Tools & Talismans #58 — Tina Essmaker

These objects are ones I use daily or ones that represent the work I do. Most of my work involves writing, editing, and a lot of email, which I use my MacBook Air for. But I also love to make physical to-do lists and brainstorm away from the screen in my Medium Things notebook, gifted to me by a friend. Nothing beats a paper and pen, or marker — and I love these ones from Sharpie. I do many of the interviews for The Great Discontent, and when they are done in person, I use my Olympus recorder, which does a great job whether the setting is a quiet café or a loud bar. When I’m walking around the city running errands or on my way to meetings, I like to listen to music. I recently picked up these ME05 earphones from Master & Dynamic, and they sound so good! The retro-looking rose gold Casio watch is also a recent find. It has an alarm, stopwatch, and timer — I’ve been using those functions often, and wearing a watch has kept me from pulling out my phone constantly to look at the time.

The last two items are The Elements of Style, which is a classic text that I recommend to any writer or editor, and a coyote-shaped metal brooch. The pin was made by a friend and given to me as a gift shortly after The Great Discontent launched. When my husband, Ryan, and I started the magazine, we were living in Michigan, and we often heard coyotes in the evenings as we worked. We adopted the coyote as our mark for The Great Discontent as it embodies the same restlessness and discontent that we often feel in our creative work. This pin is a reminder of that.

Tina Essmaker lives and works in New York City. She is a partner at Wayward Wild (W/W), a NYC-based creative studio and co-founder and Editor in Chief of The Great Discontent, a magazine featuring conversations with today’s artists, makers, and risk-takers.


Tools & Talismans is a personal painting project where I document {in watercolor} the tools and talismans of 100 different women — creators and healers, thinkers and makers, wordsmiths and visionaries. Join me for a year of Tools & Talismans — I'll be sharing a new painting with you every Wednesday.

I'd love to talk about creating illustrations for you! Do you have a project that needs some illustration? Think my work might be a good fit? Get in touch, I'd love to talk about your project with you!