My family’s background gives me confidence because artistic ability is “in my genes.” I was to born into a German family with artists on both sides. My mother, Eleanor Terfloth, grew up in Baden Baden, Germany and my father, John Terfloth, in Hamburg, Germany. In 1954, my parents immigrated to the United States and became naturalized U.S citizens.
My father’s mother, Agathe Terfloth, was the daughter of an entrepreneur who owned an oven factory in Lünen, Germany. In the early 20th century in Germany, young ladies of well-to-do families were sent to academies and finishing schools where painting was an acceptable pursuit. Agathe’s father, a talented sculptor and painter himself, encouraged his daughter’s interest in painting. During World War II, my grandfather, Hans Terfloth, husband of Agathe, befriended the Princess Vischering of Lüdinghausen. The Princess Vischering, whose family had occupied the castle, Burg Vischering, in Lüdinghausen since 1681, invited Agathe Terfloth to set up a painting studio in the castle in 1940. Agathe Terfloth occupied the studio at the castle for the next forty-nine years and had her last exhibit, at age ninety, in 1989.
Seeing my grandmother paint for so many years (with a studio in a castle no less!) and having several of her pieces hanging in our home made a big impression on me. Her legacy influenced other members of my family as well. My father, John Terfloth, is a theatre director, actor, jewelry smith, writer and watercolor artist. Beate Terfloth, the daughter of my uncle Klaus Terfloth, has become a successful artist and sculptor in Germany. Barbara Terfloth, the daughter of my uncle George Terfloth, is also a painter in Saskatchewan, Canada.
My mother Eleanor Terfloth, sews, fashions curios, and creates dried flower arrangements. My mother’s grandfather, Emil Jacobi, was a painter in Germany and my uncle Peter Jacobi started out as a cartoonist and has worked as a film animator for thirty years. My brother, Patrick Terfloth, does colored pencil drawings, portraits and illustrations.