With oodles of experience in the interiors world, an inability to sit still and a wicked sense of humour to boot, Tahnee Mae Robinson is kicking goals in her passion project – ceramics.
Tell us a little about your background.
I have been working in commercial and retail interior design for nine years, with three of those in construction as a project manager. I have recently returned to interior design for an architecture firm while working on my passion in pottery.
Ceramics – how did that happen?
After returning from a European holiday I fell into a project management role for a construction company. I loved the chaos and challenges but missed the creative side of design. I was googling workshops online and came across all sorts like macramé, wood carving, ceramics, etc. I was a bit of a workshop junkie. I saw a 7-week ceramics course that I could sink my teeth into, which was really appealing. The idea of having a medium like clay to create anything was really enticing, as well as simply creating something I wanted to create. Ceramics is like handwriting; we all have our own style and way to get there but the result is so different. I love that about people and ceramics.
How does your interior design experience influence your work?
Good question. I only just realised this. I find I obsess over clean lines, symmetry and the tiniest of details, which is the same as when I am designing. I problem solve solutions to construction with materials all the time, and I do that too with ceramics now. I constantly question things and wonder how and why – design wise – through all things I make or create. It’s sometimes consuming. I lay in bed hypothesising how to do things all the time with clay, just like when I resolve joinery details or junctions in my dreams! Embarrassing! If you are passionate about something it consumes you (nerd alert!).
How would you describe the style of your pieces?
Generally, I am drawn to colours inspired by the Australia landscape and ocean. I think there are two sides of my work. There’s the clean lines, bold forms, functional side, and then there is the tangible, earthy, handmade and somewhat organic side. I do like to make sure my pieces are unique and feel/look handmade. I hope they have that thing about them that is hard to describe but makes you know they are individually crafted by a person, not a machine.
What does a typical day look like for you?
Typically, my alarm goes off and I snooze it, once – 9 minutes of pure bliss or the beginning of me setting my brain for the day. 6:09am I am up and still in PJ’s in the pottery studio shaping pots, trimming, anything that needs to be done sequentially from the night before. Adam brings me a tea and then it’s shower and get ready for work in the interior design studio. Either a bus trip into West Perth or Adam drops me off – secretly I think we both just like hanging out in the morning before we go to work and talk smack about how we could make the traffic flow better. Coffee, chat, emails, collaborating, drawing, sketching, material selections, presentations, chats, lunch, Instagram, late meeting, drawing, detailing, emails, and then home time. I like catching the bus home because it gives me a chance to wind down from work mode. It’s also a good opportunity to read emails and it’s definitely prime Instagram scrolling time. Haha, we all do it! Home from work, we sometimes go for a walk and kick the footy. Then when back it’s on the computer to do emails and back in the pottery studio. Somewhere in between all that we eat dinner, which is most likely cooked by Adam because he’s an awesome cook. I don’t watch much TV. I like organising and wandering around doing random things. My mum calls it “faffing”. I guess I faff around at night! I am not good at sitting down. I do like to sleep. It took me way too long to realise how important sleep was and is for every aspect of your life. The night ends with wine or reading a book, or just a bit of banter.
Where do you draw inspiration?
I am inspired a lot by the West Australian environment. The colours, forms, how much it can change in 500km of driving. WA is pretty remarkable. HEAPS of things inspire me. People, art movements, timber furniture, origami, bold textiles, Japanese pottery…Random things like, I love a beautiful Japanese sunrise dovetail join. Perfection!
What would be your dream project/collaboration?
OH MY. This is a very hard question. I’d love to collaborate with Australian furniture designers to create something unique with our two crafts. Or what if Rick Stein or Jamie Oliver wanted to hang out and I could make a range for a long table lunch they were doing. Oh! Or Gorman was all like, “hey, want to join forces to make some Australian textile/ceramic magic?” Maybe Gubi would invite me? Dreams.
Where can we get our hands on your products in WA?
Currently I have stock at:
Perlu – Leederville
Teassential – Como Building CBD
Embassy Home Outfitters – West Perth
Mundaring Art Centre – Mundaring
Black Pig Deli – Inglewood
Yallingup Cheese Company – Yallingup
Any upcoming exhibitions?
Feb 23 – March 30: Our Land, Our Hands, Our Minds and Our Eyes Exhibition – Urban Couture, Joondalup.
March 22 – March 29: TIDAL Exhibition – Kidogo Arts Institute, Fremantle
Visit: facebook.com/tahneemae and instagram.com/tahnee.mae.design