Once upon a time (1992), while on spring break in high school, staying with my aunt and uncle, I walked into a specialty store looking for a really thick metallic cord for a craft project. Directly in front of the entrance, there was a table with The Castle Sampler on it, and I fell in love. I actually bought everything I needed for the sampler, right there and then. My first stitching project, and it was a Teresa Wentzler... talk about diving into the deep end! She uses a lot of fractional stitching, even more blending, and I think she was the original confetti queen. But I was hooked. Her designs were entirely too beautiful.
I realized I was in over my head, bought a cross-stitch kit from Michaels (which was largely blended threads, too, though not as crazy as TW designs) and I started stitching. Because of an idiotic error I made in the border, I used the fabric for CS on other projects and kept on with my stitching ways.
At university, I found the Teresa Wentzler Bulletin Board. I joined in 96?97? or so and basically lived on the TWBB. This was before there were a lot of reprints or PatternsOnline, and so I spent time scouring ebay looking for a few of the older charts that were harder to get (I paid a whopping $25 for Fantasy Sampler, which was one of my lemmings!), bought nearly every pattern as they came out, and I even took the charts to shows for her to sign.
I started going to CATS shows after graduating college, first in Dallas and then other cities/states, and I even got to meet Teresa herself a few times. She is a very gracious, kind, funny, and fun woman. Like a good number of the best designers, she's an artist who translates her art into cross stitch. She has an amazing eye for color and knowledge of color theory and is happy to share her knowledge. I really enjoyed meeting her and hanging out.
I had done a lot of her smaller ornaments and freebies, and in 2002 we had a "race" on the TWBB to see who could finish Storyteller first, which is my first completed large TW. I definitely did not win, but I think I came in 2nd or 3rd ;)
|My pretty! in only 6 weeks!|
So you can still get some of her designs that Leisure Arts owns, and she has a good number of designs on Patterns Online.
Her work? Most of is is large, pretty densely packed. Her hallmarks are the confetti stitching, quarter stitching, and heavy use of blended colors. Many seasoned TW design stitchers know to stock up on some colors of DMC (especially golds and browns). Her work doesn't tend to use specialty fibres (some of her newer designs do), though her borders (which are pretty much the best in the entire industry) can be full of fun specialty stitches. In fact, I've taken part of Round Robins that JUST use her borders (they're so faboo!). She is very much an artist into color theory and has given lectures about it, and she's been known to admit that she's not very good at human faces on her designs.
Fantasy Sampler, as I mentioned earlier, was a piece that I was desperate for and even bought it for an outrageous price (for a leaflet at the time, and on a university student's budget). I started it while living in my little studio apartment in Houston and worked on it on and off for a few years and it is officially my oldest WIP/UFO. I know a number of people who have added embellishments - metallic threads and beads- but I love it just the way it is, with the rich, classic colors.
I just started on the lion last night, but I have managed to upset a bad disc in my upper back, so my shoulder isn't work right (and, of course, it's my right shoulder that's borked) and I only got maybe a dozen or two stitches in. Plus it's been a long time since I've worked on a Wentzler piece and I'm having to get used to the blended confetti again. Hopefully, I'll get back to it tonight and then back on it as soon as I finish off an RR I need to stitch.
Egyptian sampler came out in 2001, and I bought the kit because "back then" you didn't know if something would be released in multiple formats or if it would disappear indefinitely (and the kit had DMC threads, so it was good enough quality). I swapped out the fabric for something more parchment looking (though I think it's a bit too dark - this was before the prevalence of hand-dyed fabric sources), and I kind of got "stuck." I was taking part in a UFO-RR where I knew most of the participants pretty well, so I sent it out and got it back with a ton of progress. The more I looked at it, and other finished pieces, the more I wanted to get back to it. There are so many different motifs and boxes that it breaks down into smaller pieces pretty easily, so I'm excited to get back to it.
Thanks for making it to the end, if you did ;) TW is still my all time top favorite designer, I love and appreciate her designs.