Tess is a special kind of woman, it's as if everything she touches turns to magic. She inspires us with her words (namely The Apricot Memoirs and The Moon Flower Monologues), her art and her whole being as a pure creative. We were lucky enough to catch up with this golden woman at her studio - a space beaming with so much beautiful morning light. As she danced and laughed the morning away in the velvet suit of her dreams - our Jimi Jacket & Hendrix Pants - we got to know the beautiful soul that is Tess!
Tell us a little bit about yourself, who you are and what sets your soul on fire?
I’m a woman, a maker, a mumma, a creator.
I have a strong inclination to create,
It's this, that sets my heart on fire & gets me up in the morning. Creating, feels like what I was created for.
Whether it be through the simple practice of making home, the intricate gift of growing, birthing and raising my daughters, writing hard truths in the darker seasons, love notes for him, setting the table, lighting the candles, painting at night, arranging flowers in the morning, or dancing unashamedly, in the moments that call for sincere celebration—
My heart and hands and soul lean into creating, instinctively.
And whether I’m doing it subconsciously,
I feel alive.
I feel most like Tess, here.
You’re the author of two special books, The Apricot Memoirs and The Moonflower Monologues. Can you tell us about these two creations? And how did they come about?
Each book was written in opposing seasons.
One, written in a season of sun and romance during a sabbatical and the other written in the deep darkness of a night season that came just after the arrival of my twin daughters.
Although each book was written in opposing moments of time, each book intends to lead the reader to hope.
You’re a dreamer, creator, author, poet and designer. Is creativity something that has always come naturally to you? And how has your creative expression changed over the years?
Creativity has always felt instinctive 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.
When reflecting on how my creativity as an expression has changed over the years I can pause and appreciate that it's the muscle of courage that has been stretched most—I find myself sitting more at home in my skin, mind, body and heart—and if it's here I can express from, it will be honest. This often feels brave.
In terms of its physical expression my sense of limitation is always real and I’m very in touch with it, having real and honest conversations with myself and the world around me regarding how much there is still to learn—but in saying this my eagerness to explore all mediums is unbound. I feel a sense of freedom to move through paint or dance or words or whatever will truly express the message of the art best at that time. I feel a resignation to needing to be skilled to give something a go. This sense of unboundedness is where I feel I have evolved most as a creator and artist.
You have just relaunched The Apricot Memoirs with a celebration in your home town. Tell us about the magical evening and the relaunch?
The hometown event—felt beautifully homely.
There was talk of doing the major launch party in a big city in bright lights with big ideas. But throughout the duration of a few creative brainstorms and meetings with my team and after stripping it all back and planning how it would all roll out— it was clear to me that it was important for the night and celebration to feel like an extension of my lounge room and an invitation into the pages of the book.
It was my hope for each guest to feel lavishly loved upon.
I love the beautiful contrast of a global book launch being largely celebrated in a small and wholesome country town. A place we are resting our heads and calling home for a time.
Every detail of the day and night from food, to wine, to venue, to the music and flowers and the film and love notes and the overall feeling of the room was deeply thought out and executed with a band of my favourite humans. It was all very intentional in both the feeling we wanted to create and the hands that were gathered to make it happen. I felt that this celebration wasn’t just about the book being published globally but more so about the generosity of the human hearts that fill my life and the incredible strangers all around the world that through mutual resonance support my art and the growing love of this little apricot book. I feel immense gratitude and I wanted the night to feel like a heartfelt “I love you and thank you”.
April and the months leading into it was huge for me. My team was kind enough to prompt me so. And in that, I was almost as prepared as I needed to be. As a human more sensitive in constitution, the month involved so many “out-of-my-depth” experiences such as live-streaming into some US events, public speaking, meeting lots of new people, signing books, being a guest on podcasts, photos shoots and personal journals shared online—as someone who appreciates a sense of solace and mystery, this felt very front of house—It was a very special experience and I showed up for it all, but it required my utmost focus and in that, required streamlined energy. I really had to pace myself with it all and leant into help that came from dear friends and family. It was important to make sure I was getting the right amounts of sleep and feeding my body with all the good things during this time. It felt huge, exciting, scary, brave, bold and mostly beautiful. I have since slept a lot and have just come back from a 3 day getaway with my love and it was everything my soul needed to reset.
I am currently preparing my heart for the global relaunch of ‘The Moonflower Monologues’ who will join her sister title with dream makers Andrews Mcmeel international and I am currently sitting still with my thought and in prayer as I create space to dream about how I invite the readers into the relaunch of this piece, my current sense tells me, it will be kindly slow and beautiful. She was written differently to that of the apricots and she will relaunch in her very own way. I feel a gentleness about it.
What has been the most exciting, ‘pinch me’ moment in your career so far?
The “pinch me’s” come in waves upon the realisation that art is a big and normal part of my every day, something I always hoped for in life.
Your visuals and art tend to reflect nature, with your iconic rainbows and florals. Where else do you draw inspiration from?
Creation is the truest reflection of where my heart feels its most sense of belonging because it reflects visually, my Creator.
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 my prayer life that is an alive communion—it’s here, my eyes become awake to beauty and from this place, I make the art.
How would you describe your personal style?
All the most beautiful experiences my life has ever seen and known, in tangible form.
You’re a mumma of 3 girls! Tell us about your journey with motherhood so far and how it has influenced you creatively?
I have seen many seasons come and go in the realm of my creative experience—but nothing has felt more alive and electric than the experience of growing and birthing my daughters. The birth of each of them has been both the breaking and the revolution of me, personally and creatively.
I recently sat and wrote this piece on the cusp of mothers day, I think it best describes my journey as a mother as a more recent reflection—
I have mostly felt out of body in large and broad and vast arrays when I think of meas mother.
I’m yet prepared, still
praying love into all the gaps
because there are so many.
I’m learning constantly here
how little I know
but how largely the heart can love.
And I heard once,
that the heart physically expands
when it lives, physically
on the outside of our body.
And with its little legs
leaping and spinning
alive & awake
of my very own heart—
with its very own heart
and it is of other worlds.
And when I break it all down
It’s knowing them
that my heart aches for
I really just hope
to be the mum they need
and not in a perfect way
but in a utterly
To know them.
Like us, you live in the beautiful northern rivers. What are some of your favourite local spots?
Too many! I love it here so much.
Keith, in Murwillumbah for coffee.
Knox & Co for books.
Pulp Fiction for more books.
Scarlets Wardobe for the most incredible collection of vintage I have ever seen
The Regent for an old world sense of cinema.
Uki for the rivers and mountains and great expanses.
Do you have any mantras you live by?
I have a few but the two that come straight to mind are—
“May the sun not go down on your anger” Ephesians 4:26
“Look for and see the beauty, in everyone” Romans 12:18
What can we expect to see next from Tess Guinery?
It’s been a big decision this year to decide the right time to launch the third instalment of my heart with most my focus being held by the relaunch of both ‘The Apricot Memoirs’ that just released in April and ‘The Moonflower Monologues’ coming up in September with Andrews Mcmeel International
...So I made the intuitive decision to launch my newer work later in the year, around 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.
Muse: Tess Guinery
Shop poetry and art
Photography: Kat Youngberry