"You'll have no trouble recognizing my house," Teresa Haygood assures me when I ask directions to her studio. As I slowly proceed down the quiet neighborhood street, the conservative, neatly manicured yards give way to what is most certainly an artist's yard. There are vibrant bottle trees glistening in the sun, and gnarly metal sculptures lurking in the shade of the towering pines. But the perfect accent that gave it away was the large ceramic kiln hanging from a boom in her garage, suspended there awaiting its first assignment.
Haygood energetically meets me at the door just as the mailman approaches with his shoulder bag and his official USPS attire, adding the perfect Saturday Evening Post flavor to the event. Looking down, I realize I'm tromping on a beautiful work of mosaic, which makes me a bit uncomfortable for a second, until it dawns on me that it must be OK to stand on the floor. You have to admire art that can take that kind of abuse.
Haygood's home and studio contain a wonderful collection of original art—some hanging, some standing to be viewed in the round, some stacked in corners awaiting an opening to reveal itself. Among the many pieces she has collected are some very unusual tribal masks. "I like to bring back something unique each time I go to New Orleans," she tells me, followed by a sad pause.
I am compelled to walk through her home to see all the shiny objects and wonderful works on display. I find myself being magically drawn through the space as Haygood tries to give a brief background to anything that I'm looking upon.
The tour continues as we descend the stairs to Creative Minds Studio. Haygood transitions into giving me a brief glimpse into her background. She holds a degree in geology from Millsaps College, and worked as a research scientist in the energy sector for a spell, but quickly realized her calling was art, not geology. And yes, she can make art from rocks, but you should see her stained glass and her mosaic works. They really rock!
If you're one of those people who's struggling to find local art that really compliments your life, I challenge you to consider a work of stained glass. The beauty of light dancing through translucent glass shapes is … well, it's heavenly. That must be why so many religious sanctuaries are highlighted with stained glass. But heathens need not be disheartened; Haygood's stained glass is for everyone.
You might happen across Haygood's stained-glass work in most unexpected places. When I visited the Creative Minds Studio, she was creating glass for cabinet doors that will revitalize the kitchen of a Katrina-stricken home in New Orleans.
For Haygood, stained-glass works are the staple of her business, but she will quickly tell you that mosaics are her passion.
"I hate to waste stuff … I guess I'm a bit of a packrat," she confesses, as I quickly learn from our conversation that she appreciates leftovers. Whether it be an old bicycle that her neighbor put out with the trash—which I'll get back to—or all the little pieces that remain from cutting the stained-glass work, Haygood is fond of recycling, which led her to a bit of an epiphany.
As she collected all the leftover chips from her stained-glass works, their beauty inspired her to create mosaics. And when she says this has become her passion, that's an understatement. Now, Haygood "mosaics" everything: I feel pretty sure if I'd stood still for very long, she would mosaic me. She's even begun to noodle on "mosaicing" that bicycle. Her floor is mosaic, her table is mosaic, she has a mosaic of bacon and eggs in an actual frying pan—which would be very cool hanging in your kitchen. And there are many works in progress.
"Sometimes I start a mosaic and don't have all the answers, like which colors, textures and shapes to use, but I focus on one thing that I know for sure and work on that," Haygood says. "Then, as the process continues, the next step is revealed, then the next, and so on."
"I think we have to move through life the same way, choosing one step at a time as the answers are revealed to us … and sometimes the end result can be quite surprising," she adds.
Among her countless works of flat and three-dimensional mosaic art, she has a breathtaking water pitcher and stand, which is a piece that catapulted her to being inducted into the prestigious Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi.
"Life Is Color and Light" are the words tiled within one of Haygood's mosaics. That statement seems to compliment both her personality and her work.
Visit Teresa's world of color and light online at Creative Minds Art.