Tiana Marie Combes is a multidisciplinary designer and creative, whose work ranges from an exquisite line of Objects in Virtu - handmade jewelry and objects for the home to film photography. She has long been an admired peer and more recently became an AS collaborator, offering her soft focus and eye for detail to the Louna and Rhodes - two new exclusive additions to our small leather goods collection - as part of their launch. Eager to continue our exchange, we asked TMC to answer the questions from our ongoing Journal series, which you can read in full below.
How does choosing your bag for the day and its contents tie into your daily ritual?
I keep one bag in rotation for prolonged periods…months, years…something that goes with everything, everywhere, and holds my out-of-home essentials at all times while hung in its permanent place on a door knob. It’s an element of my daily ritual, like most, that is set up for repetition and minimal thought, making it frictionless. I may stray when a quick errand warrants for a handheld wallet and keys, a studio visit asks for a tote I don’t mind dirtying, or a special outing allows for something less conventional.
What are the non-functional/meaningful things that you carry with you on a daily basis? (mementos, good luck charms, personal affects, etc.)
For a very sentimental person, the relationships that I have with objects are contradictory. Holding onto non-functional items, with the exception of things that hold visual beauty, is obstructive to my surroundings. I dislike receiving gifts for this reason. One of few exceptions is in my wallet, between the assortment of cards, switching placement daily as I take things out and put them back hastily…a handwritten note in the smallest print, on the smallest scrap of torn paper that my partner wrote to me sometime during our beginnings.
What expressive function does your bag have for you?
The relationship between how I feel vs. how I present myself is often in flux, sometimes aligning perfectly, sometimes feeling out of balance. My bag can be in rebellion to or in alignment with this notion, a complement to my duality, an extension of my softness or power in a particular day.
How does your bag (read: shape, features, size, material, etc.) inform the way you carry yourself, the activities you choose to do, the way you engage with your surroundings?
There have been many times in life when I have needed a bag that could carry everything I would need in a day. One that would cause me to overcompensate with the height of my shoulder on one side and prevent me from doing anything but hurry to a destination where it could be put down. I now prefer to travel lightly and maintain autonomy over what I am carrying...something lightweight, small to mid-sized, with functional straps.
Choosing a bag can be an act of expansion or a pairing down to essentials. Which one of these do you gravitate toward (and why)? When thinking about this, do notions about security/agency/independence come to mind? If so, how?
Paring down is instinctual. My mind clutters easily and I don’t like excess for this reason. I suppose I am just most at ease with minimal distraction in my sphere, when everything around me brings joy.
What shapes, features, materials, textures, and/or functions are inspiring your creative process currently?
Anything referencing the hardwearing, utilitarian objects...bridles, saddles, etc...used for equestrian activities.
Share an image, a taste, and a sound that are on your mind.
To visualize: fluttering grasses weaving lightly through the ankles of horses in the Czech countryside, an excerpt from my five year plan, taste: a flower essence, listen: the ocean
Tell us about your work, how you came to doing it.
I am a glass artist and I do what I do because of an inexplicable obsession. My work, a collection of jewelry and home objects, references the enduring beauty of antiquity and is an expression of what it means to artfully create by hand. Personally creating each piece is reflective of the way that I want my work to be shared. It is personal and artful. My photographic work shares similar themes.
Is there a larger thread to the evolution of your work? If so, what does that arch look like?
Melding softness with structure has remained at the forefront of my multidisciplinary practice as an intuitive reflection of my own ever-evolving mentality. My work has grown with me, remained reflective of my own duality, and has always been rooted in an inherent inclination to create as a form of communication.
What questions or answers did this project evoke for you in your work or personally?
I appreciate forming thought around a daily ritual that I may not have recognized before. I have a general intention in life, to slow myself down and have more control over day-to-day thoughts and interactions. This was a polite reminder.
The accompanying imagery is a mix of personal exposures and some of the photographs she made for our newest SS'21 styles. All photographs by Tiana Marie Combes.