The Heroine’s Journey of Teresa Wells

What is the best thing that I love about my work? Watching the engagement between the audience and my work, and hearing the responses about what they perceive and understand, is fascinating and the most rewarding. However I also love process. Developing a concept into a finished piece with all the ensuing challenges of the material’s properties, is what initially directed me into working as a sculptor.

What is my idea of perfect happiness? Perfect happiness is making and keeping active whilst listening to music.

What is my greatest fear? We all have fears, we see them as weaknesses. I try not to dwell on my fears as it can crush creativity. I have my mantras which I use to dispel my fears, they help me to power through so I can achieve what I want. However if it is a weakness you are seeking to explore in my character, I admit am not a great lover of complete darkness.

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself? I have my strengths and weaknesses. I am a completely focussed sculptor and a workaholic, maybe a perfectionist, these traits can have implications on others, as they can appear selfish.

Which living persons in my profession do i most admire? Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Ron Mueck, James Turrell

What is my greatest extravagance? A car I own, that I cannot really afford to run. I love the power of the engine and the acceleration it has, with the best part controlling how fast it can go. It does however change the way other road uses react to you too, I’m not sure if I like that that aspect. When you drive it, it makes you feel you have nothing to prove, even though it was bought second hand.

On what occasion would I lie? I’m an ex catholic so if I do lie, I carry around feelings of guilt for a long time afterwards. If I do have to lie, it is usually to protect someone else’s feelings.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work? The private views! I am quite a shy person and nervous around new people, I say the wrong things and get flustered inside.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work? University campuses 1993-1996 and 2006- 2007. I have also recently, and continue to enjoy a bronze casting residency in Shropshire. It is completely isolated apart from the blacksmith and marble top maker next door. It is in the middle of rural Shropshire, lacks all the comfortable amenities, and is a devil to access in snow. Yet I have established a fantastic working relationship with another sculptor, who has introduced me to several other sculptors in Ludlow and Birmingham, and have learned how to cast bronze, make rubber holds with resin cases and work in wax and metal.

If I could, what would I change about myself? I would turn back the clock and eradicate some personal events which I believe hindered my earlier development as a practising sculptor.

What is my greatest achievement in work? Always my last piece. I am currently working on a life size bronze female form that is supported on a steel architectural support at 1.8m high. I also won an award from Richard Deacon CBE, best in show at Creekside, Deptford 2015.

Where would I most like to live? The countryside; maybe somewhere hot within an hour’s drive access to a rich and varied artistic heritage. With my very best friend nearby.

What is my most treasured possession? A photograph of my mother and father when they were in their early twenties, before they had children, and if I can have two things, also a lock of my daughter’s hair.

What is my most marked characteristic? My hair – it has a strong genetic link to my Irish heritage.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city? I adore Rome because of it’s opulent abundance of art, money, power and show of human civilisation

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city? My favourite place to eat is at home with friends. I like to cook fresh and experiment with flavour, texture and new ingredients, using no salt.

What books influenced my life and how? ‘The Humans’ by Matt Haig is a heart warming observation of how human beings communicate, interact and disconnect as seen from an alien’s perspective. ‘The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome by Tony Attwood – This is my bible, when I become confused by a saying or action from my autistic son. I regularly recommend this book to friends or acquaintances as a ‘go to’ guide.

Who are my favorite writers? 

Anchee Min
Mark Haddon
Alison Weir
Phillippa Gregory

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?
Wild as the Wind by David Bowie
Merry Xmas Mr Lawrence by Ryuichi Sakamoto
Nipple to the Bottle by Grace Jones
Anything by London Grammar
Anything Northern Soul or Jazz Funk
Myles Kennedy
The Cult
Pink Floyd
Led Zeppelin
Madonna

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction? Kunte Kinta from ‘Roots’, the spirit to endure no matter what, is truly inspiring.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?
Bernini
Michael Angelo
Leonardo Da Vinci
Sir Magdi Yacoub
Madonna
David Bowie
Temple Grandin

Which movie would i recommend to see once in a lifetime? Ferris Buellers Day Off
(It is such a coming of age movie, where you buck the system for a day and get away with it. A tale of growing up, facing responsibility and taking a day off before the serious side of life takes control).

What role plays art in my life and work? It is everything to me! The two are intrinsically linked! I like to feel that I never want to switch off. Everything I see or experience in the world has an impact on me, which is translated somehow into a piece of sculpture or an installation. If there was one thing in life I could truly say I was passionate about, it is sculpture.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime? My partner has supported me financially, allowing me to take risks. I can’t ever repay that, it allows me to make what I want, it fuels the ambition because I have this amazing opportunity. There have also been others who wholeheartedly believe in me. Dearest friends in Norfolk, my youngest sister, a couple of gallery owners/managers, some acquaintances in New York, and one or two artists from studio groups too. However I also seek mentorship when I can, from The Royal Society of Sculptors, and other advertised opportunities.

Whom would I like to work with in 2018? I have a few projects at the moment, in London, Lincolnshire, and Norfolk. I have a couple of commissions I am working on with another sculptor, one will be placed in the V & A, and the other a large monumental sculpture, both in bronze. I am also working on a commission for a private client in Hereford. I am just really enjoying working with others after spending the last 11 years working in seclusion.

Which people in my profession would i love to meet in 2018?

Grayson Perry
Ron Mueck
Damien Hirst
Tracey Emin

What project, in 2018, am I looking forward to work on? ‘I Spirit’, The V & A Sculpture
The monumental sculpture, Installing outside work and developing my portfolio to suit.

Where can you see me or my work in 2018?

Flux – Chelsea College of Arts
Doddington Hall – Lincolnshire
Hoveton Hall – Norfolk
The OXO Tower Barge House – London

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me? Passion is an energy, the life force of an individual. It is why we do anything, get up in the morning, who we are, it is entrenched within the soul. Sculpture is all that to me, that is why it can never retire.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story? Madonna – because she is highly creative, grows and changes her creative output constantly reinventing herself for her audience, endures, does not allow age to define her, and is completely committed to her craft. She is my guilty pleasure but the word guilty should be removed really. A truly inspiring person both as a woman for women, but for any creative individual.

How can you contact me? 

Through the website www.teresawells.co.uk
or teresa.wells744@gmail.com
I am also a member of The Royal Society of Sculptors
and The Free Painters and Sculptors, London.

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