Tess Guinery | The Unparalleled Series
Palm Beach, QLD, Australia

Tammi Joske, Azad Sellars & Alex Carlyle

If I’m ever in a dry spell I take a stroll to my local thrift stores and just like magic, I’m rolling with ideas - there’s something musing about looking for treasure, I think it awakens the child in me and she’s creatively uninhibited.

Originally from Phillip Island off the southern coast of Australia, Tess Guinery now calls Palm Beach, Queensland, home, where she lives with her husband and their daughter, Peaches. Maintaining a gypsy within, Tess foresees travel in the future but is happy to soak up all the goodness that Palm Beach has to offer while she’s here. Having spent the last seven years as a freelance designer for a selection of brands she feels aligned with, Tess is now three months into her one year sabbatical, an unfamiliar experience but one that she says she felt compelled to take.

Tess Guinery Feature Intervoew - The Local Project - Unparalleled Series - Australian Design & Architecture
Tess Guinery Feature Intervoew - The Local Project - Unparalleled Series - Australian Design & Architecture

Having recently spent five months in Cape Town, Tess describes the now-or-never-moment when she realised she needed to risk everything and allow herself to thrive in a different way. “My business was at it’s peak, I was busier than ever and I had developed honest and trusting relationships with my clients but I knew I needed to take a risk and quit all of it. I realised that just because something is great doesn’t mean it’s necessarily good for you. Being successful in your work doesn’t always translate into being successful as a person.”

Tess Guinery Feature Intervoew - The Local Project - Unparalleled Series - Australian Design & Architecture
Tess Guinery Feature Intervoew - The Local Project - Unparalleled Series - Australian Design & Architecture

In speaking with Tess there is something that comes into vision about how imperative it is to create and allow yourself to be susceptible to what’s around you. “Too often people spend great lengths of time without being vulnerable to their own thoughts and perceptions, or play around with how those could transform creatively. When you engage primarily with one form of expression it often becomes the medium you continue to use to showcase your ideas. I wanted the sabbatical to be agenda-less; a year without any predictability and to maintain an entrepreneurs heart. I wanted to challenge my imagination and abundance for creativity and I will follow this mentality forever if it means I am creatively free and fulfilled. I don’t believe in limits.”

Tess Guinery Feature Intervoew - The Local Project - Unparalleled Series - Australian Design & Architecture
Tess Guinery Feature Intervoew - The Local Project - Unparalleled Series - Australian Design & Architecture

Having always been drawn to the written language, Tess is currently working on a first book of poetry and prose, writing a few short sentences about her thoughts everyday. “My only hope is to one day see it published,” she says. I like making people think, even if it’s just for a second. I failed English and believe I have a slight form of dyslexia so there are parts of me that still believe I can’t do it but I’m pushing through the obstacles and so far I’ve gotten great responses.”

Tess Guinery Feature Intervoew - The Local Project - Unparalleled Series - Australian Design & Architecture
Tess Guinery Feature Interview Piece - The Local Project
Tess Guinery Feature Intervoew - The Local Project - Unparalleled Series - Australian Design & Architecture
Tess Guinery Feature Intervoew - The Local Project - Unparalleled Series - Australian Design & Architecture

In spending time with Tess I notice her choice of words illustrates how intricate and diverse the magnitude of her personality and energy is. As a person who gains inspiration from the life around her, Tess is “always in observer mode” and tells me she wears rose coloured glasses intentionally. An eclectic gatherer of colour and stories, Tess’ 1950’s beach shack is filled with pieces covering a wide palette of eras ranging from the 40’s, 70’s to modern now. “The soul of a house is derived from the story of the objects within it,” Tess states, “there is something contagious about the place or time that objects can take us back to.” Her mother a photographer and aesthetic connoisseur, Tess’ mother is a major influence in how she perceives the spaces around her. “When my siblings and I were growing up my mother would always try and create good vibes within a space. She would play around with lighting, colours and materials, and she preferred us to not to live in the suburbs but to continue travelling and dreaming bigger. I crave unpredictability and culture because of her influence. I have a desire to explore what’s wild and untouched.”

Tess Guinery Feature Intervoew - The Local Project - Unparalleled Series - Australian Design & Architecture
Tess Guinery Feature Intervoew - The Local Project - Unparalleled Series - Australian Design & Architecture

Having lived in Sydney and other coastal towns for a number of years while pursuing her love for travel with trips to the USA, Tess tells me she appreciates life in Palm Beach for it’s accessibility to community. “It’s forced upon you in a good way, there’s an unwritten rule where everyone will head to the beach in the late afternoon to spend time together. I love the small lane that we live on, the austerity of the things around us and the ocean views from our home. Our local coffee shop, Spikexx, is just down the street. It’s a coffee bar that embraces the collective of local makers in the community. The airy space is filled with plants and is unlike any place I’ve been before. Their mantra is ‘fearlessly creative’ and you can see this mentality embedded into every nail that holds it together.”

Tess Guinery Feature Intervoew - The Local Project - Unparalleled Series - Australian Design & Architecture
Tess Guinery Feature Intervoew - The Local Project - Unparalleled Series - Australian Design & Architecture

When I ask Tess about what grounds her she cites her relationship with God and the salt of the earth people in her life; the women that she feels connected to, who build each other up and take interest in each others creative endeavorers. “These women are the ones I will nurture forever, they are the precious relationships that can’t be replicated and we love and support each other.” These women, Tess tells me, have created their own empires using both business and creativity. With some in New York and a handful in Sydney, Tess describes the inspiration that stems from the topics of their conversations. “Anything is possible and I think that originates in being honest to our own internal process, trying to understand the world around us and redefining the role that creativity can have”

Fully awake for what’s ahead, Tess continues to interpret and translate her curiosity for what’s around her. She believes that every segment of her life has fed into the next and believes this sabbatical will be no different.

Thank you Tess, for the insights into your sabbatical, creative process and life in Palm Beach. It was a pleasure to speak with you.

Photography by Tammi Josk, Azad Sellars & Alex Carlyle.

Tess Guinery Feature Interview Piece - The Local Project

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