Interview with Terry White
Terry was born with a sewing machine in her crib. Art has been a large part of every facet in her life from her first memories as a young girl. Her work resonates with creativity, imaginativeness and originality. A story can be drawn from each one of her creations, from the unique turtles in “Turtle Crossing”, to her cats that sing the blues. Recently I sat down with Terry and this is what she had to say about her art, her inspirations, and how you too can be an original.
How long have you been a mixed media artist?
I have been a mixed media artist since the second grade!
I went to Catholic school and each May, we would make a little May Altar out of a shoebox. This is a little shrine to Mary, blessed mother of Jesus. I looked forward to making one of these each year. I took it very seriously. I gathered plastic flowers, broken jewelry, birthday wrapping paper and magazines to cut for imagery. Creating a garden shadowbox with a statue of Mary in the middle was so fun. As a child, you don’t worry about good taste, you just cut, glue and paint the thing until nothing else will fit. I still do this at times.
I have experimented mixing art materials and found objects ever since. The tactile nature of fabric, yarn, beads, etc. interested me because it was real and not just a painting on the wall.
How would you describe your style?
Describing my style is a tough one. I bring the necessary imagery, techniques and materials to each new project or series of work. So, when I explore new ideas the imagery, colors and materials may vary greatly from one project to the next. Line and form are the first important considerations for me…then color. My drawing style is simple with lots of flowing lines and nice forms. My colors tend to be clear and bright. The materials I use to realize a design enhances the lines and forms.
Was there an artist that inspired you in the beginning of your career?
Definitely more than one: Constance Howard- modern embroidery…Robert Rauschenberg-sculptural fiber forms….Dr Seuss-imagery….Peter Max-color and imagery….Kaffe Fassette-color in fiber…Erica Wilson-embroidery…these are people whose work I studied in my teens- mostly through their books and other printed material.
Apart from creating art, what else do you do within the industry?
I design applique quilt patterns and embroidery designs.
I design projects and patterns for promotional purposes for Havel’s, Coats&Clark and Bernina
I write books which are published by American Quilter Society.
I’m a freelance writer published in magazines…most recently in Quilting Arts, In Stitches and Machine Quilting Unlimited.
I teach at quilt shows, guilds and groups across the USA.
I’m a Bernina Artisan.
I’ve designed multi color threads for Wonderfil- the Tutti’s and Fuitti’s….and for Coats&Clark’s Star Line which is now being distributed by YLI Thread company.
What is the most challenging part about creating mixed media art?
The challenge is to master good techniques….and sometimes to invent them to do the thing you have in mind.
What’s the best advice you could give someone who wants to try quilting or textile art for the first time?
Do it and be patient with yourself as you learn basic good techniques for working with your materials. It’s okay to be inspired by other artists, but do it with your own point of view. This way you can grow with your own imagery and techniques. Think in terms of, I envision it, so I will make it with the tools and ability I have….and don’t fear..it is the first thing that will stop creativity dead in its tracks.
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