friend. xx

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  5. Ariane says

    Dear Pia,
    you are really a busy bee! You create enchanting tresures.
    x Ariane (waiting for my ‘My Heart Wanders’-book in Germany…)

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  6. Leslie Oschmann says


    May 24th, 2011 | #

  7. Oliver @ Sabi Style says

    Ahh the very essence of the magic that is a creativity.

    I so much that everything is used is handmade or upcycled. It adds so much soul to the spaces.

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  8. barbara says

    So beautiful, delicate, poetic….

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  9. Wendy says

    I treasure your book Pia, such lovely words and pictures and your windows are amazing. You must be exhausted. Well done xx

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  10. katiecrackernuts says

    Your windows are always so beautiful and I am reminded I was going to invite you and ya fella up here for a bushwalk.
    You must come when the wattle are and the gymea out, around September / October. I’ll remind you again. The bush is on fire with all the colour.

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  11. misty says

    so inspiring… everything you share! thank you.
    i wish i could visit each and every shop.

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  12. nathalie says

    thank you for letting us be with you in Australia and sharing this very special moment through your beautiful photos and display windows … i live in France and I should be receiving your gorgeous book mid june, i am becoming so impatient !!

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  13. BODIE and FOU says

    This is so beautiful and poetic Pia. I think the windows you created are amazing and I’ve just written a post about it


    May 24th, 2011 | #

  14. Cez says

    so fantastic….i am in love with the windows!!!! xxx

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  15. Dee Purdy says

    these make my heart sing.

    May 24th, 2011 | #

  16. Brittany says

    beautiful! this makes me want to do something with the windows in my house, even though i have nothing to promote! 😉

    May 25th, 2011 | #

  17. Denise Booth says

    Live in Tassie and no hope of catching any of your promotions but did manage to buy one of your signed books from Scarlett Jones in Auburn whilst spending last weekend in Melbourne. That is as close as it gets to seeing you in person. Ah maybe one day!

    May 25th, 2011 | #

  18. annawithlove says

    just brilliant. gorgeous windows so creative and inspiring!

    May 25th, 2011 | #

  19. Leah says

    Pia, Your window displays are divine. I love the earthy whimsical nature of them. I am half way through your book and I cannot put it down. I can’t explain in words how it makes me feel, but I know my heart loves it!! Leahx

    May 25th, 2011 | #

  20. Mandy says

    I saw the Oscar & Friends window in Surry Hills the other day … lovely.

    May 25th, 2011 | #

  21. susan cropper says

    oh pia – it’s charming and magical- come do my windows at Loop in London next Christmas!!!!!! Any time you like. x

    May 25th, 2011 | #

  22. Maria says

    Whatever you do is so special!

    May 25th, 2011 | #

  23. Chelsea Lea says

    哇塞! Speechless! ~.~

    June 3rd, 2011 | #

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  27. Nicole says

    I just received My Heart Wanders yesterday and have read 1/2 the book. I LOVE IT!!! Thank you for your beautiful book and beautiful posts!!

    June 10th, 2011 | #

  28. Karla MacLean says

    I just simply cannot wait to buy this book. I’ll hop on the train and make a day of it (I’m 2 &1/2 hours away).The window displays are spectacular.

    April 5th, 2012 | #

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