Our ‘Meet Our Maker’ series celebrates the people behind the scenes of Walcha Handmade, and encourages an understanding of the care and attention to detail that goes into the handmade products we carry.
This month we meet Tasha Chawner – the fingers behind our Walcha Handmade website and Instagram feed.
She’s kindly let us into her studio, to share a little bit of what makes her tick.
Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.
Where to begin….?
Mum to 2. Wife. Sister. Friend. Learning Support Officer at the local Central school. Photographer. Creator of jewellery. Foodie. Watcher of movies and reader of books. And a Conservative Hippy!
Depending on the day, depends on what hat I wear!!
Where do you live and work?
We’ve been in Walcha for almost 9 years now. Before that we were in Lismore, which is where my Husband grew up. It’s also where he did his Forestry degree, which is what brought us to Walcha in the first place.
Prior to Lismore, we owned and operated a cane harvesting contract in the Burdekin region in North Queensland, which is where I grew up.
My ‘paid job’ is a Walcha Central School, where I work with an amazing bunch of people – both teachers and students – to help our students achieve their very best.
My ‘I love this job’ – all of my jewellery and photo editing work – is done in the sunroom/dining room in my house. I’ve only recently brought my jewellery workbench in from out on the verandah (it’s just too cold to create out there in winter), which has inspired me to do a bit more making in the way of jewellery.
The photography happens wherever and whenever the situation arises. The garden is a great source of inspiration for my personal photography, and I also travel to do complete work for clients.
Who would you most like to sit next to at a dinner party?
Audrey Hepburn, Dame Helen Mirrin and Dame Judi Dench.
I’ve always admired these women for their strength and determination; their humanitarian work and the way they have embraced growing old. They’ve shown the world that grey hair and wrinkles are badges of honour to be worn with pride, not botoxed and coloured out of existence.
What materials do you use?
For my photography, I use a Canon 7D Mark II, with a 50mm 1.8 prime lens, or my much loved macro lens, the 100mm 2.8. I rediscovered my love of photography when we moved to Walcha (I’ve been making photos since my early teens),
and for me, the essence of photography is finding the emotion in ordinary, everyday moments….
those moments that quite often pass us by…
the ones we think we will remember, but that fade with time and age… I’m a fan of natural light and emotive black and white imagery, and capturing unposed, natural and timeless moments to create memories.
I’ve also recently begun exploring photography with my iPad mini – which I must say, surprises me constantly with the quality of photo it is able to produce.
When it comes to making jewellery, copper is my preferred medium. I love the warmth of copper, and the way its colour changes unique to the person who is wearing it. And then there are the healing qualities of copper, which is what brought me to working with it in the first place when my Daughter became sick with an undiagnosed illness.
I also create with paper to make cards & gift bags, and essential oils to make cleaning and beauty products. I’m a bit of a jill-of-all-trades really!