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Teagan White is a recent graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and a freelance illustrator. Her body of work encompasses intricate renderings of flora and fauna, playful depictions of cute anthropomorphic critters, illustrative typography, and everything in between. Her clients include Nike, Wired Magazine, Anthropologie, and more, and her work can be found on Society6 and praised on numerous design blogs about the web. In the rare case that Teagan is not hard at work on a new project, she is likely on an adventure involving some combination of forests, photographs, lakes, industrial ruins, and google maps.

Teagan shared with us her adorable creation Harvey the Chipmunk, available in machine embroidery and hand embroidery formats.

Tell us a bit about your background -- what led you into art?

I've been drawing my whole life, but never considered anything art-related as a career until I took a graphic design class in high school. I quickly fell in love with design and enrolled in the Minneapolis College of Art & Design, where I planned on majoring in graphic design, until my love of drawing by hand coerced me into the illustration program. I just recently graduated with a BFA and am continuing my freelance illustration business.

What inspires your designs?

I am always most inspired by nature -- my boyfriend and I frequently go on outings to places like local forests, rivers, lakes, swamps, and so on, and these adventures frequently form the basis for future work for me. I love noticing small details and anomalies in the natural world, and spotting traces of nearby animals, whether it be a giant beaver dam or the tiny scuffs on fallen logs from deer hooves. I am most awed by the reciprocal relationships between all the life forms in a given ecosystem, the fact that they coexist so fluidly and are so dependent on one another.

Tell us a bit about your design. Is there any story behind it?

I've created two pieces about this character, Harvey the Chipmunk. He lives in a little house made of sticks and bark, and he spends all of his time (especially in autumn) greedily collecting seeds and nuts to keep him fed through the winter. He buries them, strings them on lines through his backyard, and stuffs so many in his little house that it's near busting and he has to tie his door shut! The image that the embroidery is based on is called "The Last Acorn of Autumn," and it shows Harvey and a squirrel standing on either side of the last acorn of the season, having come across it simultaneously and facing an imminent showdown.

What’s your studio/workspace like?

It's a small, sunny room with the windows open whenever possible and currently a robin is sitting on her nest right outside the southern window. I am an avid collector of small nature artifacts like bones and shells and dried plants and things, as well as dusty old objects I find in antique shops and at garage sales like old medicine bottles and cigar boxes and wind chimes, and my studio is packed with those sorts of things. Probably my favorites of the lot are my taxidermy pheasant, a bat specimen preserved and suspended in a clear acrylic block, an old shipping crate for Krakus ham (lovingly nicknamed Hambox), and this weird creepy clay cat wind chime I found. Together, all the things I fill my studio with keep me happy and inspired and excited about the world in general, and of course serve as reference for the work I create that is more detailed and realistic.

What’s your favorite handmade craft you’ve ever made?

I'm getting into hand embroidery and creating plush toys and ceramics, but only whenever I have free time, which is pretty rare -- so I haven't created anything I'm too happy with yet! However, I've made a lot of kind of strange decorative pieces that I'm quite fond of -- one corner of my studio wall is adorned with two wooden hangers with old keys and driftwood tied to them and dangling below, and doilies mounted to the wall behind them.

Finally, if you were a Crayola crayon, what color would you be?

A Caucasian skin tone so that all the kids can stop coloring people yellow like the Simpsons. (I suppose they probably have fleshy tones now, but they never did when I was a kid!)

If you’d like to find more of Teagan’s work, you can check out her website, or grab some of it for yourself off Society6.

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