autumn is really here (and I have something to tell you)…
Posted in amsterdam, amsterdam: made by hand, pia's photos, recent work, yellow October 31st, 2009 by pia


It’s beautiful riding around this city on my bike feeling the chilly breeze against my face, leaves falling all around like it’s raining gold.



I thought it about time I tell you what I’ve been up to for the last 5 months. Have you been wondering? Maybe you have, maybe you haven’t, but I’ll tell you anyway…


I’m writing my second book. It’s the next  Made by Hand book and yes, it’s Amsterdam. I’m still working on it and at the moment I’m writing and editing images. Autumn is the perfect time to be writing – being tucked up inside mon petit bateau as the weather turns cold and damp.  Inside here it’s super cosy, and I spend my days making cups of tea and writing about the ateliers and boutiques I’ve chosen for the book. It sounds romantic no doubt, but of course there is alot happening behind-the-scenes. Writing books is intense work. But, the wonderful parts override the hard parts, and one of the best parts of this job is the excitement of discovering these special places and being able to share them with you. One of the difficult parts is keeping them secret for so long! But that will make the book unique and special which is always my goal. So, until I finish I may be a bit sporadic with my posts but oh, I really hope you’re gonna love what I am creating…



Amsterdam: Made by Hand will be released worldwide in April, 2010 by The Little Bookroom.

new website: house of orange
Posted in recent work, stylists September 22nd, 2009 by pia


As most of you already know, House of Orange is the styling agency that represents me as a stylist. Today I’m excited to tell you that they have just launched a new website, and there are heaps of new images from all the stylists and photographers.  I love the way they’ve created a collage/moodboard which changes each time you click on one of the links.  There are some new images in my portfolio too, if you like you can check them out by clicking here.

in paris: my creation is…
Posted in paris, paris: made by hand, recent work August 5th, 2009 by piablog



… ta-dah!!!


A special window dressing at the Parisian English bookshop, WHSmith! The window will be up for the whole month of August, in celebration of my book Paris: Made By Hand



The bookstore is on the corner of the very famous rue de rivoli and rue cambon – right across the road from the gorgeous jardin des tuileries and a short stroll to le louvre.


Do you like it? Oh, oh, I do hope so. I wanted it to be something really special. It was alot of work, alot of fun, and I was able to document parts of the ‘making of’ for you as I know how much you love to see the behind-the-scenes. I am going to show and tell all in the next post. For now, here is my window creation! If you are in Paris, please do stop by to check it out in person…



cloth creatures for Orange Babies…
Posted in amsterdam, photographers, recent work July 30th, 2009 by piablog

A few months ago House of Orange asked if I would help out with one of their ideas for the Tribute to Orange Babies fashion event which was held last Sunday. The concept involved a ‘reverse goodie bag’ of sorts – so instead of people coming to the fashion show and leaving with a goodie bag, they would donate a piece of clothing which would go into ‘goodie bags’ that would be sent to the children in Africa. How cool is that?

So, the idea was to make some photographs displaying the kids clothes that were to be donated. The photographer Hans, fashion stylist Sabine, and I sat down to brainstorm some ideas about what we could make. We came up with an idea of creating a mini set with children giving away their clothes in bundles, like little gifts. We decided to use African fabric as a backdrop, and to make some fun creatures and objects out of the clothes. Then we thought it might be nice to have the kids draw something for the African children, and we would somehow incorporate the drawing into their photo and make little postcard-like images. Hans later added a polaroid look to the images…


Off to work I went, trying to think up how I could make creatures out of clothes without damaging the clothes at all. Tricky huh! I decided to start with some simple ball shapes – I made piles of clothes and then began to wrap them up tightly into balls with thick, colorful cotton thread. I wrapped and wrapped and wrapped until I was happy with the shape and size of each ball.

Then I got a bit more creative. I made a big bunny of sorts by stuffing left over wadding I had in my cupboard into little pants to make floppy ears. Then I made a head by putting the wadding into a stripey t-shirt and wrapping the thick thread around the base and top. I attached the floppy ear shapes to the head by binding the ends tightly together. I added a little white fabric flower to the head to make it ‘pretty’. I made the rest of the body the same way and soon, I had a funny looking bunny creature that I was rather fond of…


…it turned out to be a rather windy day when we were on set (which was the ijburg beach), but lots of fun. Hans and Sabine had rounded up friends with kids so we had lots who were willing to get in front of the camera and strut their stuff! I love working with kids – they are so natural and perfect in every way – no matter what they do, where they look or how they sit, they’re always gorgeous.

In the end I made all sorts of things like balls, flags, bunnies and I even grabbed a windsurf board from the local surf school and wrapped the clothes and thread around it! The boys loved that one.

After the kids had their photo taken we gave them a piece of paper and coloured markers and they sat down and made a drawing. Here is a little poster of all the images together…


I really like the images as little promo cards. I hope they come in handy for Orange Babies, and I hope the children in Africa get all those fab clothes soon. I even saw some tiny white KLM slippers that were donated! So sweet. And tiny flip flops too. Oh, playing with all those baby clothes did make me a wee bit clucky, but what’s new. 🙂


all photographs by hans van brakel for orange babies.

the flea markets of france cover story…
Posted in books, france, pia's photos, recent work May 19th, 2009 by piablog

This is a new book from The Little Bookroom that was also released a couple of weeks ago. It’s called The Flea Markets of France and is a great guide for finding fabulous brocantes around the country. I was asked to create the cover! That’s my handiwork you see above. I collected things that I had bought at brocantes, and lay them out on an old pretty map of France. The fab book design team at The Little Bookroom made the label for the title. What do you think?

In more exciting news, both my book Paris: Made By Hand and this one, The Flea Markets of France were featured in the latest issue of British House & Garden magazine, with special mention about the covers!

The article reads “The covers of most travel guides are predictably pedestrian…so when you come across jackets as charmingly whimisical as those of Paris: Made By Hand and The Flea Markets of France, you foresee something different, more personal, within them.”

I’m chuffed to bits…