Tia Carrigan, a 5th generation of the land – grew up on a sheep property with big skies and wide-open spaces – immersed in nature. Life was lived through the seasons of the land, drought and flood, animals, and the environment. Farm life instilled resilience and the importance of connection – to land, to her community, and to her imagination.
Now, with a flourishing art practice based in the Noosa Shire, Tia has built her own creative world, informed by a childhood in which she spent painting horse troughs, farm vehicles and shearing sheds in rural New South Wales and later by her pursuit of a career in fashion and design.
Shaping her imagination and creativity during her childhood in the bush Tia was, in contrast, surrounded by outlandish regalia, sequins and feathers from her grandmother and mother who were sewers, designers and makers, and – in a favourite space of hers – the machinery shed where her innovative father would repair, build, and design all manner of contraptions for working life on the land. The makers in her family taught Tia, when creating it yourself there are no rules, being only limited by her own imagination.
Early on Tia realised the power of her paintbrush, carving out bits of ‘prettiness’ in an otherwise challenging landscape – bringing a smile to her dad’s stressed, working face, painting flowers on dreary, drab-coloured farm items. Her art could elicit happiness and joy in others – rugged, hard-working, tough men giggling at flowers painted on their stalls while shearing hundreds of sheep.
Her grounded upbringing and connection to a simple, yet hard life, on the land combined and contrasted with the ‘making’ part of her psyche and the creative freedom it fostered –feeding a hungry imagination, a connection with nature and a big dream attitude. Backed by her own abilities, this was ultimately all a glimpse of the life she would create for herself – one in which she could flourish.
After finishing high school, and a false start in a commerce course, Tia followed her intuition and went back to her roots, pursuing an interest in Fashion and Textiles where she honoured the maker part of her being. Fast forward 13 years, Tia’s career included working across all facets of the clothing industry including design, manufacture, wholesale, retail, graphic design, business, and her own clothing label – all while continuing to paint in her free time.
This time in the fashion industry helped Tia develope a unique and varied skillset. Her highlights included winning the Australian Young Designer in Cotton Award, resulting in work experience in a fashion house Trussardi in Milan; a runway show in Brisbane Fashion Week in the Queensland Government Design Innovation Group Show; winning the Design Award at Fashions on the Field at Flemington’s Melbourne Cup. During this time, she also refurbished a rural church, building a workshop specialising in locally designed, printed and made, wool and cotton, award-winning clothing… while still quietly painting.
2017 saw Tia taking the leap towards another goal – identifying as an artist. “This was something I had never allowed myself but had always dreamt of.” The challenge was how to build a sustainable business together with a flourishing arts practice. It was at this time that This Bird Florist and Creative Studio was born on a quiet beach at North Burleigh where Tia was living and worked locally as a graphic designer and marketing assistant. With a desire to immerse herself in her art and learn new skills to start a new creative adventure, Tia did a short course in floristry and pulled all those years of artwork out of storage. Five years later, the dream is a reality – a life surrounded by colour, paint, foliage and flowers.
This Bird – a creation of entrepreneur and artist, located in Noosa’s vibrant biosphere Pomona Village – is an art and flower business, the art practice nourishing the florist shop, which in turn inspires the art. Taking the time to expand, flip and re-work ideas Tia has created a sustainable business model and space in which she creates and showcases her artwork and creativity, having built a world where all the things she loves come together to create joy and ultimately, to connect with people. The walls are adorned with images of vibrant wildlife and vegetation, and it is a creative space that fosters community interaction, daily painting, all while surrounded by fresh flowers.
Tia’s artwork is contemporary, with an emphasis on abstract patterns, a sense of movement and freedom drawn from her time within nature as a child, her rural roots with its lack of distraction, the repetition and rotation fundamentally built into farming the land, patterns in crop lines, plants, animals, and the seasons. These details and patterns in nature are an intrinsic part of Tia’s work.