2010—onwards: Interview with Tamara Maynes

Photography by Pier Carthew
Sculptures by Tamara Maynes
Styling by Stefanie Breschi

Tamara Maynes rural working-class background shaped Tamara's innate curiosity and ability for design and making.
Her creative output began as a young child and continues to span varied disciplines. Tamara is the co-owner/creative lead of The Establishment Studios, and a commissioned maker for art and craft-based design projects.

223 Napier

Whitlam Place

Hello, what is your name, background and how did you end up doing what you do?

Tamara Maynes: My name is Tamara Maynes.

I am a third-generation Australian, farm-raised in rural NSW. My cultural background of Irish/English working-class descent shaped my family's rich history of labouring the land, working with their hands, and resourceful creative expression—and nurtured my innate curiosity and ability for design and making.

My varied creative output began as a young child and never stopped. I started working as a signwriter in the 1980s which fostered an organic career in window dressing, followed by prop making, styling, editorial craft contributions, teaching, exhibiting work at London and Milan Design Weeks, and authoring my book The Maker in 2013 which was published in Australia, the US and France.

Today I am a commissioned maker for art and craft-based design projects of all sorts.

What is your connection to the materials you work with, what do they do for you that others don’t?

TM: I work with many different materials according to what the project calls for. Plaster, paint, polymer clay, cement, cardboard, fabric… the list goes on. I really enjoy shaping materials that my hands can dance with if that makes sense?!

Tamara Maynes

Is there a recurring theme in your work?

TM: I have always been attracted to re-working existing ‘things’ and creating something out of nothing. This could mean modifying dull furniture or lighting in a decorative arts sense or building a wall sculpture using interesting discarded cardboard packaging. Only yesterday I came across a collection of old wooden bobbins whose new life I’m becoming obsessed with!

When you hear ‘trust the process’ what comes to mind?

TM: It is my nature to be methodical and pay strong attention to detail however as an artist I often feel a self-imposed pressure to relax these characteristics and loosen up. A reminder to ‘trust the process' is, for me, a nudge to trust in myself.

If you could be reminded of something every day, what would it be?

TM: To focus on my future, not my past.

What else are you involved with that we might not know about?

TM: I am the co-owner/creative lead of The Establishment Studios; a boutique photography space and prop house located in a grand 19th Century church hall in the heart of Fitzroy.

Tamara made 1 Waterloo Street, Whitlam Place and 231 Napier, for our exhibition 2010—onwards: A decade of creative development.

To get in touch with Tamara visit or follow Tamara on Instagram. For studio or prop hire visit The Establishment Studios.

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