Tell us about your professional journey - highlights, learnings, mentors.
I previously practiced sculpture and interior design and was very fond of the intimate scale of model making so the transition into jewellery seemed a natural progression. I loved the idea of working in a miniature scale and it’s accessibility as a sole practitoner. A piece could be invented and realised without having to involve anyone else. I found that experience very immediate and satisfying. I was frustrated just drawing my ideas – I wanted to enjoy process of crafting objects again with my own hands. I taught in the interior design department at RMIT for about 13 years. In the last 4 years my jewellery business got so busy that it became full time.
Describe your creative process.
It was such a welcome relief to discover that my making began to evolve into a much less contrived process. When practicing sculpture & interior I used to meticulously plan every single component of a design proposal. Every step measured and considered. My earlier jewellery work is expressive of this process but as my work evolved it became much looser and after a while it would just kind of happen - sometimes even in rather automatic an unconscious way. It was like my hands just knew what they were doing and operated autonomously. My work started to express a sense of playfulness and became much more of a pleasure to make. I now find planning and measuring a rare and somewhat irritating part of my process and I generally avoid it. It never allowed the possibility to explore the potential within mistakes and happy accidents.
What are you working on right now, personally and professionally?
I am currently working on a very adventurous cocktail ring commission with a wonderful client from Perth. It is the most bonkers and fun commission I have ever worked on. My client Elise has such a wild imagination that I even have to reign her in a little so the ring is in fact possible to construct in the real world.
Favourite self care ritual/s to unwind?
I find walking my dog in my neighbourhood as well as a short meditation in the mornings before I start work very beneficial for my mental health. The days I skip these two little rituals tend to pan out much more chaotically.
Favourite travel experience/s?
Riding push bikes in cherry blossom season in Japan whilst visiting the art sites on Naoshima & Teshima Islands. Some the of the installations and interiors we experienced there were truely ethereal.
What makes you feel most alive?
My family and I did the overland track hike in Tasmania in January of this year. I find hiking in the wilderness and particularly in the mountains makes me feel very awake and in the moment.
What are you looking forward to?
My family and I have booked a trip to Lord Howe island in January so I am very excited to have a travel carrot hovering in the distance after COVID. Lord Howe Island is probably my favourite place I have ever been in the world. The best way to describe it is an idyllic utopian parallel universe.
Who or what is inspiring you right now?
Can't wait to see the new Wes Anderson film The French Dispatch and Christopher Nolans new film Tenet. I spent part of COVID having a Wes Anderson binge.
Insider Melbourne tips?
I really love wandering around the Botanical Gardens in the morning with my sister and my neice. I try to make it there every weekend. I also love the Fitzroy Gardens and Yarra Bend Park.
Summer is our favourite season, what’s a song, taste and place that reminds you of summer?
• Song: Perfect Day by Lou Reed.
• Taste: Cherries and Gin & Tonic remind me of summer.
• Place: My folks home at Sorrento on the Mornington Peninsula always reminds me of summer - especially the spot under the tea tree where we have dinner on warm nights.
Biggest take away from the year?
I just moved my studio home after six years in a more commercial space around the corner. It's been wonderful to set up my work space again from scratch. I am so happy to be working here now. COVID has created an opportunity to reset lot of things in my life which has been a surprisingly positive turn of events.
Tessa wearing the Hera dress in her Northcote studio