The formally schooled and the unschooled, craft vs. art, production vs. commissioned work, all these inform Theresa Wells Stifel’s unusual mixed media mash-up art works. Theresa was in her thirties before she gave herself “permission” to become an artist. The twenty years since have been a delightful creative road that led her in directions she never imagined: running a creative consortium, installing local art in a national hotel chain, integrating family heirlooms into contemporary art pieces, and mostly trying to keep ahead (and failing) of her ever increasing found object art supply collection!
Perhaps it’s because as a kid I had a one box allowance when dad got transferred, I have certainly made up for lost time in the accumulation department since then. Becoming a mixed media artist only made my stash bigger, so big, in fact that I own a vintage shop and art gallery in Falls Church and online.
I revere the craftsmanship, intricacy, and beauty of bygone fabric, fashion and notions. Being able to integrate them into my work so they take a new function as art (rather than end up in a land fill) makes me happy.
I am primarily self-taught as an artist. My mother was my childhood instructor of all the “old fashioned” arts: the embroidery and needlework I enjoy integrating into my work. Incorporating waste and vintage ephemera papers, especially in my abstract work, is also something I find fulfilling.
My mission is to create a piece bold enough to stand on it’s own when viewing across a wide room but that is intricate enough to make you want to walk up close and marvel at the bits that make up the whole.
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