Sculpture is my passion and I cannot resist the lure of materials that start soft and malleable and become hard and durable when cast, fired or hammered. Although the strength and versatility of bronze is always appealing, especially for life size statues, I find the potential range of colour and surface treatments using ceramics irresistible. Glass and the smooth surface of enamelling on metal is also enticing and I enjoy the exacting processes required to produce worthwhile outcomes. I am excited at the prospect of silver smithing, especially casting small objects in precious metals. I aim to continue developing my creative skills for as long as possible.
Tessa Wallis is an Australian Artist who, for more than two decades, has created unique sculptural works for public monuments, industry, theatrical productions, veterinary devices, educational institutions and private clients. For many years, she was largely self- taught and worked hard to develop her expertise in her small business Masks & Puppets Plus.
Tessa has established an International reputation as a mask maker and supported herself in the process. For nearly three decades she has designed and created custom built masks for performances around Australia as well as internationally in New York, Georgia, North Carolina, Amsterdam, Hong Kong and Singapore. She has a natural talent for sculpting facial expressions and body language which helps brings her creations to life. Her expertise with likenesses and caricatures complements her ability to convincingly interpret two- dimensional images into three dimensional forms.
Developing sculptural skills through mask making fostered an understanding of the use and application of materials, modelling and mould making, all of which helped broaden her horizons.. Whether building a larger than life size bronze statue, sculpting glass panels or designing and mass- producing polyurethane trophies, she is equally confident. She has made two different emblems for pre- war Morris Cowley vehicles and at present she is concentrating on small objects using precious metals, gemstones and enamelling.
Tessa is adept at interpreting a brief and carrying her ideas through to completion. She won several bronze commissions by submitting maquettes of her original ideas.
After studying ceramics part time at the Carton Arts Centre and Holmesglen TAFE from 2007 to 2013, she enrolled at RMIT University graduating with a Bachelor of Arts (Fine Art) in 2017.
Installations and Commissions
2015 Larkin Family ~ Private Collection
2015 Reg Lindsay Standing Tall ~ East Cessnock Bowling Club
2014 Toad Emblem ~ Morris Cowley, Private Collection
2013 The Man from Ironbark ~ State Library of Victoria
2013 The Oldmeadow Memorial ~ State Library of Victoria
2011 Scorpion Trophy ~ Private Collection
2017 Golden Hands necklace
2017 Lyre Bird vessel, Leafy sea dragon vessel, Thorny Devil vessel
2017 Seven Deadly Sins ~ Private Collection
2013 Human Hands in Reproduction, Adaptation and Evolution ~
Holmesglen TAFE Collection
2010 Bookworms ~Kew Library
2018 Snail Girl Mascot ~ Private Collection
2011 Emblem of the Rats of Tobruk ~ Private Collection
2008 Wine Bottle and Grapes – Glass Panels ~ Australian Consolidated Industries
Green and Gold – orb with sgraffito in gold leaf.
2010 Lou Hubbard Rubber Horse, life size ~ACCA
Polyurethane: City Trophies~ 200 custom masks – Suncorp Metway
2018 MSWPS Changing Perspectives ~ Victorian Artist’s society
2017 RMIT Graduate Exhibition 2017
2016 Around the table, First Site Gallery RMIT
2011 The Tea Pot Tips ~ The Gallery Bayside Arts & Cultural Centre
2010 New 101~ Collaborative Rubber Horse ~ ACCA
2010 Albert Ullin Collection and May Gibbs ~ Dromkeen and Montsalvat
2006 Meaningful Masks ~ Swiss Italian Festa ~ The Daylesford Convent Gallery
The first exhibition in which Tessa was invited to exhibit was The International Puppetry Exhibition at East & West Arts. This was followed by A Handful of Characters by the Performing Arts Museum at the Victorian Arts Centre, a vingnette of Tessa’s Punch and Judy show also at the Victorian Arts Centre. Tessa’s Masquerade Masks were exhibited in the foyer of the State Theatre.
Media and Events
Hey Hey It’s Saturday Anniversary Show ~Australian Salmon ~ Latex
Logie Awards~ Disney World, Florida ~Squeaky Gold Logie ~ Latex
Scooby Doo ~ Sea Monster Mask ~ Latex ~
Opening of San Marco and Venice ~ Masquerade ball, Great Hall, NGV ~600 individually handcrafted masks
Ottoman Medici Ball Australian Chamber Orchestra , Parliament House NSW~Masks designed and handcrafted ~
Heart Research Foundation Halloween Dinner,~ Great Hall, University of NSW~Masks designed and handcrafted
Trophy masks ~ Suncorp Metway ~ 200 painted polyurethane
Jeans for Genes ~ 300 individually designed and realised masks
Melbourne International Flower Show ~ Gold Medallion for Best Display
Athenaeum Club Winter Masquerade Ball ~ First Prize winning Mask
Northcote Trader’s Association Masquerade Ball ~ First Prize winning Mask
North Broken Hill Mining Masquerade Ball ~ First Prize winning Mask
Unmasking of Southgate ~ Mask for Lady Mayoress
Grant Thornton Accountants Christmas Card with 40 Penguin masks
“Poe” movie, Andrew Golden Producer, Los Angeles ~ Mask
Tribeca Arts Festival New York ~ Masks
Slipknot Tribute and Red Paintings ~ Rock ‘n Roll masks
Alice in Wonderland Melbourne Shakespeare Company 2018 Ripponlea
Twelfth Night GJ Productions. 2018 Fairfield Ampitheatre
Servant of Two Masters Comme Arte Fo 2013 Melbourne University Theatre
CeCe Comme Arte Fo 2014 Melbourne University Theatre
Moonshadow Cat Stevens 2012 Princess Theatre
Tessa has supplied masks and puppets for more than 30 School Productions, with performances of Greek mythology and Arthurian Legends as well as modern plays;
Pinocchio, Beauty and the Beast, The Tempest, The Hypochondriac, Pendragon, Arthurian Legends, Mulan Junior, Into the Woods, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Rhinoceros, Medusa, Antigone, Lysistrata, The Daughters of Venice, Chariots of the Gods, Smurfs on the Run, The Visit, The Greeks, Just Eat It, The Dance of Death, Variations on Leunig, The Witches, Smurfs on the Run, Christmas pageant, Gobble and Gerp, Animal Farm, Punch and Judy, Commedia dell’ Arte, Shakespearian Legends, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Twelfth Night, Alice in Wonderland.
Reg Lindsay Standing Tall, bronze by Tessa Wallis. Photo Ric Wallis
Human Hands in Reproduction, Evolution and Adaptation. Porcelain. By Tessa Wallis. Photo: Ric Wallis.
Larkin Family, bronze. By Tessa Wallis. Photo: Ric Wallis
Oldmeadow Memorial, bronze. By Tessa Wallis. Photo: Ric Wallis
Snail Girl emblem, manganese. By Tessa Wallis.
The Man From Ironbark, bronze. By Tessa Wallis. Photo: Ric Wallis