Pinerolo - the Children’s Book Cottage
Pinerolo, is a beautiful Italian word meaning ‘place of pines’, which just rolls deliciously off the tongue.
It's also the name of the Children’s Book Cottage, run by Margaret Hamilton AM and her daughter Melissa, in Blackheath, in the beautiful Blue Mountains. Pinerolo is a unique establishment in NSW, and has become a mecca for anyone interested in children’s picture books. Margaret and Melissa chose the name 'Pinerolo' as it reflected their close association with Italy, and especially their adopted Italian family in Pinerolo, Piedmonte.
Margaret’s passion for picture books, her enthusiasm for Australian illustrators, and her recognition of the need for wider promotion of picture books, led her to establish Pinerolo, with Melissa, a graphic design professional who is responsible for the creative direction of Pinerolo.
Pinerolo was originally the Hamilton's home. The decision to transform the original two-bedroom cottage into Pinerolo set off a long 'to do' list, which included pulling up old carpet, ‘doing up’ the house, polishing the floorboards, preparing the artwork for hanging and installing professional art tracks.
On opening day, 13 November 2010, nearly two hundred people turned up. Since then Pinerolo has gone from strength to strength.
So what exactly does Pinerolo do?
Pinerolo provides a unique venue for the permanent exhibition of original Australian picture book artworks, and work by illustrators in residence. It also offers selected pieces of artwork for sale.
It aims to educate both children and adults in an inspiring environment. As well as the opportunity to view the exhibitions, it offers a range of courses, including ‘Picture Books @ Pinerolo’, where Margaret is joined by an award-winning author or illustrator, a research collection of children’s books, and books about children's literature, and an exciting writers & artists in residence program. They also welcome group and school visits with programs and workshops for school students and teachers.
It is the only place of its kind in New South Wales with original picture book artworks that Margaret has collected.
Pinerolo also offers the perfect accommodation for writers, illustrators and researchers looking for a peaceful environment to complete a project. It is from here that the Illustrators in Residence program operates, where illustrators live in the cottage for one week and spend their days working on a project. Applications are invited from emerging or early career illustrators who have begun or will commence work on artwork for a children’s picture book during the course of their proposed residencies. Those illustrators lucky enough to receive a mentorship have full use of the art studio and facilities and a daily consultation with Margaret.
Margaret likes nothing better than talking to children and adults about picture books. Her workshops answer questions such as where do picture books come from? How are they written? Who draws the pictures? School children are usually fascinated by the various stages in the development of picture books and have the added bonus of an activity sheet that takes them around the exhibition of original artwork.
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And if you'd like to know more about Margaret, read our interview with her, here on the Creative Kids Tales Website!
Introduction by Fiona C Lloyd