Hey Tess, it's no secret that we're big fans of your work, and we're forever inspired by your beautiful words and creations. Can you tell us what inspires you?
The pursuit of seeing beauty and being awake to it is the undercurrent and leading of where I find all my inspiration. I seek it through conversation and my electric communion with my Creator, it’s here, my eyes become awake to it and from this place, I create.
You're also mum to three beautiful little girls, perfectly named Peaches, Junee and Hopps. How do you balance work with motherhood?
For me personally, it’s been about knowing my season. Creativity has felt instinctive throughout life and in that I have adhered to the concept that creativity as a practice is an innate part of life rather than an extension of it. I like to see creativity as something that weaves in and around and through the living. As a maker and creator, the articulation and adoption of this viewpoint has been liberating, because even when I’m not physically or tangibly creating with my hands or directly materialising art into form, I am subconsciously storehousing ideas and can create in amongst my everyday in a place of dreamstate (in my mind)— and then, when the fields of time open up and offer space to birth it, in whatever form or medium it needs to come out—I make it.
On a very practical level, both my passion and my husband's passion eb and flow and lend to each other. His career as a stuntman for film lends beautifully to my flow as an artist, where he often has big stints on set and then big stints of rest. In his time of rest I have him home a lot — and I use this time diligently when it comes executing things that have been waiting patiently in the storehouse of my mind.
I truly believe art births when it's ready and I have come to trust the process that the right time always opens up divinely to move visions from heart to earthside. It’s not always a beautifully balanced dance but we are learning as a family to read our seasons and move intuitively with what’s in our hands.
This year is a big year for our family with the books being published internationally with Andrews McMeel and Caleb landing another film all in the same time-frames of each other. So with this in mind, we have had to be forward thinking, lean in and organise some help in the form of family, friends and a casual au pair. I also have the world's best manager and a team who carry multiple moving parts so I can focus on being a mum and give attention solely to my passion, rather than spreadsheets, emails and logistics.
I’m learning that there are seasons that require asking for help, delegation and leaning into family and community. Caleb and I felt that very intuitively at the start of this year and have been proactive and feel very held and know our kids will feel held too, even in the fuller months ahead.
Balance as a concept has always felt abstract in the bounds of a family dynamic— most the time it can all feel chaotic, even in the simpler seasons, but I’m learning to be honest about what each season is, what it needs, what needs surrendering, what needs attention and most of all I’m learning that prayer is powerful and love is the greatest filler of gaps.
Your husband works as a stuntman which sees you spending quite a lot of time on the road. How have you adapted to this lifestyle and made a home away from home?
With every opportunity to travel and move about with Calebs work comes new challenges. Mostly being we often have no idea what we are arriving into on the other side. Most trips have a massive element of mystery.
Our most recent time in Germany was our wildest experience yet. We were given a week's notice and very minor details. All we knew was the duration and the city, but not the actual intimate location, accommodation or any other details. So we always have an element of surprise and I have learnt quickly to make “home away from home” in many different ways and places.
On this particular job, we were really blessed to be placed in a beautiful home in the sweetest and most quaintest town just outside of Berlin, Potsdam. We felt at home immediately amongst the cobblestone streets, old buildings, the art, the people and the flowers (so many flowers).
When we arrive to a new space that we will call home for a time, I first rearrange the furniture, unpack, settle the kids rooms with familiar belongings, fill every vase with flowers, find the nearest grocery store, set up an art area, put on the diffusers, stock up and nestle in. I also never rush our first week or so in a new place, I like to make a point of grounding, scouting out our surrounds slowly and importantly finding what will be our local cafe for the duration. Rituals are so important to our family in transition, it helps ground moving hearts. I find that each of our kids feels transition out differently. Our eldest daughter Peach thrives in new places and spaces and knows exactly how to make a space her own, whilst the twins are still finding their way with it and can take a bit longer to nestle in. It sounds cliche, but home is when I’m with my family, so as long as we are together we can make anything work, but there is nothing quite like your own home. We are massively into nesting, so wherever home is, we really make it home.
Can you share some 'pinch me' moments that you've had in your journey as a creator?
So many beautiful moments— holding the books for the very first time fresh off the press, hearing that certain poems resonate with the journey of others, co-creating with other makers that have moved me deeply over the years, hiring a manager and later a team, and only just recently getting the email off Andrews Mcmeel publishing offering to take the books internationally, I definitely danced (and squealed) when I got that email. It's been such a surprising journey that I feel really grateful for.
You've shared a few little teasers on your Instagram about a project that you're working on. Can you tell us any details?
It’s been a big decision this year to decide the right time to launch the third installment of my heart with my focus being held by the relaunch of both ‘The Apricot Memoirs’ in April and ‘The Moonflower Monologues’ in September...So I made the intuitive decision to launch my new work later in the year, in November. I really want to honour the relaunch of the books and give them the space and attention required to really enjoy the experience of what it means to be published. I want to pause and appreciate the journey and be present in it. I also want to allow the new work to have the space outside of the relaunches without a sense of hurry or rush so the true intention of why it was created can move freely. I can’t say too much more—but what I can say is that it is very different to what I have previously released and I can’t wait for all the little hearts to receive its message.
Photos by: Sharee Karlin & Jordan Wood