I have been planning to share some of the books I love here on the blog, and this is a perfect one to start with:  Little Treasures: Made by Hand is a new book by Pia Jane Bijkerk, and it will be printed very soon (fingers crossed!) The catch is, Pia chose to self-publish it, and she needs our support.

Quiet a few of my favourite volumes are published independently by small press or artists themselves, so I am biased. It feels especially fitting for Pia to choose self-publishing and a local printer for this book, as Little Treasures is a deeply personal project, celebrating handmade gifts she received from her friends close and far after her daughter Laly was born. If the fundraising campaign is successful, the book is to come out in April. I really truly want it to happen, so that I can hold a copy of this beautiful book in my hands, celebrate Pia's courage, and perhaps see a few more people inspired to go ahead and publish their own book. Below are a few questions about the project Pia kindly agreed to answer.

How did having Laly in your life affect your creativity?

Having Laly in my everyday has affected my creativity in every possible way - it's as if my imagination has opened up to a whole new, limitless level...perhaps awakening the sleeping child in me. I have so many ideas that have stemmed from just spending time with her, holding her, and being generally consumed by her. But that has also affected my creativity - being so consumed by her means I have far less time to actually be creative!

I love that in the book you are sharing some of the things you made for her, together with handmade gifts made by other people. I assume you have less time now, when you are able to pick materials and tools at will and make things on a whim. Is your head flooded with ideas you would like to realize when you get a chance? 

Absolutely. It can be incredibly frustrating because I am torn between wanting and needing to spend so much time with her, and just wanting to lock myself in my studio room and get cracking on all these amazing projects I've been thinking about. Once Laly goes to bed at night I usually start work but then I am so tired from the day's activities that I should really be spending that couple of hours resting. It's really hard to find the best balance. 

How different are things you want to do or make now? Have your perspective shifted?

I've always liked the idea of doing short, quick weekend or evening projects, and if anything that desire has become much stronger as my spare time is even less than ever before. Having said that I understand the need for slowness, especially when it comes to raising a family, so I am more mindful of letting things be, and letting ideas develop with time rather than needing to do everything now. 

In a few words - what was involved in the process of creating images for this book? Did you mainly photograph inside your house, using your own collection of props? 

Yes all the images were taken inside my home, mostly when Laly had her day naps as I only use natural light. There is a large window that lets through all the afternoon sun so the floor near that window became my surface for shooting. I used simple, neutral coloured fabric backdrops with varying textures, and petals and leaves for props. In post production I layered some of the images as I love double-exposures to create that dreamy, magical feeling.

You still have a few days to pre-oder your copy of Little Treasures: Made by Hand and ensure that the book gets printed. And in case you were wondering about that beautiful delicate paper flower in the photo above, Pia made it to decorate Laly's room, but you can have your own too, because Pia also created a giant paper wallflower kit to help raise the funds for the book. You can read more about it on Pia's blog and order one via Pozible. 

Let's support self-publishing and printing beautiful books locally, shall we?

All images in this post are copyright Pia Jane Bijkerk.