Thursday, October 11, 2012

Canvas Chat : Meet Artist and Historian Jennifer Teeter

Jennifer Teeter
I have the pleasure of introducing the wonderfully talented Jennifer Teeter. I stumbled upon her work by accident a few years ago while I was in Atlanta for a gallery opening of Screaming Silently. Her brother and my husband happen to be very close friends. We  stayed at the Teeter Residence during our visit. The room we were in showcased some of the most beautiful paintings I have seen. Jennifer Teeter is not currently practicing art, however she has a wonderful way to combine her love of art and history. 

Tell us a little about yourself?

I have a BFA in Studio Art with an emphasis in drawing, painting, and museum studies. I am currently finishing my thesis for an MA in Public History with a Certificate in Museum Studies. I’m also working on some grants to create a museum exhibit design package for the City of Griffin Welcome Center and to create a promotional video for the National Park Service’s regional office to highlight work done by the Office of Environmental Services. So right now, I’m not currently painting but I am incorporating my creative abilities into the field of history.

 The Mandeville Mills is an important textile mill 
           that has been converted into apartments
What is Creativity to you?
Creativity is the ability to express ideas in a way that touches other people.

You aren't currently painting, however what is your favorite thing about painting?

I have a two part answer for this. First of all, I love how a flat surface and some paint can be turned into something that looks three-dimensional. The second part is kind of lame! I just really love the experience of paint, texture, colors, smells, etc. I’ve already been interested in art and once when I was really young I found myself watching some public access art class. Most of that episode/lesson was them learning to mix colors with palette knives. I was mesmerized.

What inspires you the most about art?

just really love how everyone can use art to express their feelings. It’s personal, beautiful, and everything people want it to be.

Tell us about being a historian?
Textile Mill Sign for Heritage Trail, Designed by Jennifer Teeter Carrollton.
 Adamson Square

Going to grad school for history was a big decision. Coming from a studio background it was difficult to move into a purely academic setting. That being said, I’ve found my niche where I’m able to incorporate my understanding of art. For me, art is about interpreting your personal view of the world for others to experience. What I do with history is similar. Working with museums and public history projects, I work to interpret history for everyone to experience.

What's the most interesting period of Native American history to you?

Leake Mounds Project, an excavation of which Jennifer
filmed and documented.
I’m going to have to say the Woodland Period, which interestingly enough is the period I’m most familiar with! This period was around 1,000 BCE to 1,000 AD. I think it’s interesting because North American prehistory is undervalued by our educational system, in my opinion. These people had a complex society, traded over long distances, created beautiful pottery, and created earthen mounds that, at their largest, rival the pyramids in Egypt.

Can you share with us about your work on the
West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail?

The West Georgia Textile Heritage Trail is an overall trail that spans the West Georgia region with spurs in multiple cities. The Carrollton Spur, the first city to join the trail, features five outdoor interpretive signs. I worked with the curators, Keri Adams and Andy Carter, to design the signs. They are installed at different points throughout Carrollton. This was my first job that is really physically permanent. So it is really cool to be walking around the city and see my work!

What is the interesting aspect of your job?

This is a photo from a recreation of how archaeologists think 
pottery was fired during the Woodland Period.  
The most interesting aspect of my work is that things are always new. One reason why I’ve always wanted to work in museums is so things don’t become stagnant. I get to learn about new subjects with each project I work on, which keeps things interesting.

Can you tell about some your podcasts and where we can find them?

I wrote and recorded podcasts for the Leake Mounds Interpretive Trail in Bartow County, Georgia. The podcasts are on a mobile website for visitors to the trail or people who are interested but can’t visit the trail. They discuss different aspects of archaeology, American Indian life and preservation. GDOT funded the grant for the Interpretive Trail, and all its parts, as a way to mitigate the damage caused by past roadwork projects to the Leake Mounds. The website and digital content are in the process of being transferred permanently to the Georgia Department of Transportation server, until then the website can be found here:

The bone dry pots were placed onto a bed of hot coals,
then surrounded by dried fire wood, then the fire was
 fed for a few hours, once the wood and 
burned down they were removed and allowed to cool
Do you have a favorite period of Art history?

All of them! Every period has its merits. I love seeing how pieces are representative of their respective periods.

Do you have any words for inspiration for young artists or aspiring historians?

Don’t be afraid to try. This goes for art, history, and pretty much everything. I got so much farther in art school by not being afraid to try new techniques. I’ve gotten so much farther in grad school by being willing to try and learn new things. Failure is not the end of the world, it’s the beginning point for a new learning experience.

All photos are Property of Jennifer Teeter and have been shared with her permission.


  1. I could talk to her for hours. I love her answers.