She Has Red Panties and Then Some:Tammy Perakis Wallace

tammy pic
Tammy Perakis Wallace and I initially met almost two years ago when we were both vending at an event at the City Art Center in Delaware Ohio. I loved the upcycled clothes she created and especially fell for the Lil’ Devils and Ghost Kitties that were going to be featured in the movie, Pawn Shop Chronicles starring Vincent D’Onofrio, Brendan Frazer and Elijah Wood…WOOT!ghostkittyanddevil

She has a great sense of humor and we just hit it off!  Since then, we have run into each other at several events, COVAC meetings and most recently a show at the Art Access Gallery in Bexley when there was an opening reception for Frank Hobbs, Rosy Avoscan and Joe Lombardo…great Tuscan inspired art.   We seem to pick up wherever we left off and I was super psyched that she knew and introduced me to one of the three featured artists, Rosy Avoscan (who I hope to interview soon along with her hubby,  Frank Hobbs)

Murder of Crows

Murder of Crows

Now, on to the talented and funny Tammy!
Originally trained in Vocal Performance (Opera), she got a BA from Otterbein, with a minor in costume design. She worked professionally in both for (as she says!) a Looooonnnggg time. Eventually, she got a BFA (sculpture & metals) from Ohio Wesleyan and became the Assistant Director of the Ross Art Museum, where she’s  been for over 12 years.  As if that’s not enough, she also started working on art quilts in the 80’s.  In 2007, she created an shop called Red Panty Designs where she sells her fabric works(
When asked to categorize her art, she stated:
I work in fiber; I concentrate on fabric, whether it’s art quilts, original clothing, or jewelry. Sometimes I feel like I have a split personality; my art quilts and my clothing line. But really, it all leads back to the fabric. One expression is more passive, hanging on view until someone engages with it. The other is more direct, for you put on the artwork in the form of a dress or a piece of jewelry, and you are now part of the artwork. It’s a little bit “in your face”, because you’re taking the artwork to the viewer, rather than waiting for them to find the art.DSCN1823

I love her description of what inspires her artistically so let’s read her own words!

Remember sitting down at a piano as a child, and plinking out the notes to “Heart and Soul” with a friend? One plays the lower tune over and over, and the other plays the melody, then you both start to improvise a little, changing the rhythm and music until it becomes something else entirely.

Much of my work starts with that same idea: one friend providing a photo from a vacation, or a bit of original art, and allowing me to play a melody on top. After awhile, the melody changes and the original work becomes something new that I might not have expected. I love that surprise, when the rhythm changes and the work sings out in a new voice.

Piran at Night

Piran at Night

Tammy wants to  remind everyone to haunt your local thrift shops….75% of her materials are secondhand, and the savings allows her to gather more stash. The inspiration from vintage bits and pieces is priceless; that jolt of connection to memories of friends, relatives, moments I thought were lost…it’s like discovering a roll of undeveloped film in your camera from 20 years ago.  And her lovingly created work with fiber shows her enthusiasm for all things secondhand (and you would never know anything was ‘secondhand’!)

She likes to play with fabric….the touch, colors, malleability, using her fabrics like paint, placing them on the surface to express her thoughts, recall a moment, or evoke a response. ‘I feel in command of the fabric, and confident that I can mold it to my intent.’

There are physical layers to a quilt according to Tammy: the backing, the batting and the top, decorative layer. Then, there are the layers of thought, experience and emotions that occur before she finishes a piece. She then shares some of these layers with the viewer in her choice of title, or with the text she embroiders. Text that is important to understanding can be clearly read. Other thoughts were important to her process, but are not as  integral to the final work. These are expressed with text that may be difficult to read, but she hopes rewards the viewer for the effort with another layer of background.TammyWallace2

There are always a few layers that she  keeps inside myself, that she may share face to face, but can’t express otherwise. Some layers are too personal and may remain hidden forever, even to her. Others I discover only when I respond to a viewer’s question; it’s a little surprise, forgotten, but on an inner level always known. That is my reward, to find these small truths in the layers

Currently, she is  working on a new body of work for an exhibit in the alumni space at Otterbein this spring.  Specifically focusing on recycled materials as the main component, she’ll also be giving a presentation about the process this fall, highlighting other artists as well who are working with reclaimed material.63900_182727865075799_5019904_n
“Well I AM included in a book: Glad Rags: Red Panties, Cowboy Boots and a Dress to Die For by Pam Spence, which is coming out in print at any second now! (Yep, that would be MY red panties!)”
In spite of all of this,  she wants people to know that she does NOT take herself or her work too seriously. The name of my shop should give that away! I am quite sarcastic, often macabre, usually bitchy and sometimes mean. I like some very silly things, and I feel this is reflected in nearly everything I produce.   All of this is probably why I like her and her art so damned much!!! Oh, and I know own one of her ghost kitties..LOL!
Shroud II detail1

Shroud I

Shroud II

Shroud II

Contact info for readers: on Facebook:
If you want to see her work in person, you can message her to set up an appointment although she has just begun to do a few craft fairs in the central Ohio area where she  brings some of her fun creatures and the Red Panty clothing line.

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