Interview: Patti Troth Black

Interview by Brittani Lepley
Photography by Alexandra Valenti

What medium of your art says the most about you as a person? 

Photography says the most about me, most especially 120 Medium format film photography. My Fuji Rangefinder disclosed to me creatively the same qualities of stillness, patience, and grace that I experience in meditation. It’s all about letting go.

We love your unique sense of style. What would you say inspires you to dress so extravagantly every day? 

I began “designing” clothes from the individual pieces in my grandmother’s quilts when I was three years old. This said, putting clothes and accessories together has retained an elementary sense of original joy. So, I am continually inspired working with color, line, angle and texture—the same principles governing my artwork. Each outfit, in a sense, is a work of art. Plus, I simply feel good when I dress creatively, as an active participant in the beauty I search for in clothing, nothing excluded here—everything has potential.

You live in Austin but also have a beautiful home in Santa Fe. What are your favorite parts about each city? 

Since I am a lover of Nature, particularly birds and native plants, my favorite places in both Austin and Santa Fe have to do with Nature. Here in Austin, my favorite place is our home: a preserved Rural area where we have one and a half acres. We are a registered Habitat, providing food and water front and back; watching the birds alone is extraordinary. We also feed foxes, wild turkeys, skunks, possums, raccoons, and bunnies. In Santa Fe I particularly love Museum Hill, which is on a rise that gives views of both sets of Mountains, the Jemez and the Sangre de Christo. Because of the elevation, Santa Fe’s Nature has a grandness not found here. The mountains inspiring sunsets that leave me wordless.

How can we purchase a piece of your art? 

Because every piece of work I do is one of a kind, I decided long ago not to have a website. I have collectors, and I show my work in a large variety of venues for which invitations are sent out. I give out my email and cell number through my business cards and my card line, which is always growing as I sell work. My Art email is; my cell: 512 965 0646. My clients often come to my home to see what is new or something they saw earlier at a showing.

What is most important to you with regards to your art?

What I care most about is the truth of healing through the Arts—especially music and visual art. When I was attending the Episcopal Theological Seminary in Pastoral Ministry, I sang for an entire year at the Rosedale School off Burnet Rd. for severely disabled children. It was an extraordinary journey: very, very challenging in many aspects, and at the same time so affirming of a truth that music can go where nothing else can. I had written a suite of songs called “The Magical Child,” and the school asked me to leave recordings of this when I could not be there. Now, AUSTIN Classical Guitar is doing the singing, and I am doing the Artwork for the Lullaby Project, originating in Carnegie Hall, which teaches mothers of all kinds (teenage and unwed; those in Salvation Army’s Shelter for homeless Mothers and Children; Mothers in jail who have lost custody of their children) how to write and sing a lullaby to their baby.  I have also donated Artwork to other Music Organizations that are actively involved in what I would call Music that Heals: KMFA Classical Music; Classical Guitar Alive, which has a hospice practice; and, of course: Conspirare, the Company of Voices, led by Craig Hella Johnson.

You are also a classically trained singer. What instrument do you enjoy most?

 I have been fortunate enough to study with some excellent teachers. I have been singing since I was a small child and memorized the ballads in both English and Spanish that my Father would sing to me almost every night since I was a baby. I became professional at 15, taught myself to play guitar and five string banjo. I had an eleven year professional career in between University Degrees, replete with recording in Nashville.

Can you tell me about the outfits you chose to wear today? We love the details of the Gabriela Hearst dress! 

The Gabriella Hearst dress is so elegant, so perfectly designed, I wore it without even a necklace. I chose not to wear the Designer’s boots with it, but instead paired soft moss-colored suede boots by The Row; somehow they seem to soften further, and romanticize the dress. The gloves are Vintage, from the 40’s—that dress deserves lovely gloves.

With the Schella Kann sculpted skirt and top, which I adore for the flawless fit and lightness of fabric, I paired a Vintage Amethyst necklace to fill in the deep V-neck.

The last outfit was a mix of a unique, very romantic and flattering white blouse by Proenza; long, wide trousers by Esby, in the richest deep Ochre, and orange Dries Van Noten Sandals worn with vibrant Stance socks with gold details.  This is the kind of outfit that can go anywhere;  because of the flawless quality, it dresses up, yet is comfortable enough for a long day of tasks and lunch—I love it!


Look 1: Dress by Gabriela Hearst, boots by The Row

Look 2: Top and skirt by Schella Kahn

Look 3: Blouse by Proenza Schouler, trousers by Esby, sandals by Dries Van Noten