"I feel like my soul place is when I'm making - when I'm bringing a raw material to life, wherever that may be."
Tamara Maynes is a multi-disciplinary craftsperson and a powerful advocate for makers, craftspeople and career creatives. With a background in bespoke craft and prop-making, Tamara spent 20 years working as a freelance designer and maker for Australian stylists and magazine editors before going on to celebrate some of her most talented peers in her book, The Maker. As the owner of The Establishment Studios in Melbourne, Tamara is currently focusing on styling, creative direction and slow-making.
Tell us a little about your current work - what do you do, and what inspires you to do it?
Recently, after more than 20 years as a maker with a commercial modern craft practice, I authored a book called The Maker. This project transformed me into an explorer - a slow maker if you will. Now I make for me.
I continue to work as a stylist, advocating for the work of makers I admire, and as the owner/creative director of The Establishment Studios - a place where creativity abounds and the imagery of dreams are made.
How does your work enrich your life?
Over the years I've come to realise that I prosper on challenging myself creatively even though my default setting favors ease and stability. I would most certainly live with a sense of regret had I remained in my comfort zone.
Can you share a recent project you’ve worked on that you’re most proud of?
Authoring The Maker was a long-held ambition that encapsulates everything I know and feel about making, being a maker, and living with handmade pieces - all bound into 274 wondersome pages.
What was the pivot point that set you on your current path?
Moving to Melbourne to take on the role of creative director of The Establishment Studios was pivotal for me. Prior to this I was living in the Southern Highlands of New South Wales and working in isolation. Today, I thrive on collaboration.
What advice would you give to others to identify and embrace those moments of action?
Remain open to change and, when it presents itself, don't dismiss it out of fear.
What’s the one piece of advice you’d give someone who’s going through their own transformation?
Don't try to be anyone other than yourself.
Where in the world would you describe as the place that speaks to you - your soul place?
I don't know if I've found that place yet, or even if it's a physical place in the world. I feel like my soul place is when I'm making - when I'm bringing a raw material to life, wherever that may be.
Who or what has been your biggest inspiration in shaping your career?
My career has been shaped equally by creating my own path and having champions. I am forever grateful to the people who see something special in what I do and aren't quiet about it.
If you could do anything, what in the world would you want to do next?
I would buy the rental property I have just moved into. It's a big old horse stable in the heritage-rich suburb of North Melbourne - it has so much character it hurts. I get the distinct feeling that we could live happily ever after together.
All images used with permission from Tamara Maynes.