Melanie Testa is an accomplished textile and quilt artist. She attended the Fashion Institute of Technology in Textile/Surface Design and exhibits her fiber art at various galleries and quilt shows around the country. She teaches workshops at major art retreats and other venues. Melanie is the author of Inspired To Quilt: Creative Experiments in Art Quilt Imagery, published by Interweave, and a forthcoming journaling book from North Light Books.
Q: What are you working on right now?
A: A book about journaling and multimedia.
Q: Why do you make art?
A: Hell, yeah.
Q: What’s your current favorite, can’t-live-without-it tool/supply/material/junkyard find?
A: I can’t live without any of it. I have whittled my existence as an artist and a human into city-sized portions. We live in 550 square feet of space, my Man, my Cat and I. I use all of it and buy more when I need it.
Q: What’s your favorite tool or material?
A: A brush
Q: If you could surround yourself with only one color, what would it be?
A: Blasphemy. I used to think this would be the color plum but I have drifted.
Q: What do you listen to when you create?
A: Podcasts when I need to focus, music when I need to dance.
Podcasts: Snap Judgement, This American Life, Good Food
Music: Olle Nyman, Frazey Ford, Mimicing Birds
Q: What is on your workspace right now?
A: My Man and I just rearranged the apartment. So when you walk into the apartment you walk into out mutual workspace (my sewing room/painting area/computer desk, his music making and listening space). This would be a living room and dining room to other folk. Pass through our bedroom into what would be a walk in closet. This is our Love Nest. It fits our retro blue sofa, TV and Wii, a lamp and table and a bookcase.
Q: What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
A: Current Read: Deafening; Moon Over Manifest; Botanical Drawing in Color; Making Color Sing; Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand
Q: What’s the most inspiring trip you’ve ever taken or adventure you’ve ever had?
A: Barcelona.I fell in love with street art.
Q: What’s the last thing you cooked?
A: Cooking? Pardon? Wheatgrass and apple juice
Q: Do you have a talisman/power garment/magical thing you wear?
A: Hip Boro Bag made while on vacation in Barcelona.
Q: What’s your favorite place in all the world?
A: Being hugged by my Man
Q: What one thing do you want to do that you haven’t done yet?
A: Go up in an air balloon.
Q: What’s the best day you’ve ever had?
A: Getting accepted on the spot during my portfolio review at F.I.T. They told me as I was sitting in front of them that it was unprecedented that they accept me right there but that they were impressed.
Q: What’s today’s Word to Live By?
A: Live your dream and wear your passion.
Q: What is your guilty pleasure?
A: Whoopie Pies made by Baked in Red Hook Brooklyn.
Q: What’s your one favorite material thing?
A: My workbench with easy to clean metal top.
Q: If you could have one superpower, what would it be?
A: Winged Flight
Q: With whom would you love to spend one day making art?
Q: When is your favorite time of day?
A: Morning. New York City, Brooklyn, is not a morning sort of place. Culturally people get to work between 8 and 10. So waking and walking early is sleepy and quiet.
Q: What is your earliest memory?
A: Standing naked on my bureau so excited to be up there. I think a photo was taken.
Q: What’s your best piece of advice for artists?
A: You will make crap, you will make mistakes, and your job is to compassionately accept this and to passionately seek your singular voice and do everything in your power to strut your stuff.
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