Tess developed her interest in calligraphy in early childhood when she spent much time in church. Her parents Derrick and Margaret Cooling are both Anglican clergy. She was also inspired by her former art teacher Rhoda Cooper at Haberdashers’ Monmouth School for Girls and Bob Waldie at Croesyceiliog School who taught her the basics of calligraphy.
She studied for a BA degree in Interior Design and Architecture at North London Polytechnic and later qualified as a teacher at University College Wales Newport. She has taught design and technology in London, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire and Monmouthshire but now devotes her time to being a full time artist.
Putting a visual interpretation on the words that inspire or comfort people is an emotional experience. I love the challenge of being presented with a quotation or words and using them to create a new piece of art.’
She has been commissioned to do work by many organisations and individual people from across the UK and abroad. She has also been commissioned to produce pieces to be presented to the Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York and the Chaplain to the Armed Forces.
Exhibitions of Tess’ work have included venues at St Alban’s Cathedral, Belmont Abbey, Hereford Art and many galleries and churches. She regularly exhibits at the National Christian Resources Exhibition. Her work has featured on the BBC Radio Wales programme All Things Considered and articles in Church Times. Woman Alive and the Retreat Magazine.
Tess lives in Monmouth in the Wye Valley with her husband Huw Edwards. She has two grown-up children, Tom and Chrissie and a lovely grandaughter, Georgia. In her free time she enjoys doing needlework, running and cycling, climbing mountains and listening to music.
‘I love being outdoors and find much inspiration from being so close to nature, not just visually but spiritually. I feel a deep sense of peace when at the top of a mountain, running through the woods and being faced with the elements, be it wind rain or sunshine’.