Artist's Interview—Teresa Shippy

Learn about painting on fabric and the art of quilting.

I would like to introduce you to Teresa Shippy as the first of a series of interviews with artists. Teresa does fabulous painted fiber art quilts and her thread work is quite unique. Enjoy getting to know Teresa!

How do you describe yourself as an artist? 
I'm primarily known as a fiber artist; however I love to incorporate painting and thread-work in my pieces.

Please describe your work.
My work is always full of heart, color and a touch of whimsy along the way.

Describe the path you have taken to develop your art.
Great question! I started with hand embroidery at 13. Both of my parents were very artistic, I learned so much from them. I remember watching my father paint, soon after I was off painting vintage trunks from thrift stores. My mother would make dolls for the local churches, I found myself making cloth dolls and painting their faces. Thanks to my mom and sister Penny, I Eventually stumbled into the quilt world. Starting out somewhat traditional with my twist, I quickly realized that I had a passion to design my own patterns and fabrics. Coming from a very large family six boys, three girls, I was never one lacking imagination. My pathway is forever growing with thoughts and ideas.

What inspires you?
I've always loved anything vintage. Currently I'm creating a very cool vintage car series that I am absolutely passionate about. This collection will be on display at Soft Expressions Upstairs Gallery in 2013.

What do you want to communicate with your art?
Excellent question. Every piece that I put out there for all to see has my heart print. My life's pathways are embedded within. My hope is when the viewer looks at my work; they will connect with a memory of their own.

Do you teach?
Yes, I've been teaching a painting on tin tile workshop class here at my home in Santa Ana for many years. It’s wonderful to introduce new creative ways to paint original one of a kind fabrics. My students are always in awe after looking at what they have created in my workshops.

How are you compensated?
I'm truly rewarded by my student’s faces, especially after they have just painted an original fabric over a vintage tin tile. Priceless Joy!

Please tell us more about Tin Tile Painting.
I’ve always loved collecting anything vintage, including dolls, furnishings, and the tin tiles used in the artistic design of ceiling construction in the late 1800s. About 10 years ago, I found a use for my ever-expanding collection of tiles by transferring the design embossed in the tile to fabric. I started by laying or wrapping plain cotton muslin tightly over the rusty tin tiles and painting the fabric to reflect the design of the tile. I was pleasantly surprised; not only was I creating a cool piece of fabric, but it was also one of a kind. After experimenting with countless tin tiles along with wrought iron, funky clay pots, and garden stepping stones, all with protruding designs, I realized that I really enjoyed the process and the creativity associated with the fabrics I was designing. My notes and ideas evolved as I began to understand how best to use shades of color in the design transfer process. I also found that summer months were ideal for this technique, because the paint needs a reasonable amount of drying time—not to mention that it’s great to paint one awesome piece after another in the ample sunlight of summer days. To create your own original fabric provides another element of creativity for your artwork.

Teresa's work can also be appreciated on the 5Artistic Expressions blog.


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Esmée St James November 17, 2012 at 10:18 PM
What an amazing technique, I love Teresa's creativity! Thanks for the great article, Deborah!


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