Artist Spotlight: Christine Terrell

Artist Spotlight: Christine Terrell


Each month, we highlight one of the many individuals in Austin’s Creative Community. This month, it’s reuse artist Christine Terrell! Christine’s main medium is repurposing tins into gorgeous jewelry pieces. Ready more about her and her work below!


How did you start creating art?

I went to school for graphic design and worked in the field in New York City and then in Austin for nearly a dozen years before I got restless and a bit tired of the corporate design game. I decided to go back to school at Austin Community College for welding and blacksmithing. I fell in love immediately. The program was fantastic—great professors, excellent facilities and an open and welcoming group of students. About a year into that I got pregnant with my first child. I really wanted to stay in the program, but all of my professors were like, “Ah, no. We have no idea whether it’s safe to weld while you’re pregnant. There are no studies. Go home.” Fast forward a few years to when I came out of the fog of learning how to manage with a new baby. I really wanted (needed!) to get back to making. Welding in my garage wasn’t an option, but it was about that time when I came across the book, The Fine Art of the Tin Can. I immediately saw that working with tin might be the perfect way to bring together my professional training, my new love of messing with metal with my longtime passion for thrifting. Playing around with some ideas from the book with my first couple of thrifted tins sealed the deal for me.


What is your preferred medium? 

The core of my business is focused on transforming vintage and contemporary tins into jewelry. I think it’s important, however, for creatives to play around with all sorts of materials because it always informs and inspires new ideas in your main medium. The other non-tin media I am drawn back to most frequently are paper collage and gelatin printmaking. Both are endlessly fascinating in their own rights.


How does reuse play a part in your art?

I grew up in a family of frugal Yankees. We completely lived by the mantra: Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. I took this worldview to heart and have continued the practice throughout my life—making it no surprise that I named my business adaptive reuse. Since pretty much the beginning of time, jewelry has mostly been made from precious, virgin materials that are sourced from extractive processes. But working with expensive, precious things held no appeal for me. Figuring out I could use locally sourced, upcycled tins and non-precious, recyclable materials like steel fit my sensibilities perfectly.


How has your art adapted during the pandemic?

I feel incredibly fortunate to have had my art practice during this pandemic. Being able to make something by hand from start to finish is a really important process that I believe helps to regulate our brains and nervous systems. Since my art practice is also my business, I have continued to make pretty much like before the world turned upside down. My business has tapered off a bit, but there seems to be a continued desire for people to own things made by hand. I haven’t really had to adapt my art too much so far, but I’ve been practicing long enough to know to never get too comfortable! 


Do you have a favorite ACR find? What did you do with it?

Oh my word. There are almost too many to even consider. A couple that come to mind: An entire Braille dictionary. The quality of the beautiful ivory paper with all that raised texture was pretty thrilling to a paper lover. I’ve used some of it in collages and I have gifted a bunch to other collage artists. Last week at ACR I scored the coolest tin pail with a gorgeous rainbow colored tie dye pattern and I just made my first pair of groovy earrings from it this morning.


Where can we find out more about your art?

All my crazy creations can be found on my website at and I send 6 Good Things every other Friday to folx on my list. I try to keep up with IG @christineterrell and I’m mostly avoiding FB at the moment! If you’re in Austin, I have a bunch of work at my favorite SoCo spot: Parts & Labour.  I am also excited to be part of the Blue Genie Art Bazaar again this year, so I’ll have a ton of work there as well. 



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