Terese Agnew began her art career as a public sculptor. Her early work included huge temporary installations that engaged hundreds of people in the art making process. In 1991 Agnew began making art quilts in addition to sculpture. Her quilts are intricately detailed; Practice Bomber Range in the Mississippi Flyway for example, is entirely embroidered with up to fourteen layers of hand guided machine stitching. Agnew’s most celebrated artwork, Portrait of a Textile Worker, is a quilt constructed with over 30,000 clothing labels contributed by people from across the globe. She says of the piece: “The repetition of thousands of people cutting out their clothing labels is retained in the piece, giving it the impact of a chorus of voices."
A Milwaukee native, Agnew lives in LaFarge. Her artwork is held in permanent collections including the Museum of Arts and Design, New York, NY; the Renwick Gallery/Smithsonian American Art Museum, Washington D.C., Merton College, Oxford, England; Milwaukee Art Museum; the John M Walsh III Collection of Contemporary Art Quilts; and numerous other private collections. In 2012, she received the Wisconsin Visual Art Lifetime Achievement Award.