You know how I love little books? Well here’s another to add to my ever-growing collection, and one you might consider for your next European trip – Pia Jane Bijkerk’s divine little gem, Amsterdam: Made By Hand (The Little Bookroom, $18.95.)
This book is not so much a brilliant-cut diamond of a gem, but more a semi-precious stone just dug up from the earth, ready to be polished by hand to unleash its brilliance – much like the artisans featured inside. These specialty boutiques, hidden down cobblestone alleyways, house works by artists, ateliers, collectors, and craftspeople. They seamlessly weave together the old country with new Amsterdam – a city of contradictions, constant inspiration, and one with a deep respect for history, craft, industry, and art.
Pia’s work as a food and lifestyle stylist took her from her Australian homeland to live on a canal houseboat in Amsterdam, which she now uses as a base from which to work in Paris and beyond. It was while searching for props for her own craft that Pia began to initially stumble across these creative people and places, and then to seek them out. She’s done all the hard work for us!
Pia has found the typography artist from whom to post home the most unique of postcards; the only handmade soap shop in the Netherlands; and the rustic furniture restorer whose pieces are no match for luggage limits. Perhaps more appropriate would be a Dutch quilt; a one-off piece from an upcoming clothing designer; a necklace made from knitted silver thread; a set of vintage buttons; or a hand-smocked dress for your little one.
These are the places I love to seek out when I travel. Now I have a guide to help show me the way.
PS. This is actually Pia’s second book – her first Paris: Made By Hand (The Little Bookroom, $18.95.) is also available.