Skip to content


Your cart is empty

Lovers of Leisure

Tess Guinery

Photography by Anna Pihan

We meet with Tess Guinery and enter her whimsical world of art, poetry and visual expression. After living in Potsdam just out of Berlin, she settled with her lover and 3 girls in the quaint town of Murwillumbah in the Northern Rivers, Australia. With a sense of curiosity, she lives an artful life and leans into playfulness, experimentation and collaboration which is present in her work.

“My childhood was one large creative collaboration... it is impossible for my siblings and I to not turn ‘nothing’ into big beautiful ‘somethings’ when we get together.”

“Leisure can often lead to significant creative breakthroughs.”

“A local town stroll is always time well spent. There’s something about a small town-ship that makes sense to me.”

Most treasured souvenir...

Everywhere I visit, I love to find a vintage piece of clothing with a story to take home — a way to wear my memories from past travels in new lands.

I have this beautiful burgundy two-piece satin set that comes with a funny story.

While in old town Lecce, Italy, we stumbled upon the most charming little store down an alleyway. The owner was incredibly enthusiastic, exuding her love and passion (I adore the Italian way of being), wearing her big, abundant heart on her sleeves as she poured her romance generously over us and our three daughters — hugging them, trying to kiss their cheeks, and singing "Bella, Bella" over and over. I love that creativity and generosity can transcend language barriers. In the midst of this pouring out, I found myself pouring over the beautifully curated vintage pieces on display — each surely with its own story. The language barrier on this trip led to some very funny stories, particularly in this scenario. When I asked about the prices, I was astonished at how inexpensive each garment was. Thinking I'd stumbled upon a European treasure, I eagerly began filling up a bag of vintage treasures. However, my excitement was short-lived when she tallied up the total at the end of my thrift scouting adventure (or so I thought). It turned out her use of sign language to express prices in the tens was missing quite a few zeros. What I thought would add up to a neat hundred-figure turned out to be far beyond my understanding. Laughing and trying to explain with my limited Italian that I could only afford one piece was an art in itself. Choosing which piece to keep was easy; explaining it was not. I went back to the first love that caught my eye — a handmade Italian fabric sewn together as a two-piece ensemble, covered in flowers, of course!

I adore the next part of the story where I asked if I could take a photo of her holding my purchased vintage (for my memories), and she decided to put on the entire outfit and dance around the shop! I found myself laughing excessively for two reasons — the love of this experience in its entirety and how uninhibited she was — it was so pure and beautiful. I often think, "Thank you, beautiful shop lady, for adding a wonderful memory to my travel diary forever," and to this day, I still think of her whenever I wear the set.

“The pursuit of seeing beauty and being awake to it is the undercurrent and leading of all my work.”

Dream hotel you’ve stayed at?

It wasn’t a hotel but a little Air Bnb, in an unsuspecting and humble little village on a hill in Italy. 

We spent a huge day driving from Salzburg, Austria to Varano, Italy. We arrived just in time for dinner to a set table in this sweet little Airbnb on the hillside of the Ancona coastline. We unpacked, walked 30 metres from the front door down a cobblestone street to get cheese, bread and vegetables for an easy dinner by candlelight (vino of course) & the feeling of the home and town has never left me! 

Waking up to the smell of fresh bread from the bakery just outside our front door—quintessentially old world Italy and a memory we will never forget.

What is magique for you?

Sharing the table, vino, food, music, good convo, dear friends.

What does photography mean for you?

It’s a language.

Discover More from the Journal