Melly Testa Drops By for a Word

I caught up with Inspired to Quilt author Melanie Testa before she headed out to teach at Art Unraveled Phoenix. Here's what she had to say:

Melly, I'm a big admirer of your ethereal style of artwork. Your lines always seem to float off the quilt as if they're dancing. What gets you "Inspired to Quilt?"

Oh Kelli! Thank you.
Honestly, I like to drink the world with my eyes, think about what I see and wonder how to render it. I evaluate what is behind, how the angles intersect, how I think the thing should be brought to life in my interpretation of it. I think that when we remain open, when we quest as artists, more doors open and if you are willing and ready and you do the leg work, fantastical things occur. I know you know this.

To answer this question in more grounded terms. Birds inspire me. Their sparkly eye dots, wings, their feathers. I read about them, research them on the internet and listen to their calls. Nature, the graceful droop of a water laden leaf, the crack in a sidewalk. It is all of a piece.

How would you describe yourself as an artist and what path brought you to your current incarnation? Was there any serendipity involved?

I am a process person. I would rather remain involved in the making, than the having. This works out for me because it keeps me centered in each step of the process. Don't get me wrong, I love the work I make, it is great and I know how to see a piece to completion, but my goal is to see what this idea will contribute to the next. It takes courage and determination to be this way. I trust that the next big thing is around the corner and available to me.

Geez, was serendipity involved? Naw. I like a structured well planned course of attack, LOL. I don't know. I wanted to be an artist from the first time I saw Andy Warhol on the television as a child. Could it have been thumbing my way across country as a late teen? Meeting a woman who decked out a school bus to create a home, walking through the isles of stalls in Eugene Oregon and wondering what my cloth dolls would be like? Taking my first traditional quilting class and falling for applique? Maybe.

If you were a bird, which one would you be?

I would be an Albatross (read the column on the left side of the screen if you want to know why).

Thank you for asking me this.

Is it important to make art every single day?

No, it is important for me to be creatively engaged, every-single-day. Open, willing, wonder filled, questing.

I took your Pretty Purse workshop and I couldn't be more thrilled with the results of our experiments that day. Is it okay for art to be pretty?

Yes! And it is OK for it to be feminine, cute, challenging, threatening, wondrous, expansive, and illuminating. We as artists need to be who we are, stretch our limits and to move through and within our Selves. We need to be true. I for one have lived through trauma, as I think many of us have, my response to it at this point is to give beauty back. To heal myself and those who find value in my work. And that is OK.

You're teaching at CREATE in August. What do you hope students will take away from your workshops?
A sense of artistic self worth. To know they CAN access their own well and have fun doing it.

You're a talented quilter and fiber artist, author of the successful book "Inspired to Quilt" (which I'll be reviewing for my blog) and your journals rock socks. Is there anything left on your artistic "to do" list?
Yup, but right now it is super-top-secret! Let's all cross our fingers while knowing full well that if this door doesn't open, another will and soon!

What's the big news at Every-Single-Day?

Besides teaching at Create in late August, which I am really excited about? My man and I are going to Barcelona in September and I plan to go European Birding!!

Thanks Melanie! I look forward to seeing you at CREATE!

No comments:

Post a Comment