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Terrie Voigt is an amazingly talented glass and textile artist who knows her way around color -- especially bright, bold hues that, for many, evoke a feeling of happiness. And, her ability to combine such colors in a single work of art is like seeing them co-exist in nature, where no rules apply and everything works beautifully together.

"I think I'm particularly good with color and the placement of color, so when it's going to be glass or fiber, I'm always looking at colors, and I try not to stay attached to certain colors. I try to have variety," said Voigt, "I love playing with them. My favorite color is the rainbow, as my 12-year-old grandson would say."

Voigt, who received a bachelor of arts degree as a fine arts and education major from Michigan State University, has taught kindergarten and third and fourth grades but, in addition to her work as an artist, she's also spent more than the last 20 years as a small parts manufacturer for a microscope company.

She does her kiln work and sand blasting inside a  "well-ventilated and well-atuned" studio in the basement of her Troy home. "It's tight, but I can switch from fiber to glass in relatively quick time. It's a perfect one-person studio, and my weaving (equipment) is upstairs in my sewing room."

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In addition to bowls designed with swirls of vibrant colors, Voigt uses her glass art skills to create one-of-a-kind buttons bursting with color to adorn many of her wearable art pieces.

Also a knitter, crocheter, seamstress, spinner, surface designer, and jewelry maker, Voigt said, "I just love to play with everything, surface designs, garments, (and) felted garments and purses. I'm teaching a free-form crochet class (for a sweater/cape) next year (March 2, 3, and 23) at the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild. I've done a lot of demo-like programs where I do fashion shows."

And, while she sells much of her work, she also enjoys wearing some of "everything" she makes (shawls, sweaters, purses, coats, tunics, jackets, etc.), and saving pieces as examples of different techniques. "Sometimes, I give some as gifts to people who want to wear my style because it's very colorful," she said, noting, "A black and white person will not be attracted to my work." 

A sewing enthusiast for most of her life, Voigt broke into the world of glass art in 1979. Then, later, in 2000, she said, "I decided I needed to do more in fiber, (so) I started knitting and took classes at Crafty Lady (now Crafty Lady Trio in Macomb). I went in and said, 'I want to make a sweater,' and I stayed three years! They sold my buttons, and then I started selling them all over." Her buttons are currently sold at Artisan Knitworks in Chelsea, Basketful of Yarn in Clarkston, and Crafty Lady Trio. 

These days, Voigt is mainly focused on surface design. "My biggest thing I love to do is take a white piece of silk and turn it into gorgeous colors and patterns."

She's also trying her hand at more free-form crochet, a technique she learned several years ago in a workshop instructed by Sandra VanBurkleo (of Artisan Knitworks), hosted by the Needlework and Textile Guild of Michigan. "I love doing that because I can be anywhere and do these little odd (crocheted) pieces. I usually use eight basic crochet stitches, and sometimes I try to work in a circular-type pattern. I enjoy it because there's so much freedom."

Known for her broad range of skills, Voigt is often called upon by local fiber art guilds and other groups to instruct workshops, or be the featured artist at a trunk show. She's scheduled to showcase her buttons, and do a glass button fusing demonstration, Aug. 10, at the Yarn Stop (25 South Main, Clawson) for the I-75 Yarn Crawl.

She'll also be part of the Accessory and Clothing Designer event for the Jewish Hospice & Chaplaincy Network in Bloomfield Hills, set for Oct. 14-15, featuring her hand-painted and hand-dyed garments and accessories. For details, call (248) 855-9554 or (248) 766-3290.

Then, Nov. 17, Voigt will participate in the Ann Arbor Fiberarts Guild Holiday Sale, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., at Washtenaw Community College, Morris Lawrence Building, 4800 E. Huron River in Ann Arbor. Visit annarborfiberarts.org.

Contact Terrie Voigt at terrievoigt.com, terrievoigt.com/blog, facebook.com/TerrieVoigtStudio, or instagram.com/terrievoigtstudio. Email: tvoigt03@gmail.com. 

Detroit News Columnist Jocelynn Brown is a longtime Metro Detroit crafter. You can reach her at (313) 222-2150, jbrown@detroitnews.com or facebook.com/DetroitNewsHandmade. 

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