I've had some time to organise some background, and I had a phone chat with Robin Jay, who was Terry-Anne's partner for several years. He lives about 100 miles away from me on the west coast of Ireland , and we have kept in touch over the years, so I was able to tell him about her passing and get some background on how she came to live in Ireland. So these are the details, however the editors want to present it, maybe as a quote from me, who was her friend and art colleague here. My background: American/Irish, came to Ireland in 1977, after studying anthropology, and crafts. I've lived mostly in small cottages in Co. Donegal, where I reaised my family and I have been a craftmaker/artist all my life, now I do some teaching and working with groups. My background is in textiles, I make traditional quilts, as well as art quilts, which are painted and stitched. I also facilitate groups/ community projects in creating their own art textiles,and do public art commissions, so in that sense she and I had parallel evolution of our art careers, though the teaching and community work etc. came later for me in the time frame.
I met Terry-Anne here in Glencolmcille, Co. Donegal, Ireland, in the remote and rugged northwest of Ireland, where I still live, in 1977. She had moved here the year before, in 1976 with her partner, Robin Jay, who was also from Durban. They had met in 1974 in Durban, when Terry Anne was teaching art at a school, and Robin was an architect. Robin Jay's sister was the noted sculptor from South Africa, Berrell Jensen. She had come to settle in northwestern Ireland through invitation of the socialist priest, Fr. James McDywer, who was the parish priest of this area in Co. Donegal. As a social project to further promote the local art and craft scene, Berrell was engaged to create an art studio and she educated students in metal and sculptural work and jewelry making, printmaking and other crafts. She set up her studio and living space in an old schoolhouse in a remote valley in Meenacross, Glencolmcille, with her young son and daughter, and Robin, her brother, who came over after. He renovated an outbuilding behind the school as a home, and Terry-Anne came to join him after some months.
During their life there they were both involved in creating a homestead and small farm, keeping bees, landscaping , gardening and foraging. There were plenty of rambles on the bogs and mountains, and fishing trips around the area. They also made home-brew beer and wines. She was always looking closely at the native plants and animals. She soon discovered the local textile sources, yarns and tweeds, which the area is renown for. She and I shared a love of fabrics, and she soon learned to both weave and print on fabric. We would bucket around in her little car to larger towns nearby to get fabrics to print on and to sew, and yarns to weave. She sold her celtic inspired silk-screen and batik prints and small tapestry weavings, as well as doing many small watercolour paintings of local buildings and landscapes in the local gift and craft shops. She had good relationships with some of her older neighbours too, stopping in for chats and cups of tea, although generally, life in Donegal for outsiders like ourselves at that time was very isolated and socially restricted, so we had that in common: trying to figure out life in rural Ireland and how to survive the generally terrible weather conditions, and still stay happy and healthy! Robin's architectural work took him to Belfast, where he had a small house that he used when he was working during the week, so Terry- Anne was back and forth to Northern Ireland for a period, before she returned to Durban permanently in the 80's.. I think those few years living in Donegal were very fruitful in many ways for her, I always remember her elbow deep in some project, in wellington boots and swathed in sweaters and scarves and an eccentric array of hats to keep warm and her throaty laugh, and her humour. After she moved back to Durban, I didn't hear much from her but about 10 years ago with the miracle of internet we re-established contact and kept in least annual contact. I was not the least suprised to hear of her many successes painting botanical subjects, and I was very impressed with the mural work she showed me with the local community groups. Our paths crossed for only those few years, but her curiousity and talent, and friendship always stayed with me.