Textile Studio Adventure in Richmond, Virginia

Our friend Andrea Donnelly opened her textile design studio in Richmond, Virginia, soon after graduating with an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University.  We first met her four years ago while she was finishing up her undergraduate degree from the College of Textiles and Design at North Carolina State University.  Four years in the life of a creative 27 year old is a big chunk of time.  Back then, in 2006, Eric Chavez Santiago and his father Federico Chavez Sosa were invited to teach a master class at NC State.  That’s when Eric met Andrea.  The following summer, she took up residence in the village of Teotitlan del Valle to study natural dyes and weaving techniques with the family.  Today, Little Fool Textiles is a reality.  See http://littlefooltextiles.blogspot.com

 

Andrea shows Eric and Janet how she paints the warp

 

Andrea’s studio is on North 26th St. in an old warehouse district.  She shares the studio space with a group of other artists who also graduated from VCU: a glassblower, a photographer, and a painter.

She is employing a faux ikat technique of painting the warp threads with dye.  The result is a subtle texture and design in the fabric after she weaves it.  The work is just exquisite.

When Andrea started her design business, she decided to name it Little Fool Textiles because that’s what her dad always called her when she was a little girl.  It’s a term of endearment that has stuck!

Andrea uses a fine cotton and her 100% cotton scarves and shawls are airy, feathery, and drape beautifully.  She demonstrated how to wrap a Turkish shawl that keeps the neck warm but gives a feeling of elegance.  In the photo above, Eric, who weaves with naturally dyed wool, examines the delicacy of the material.

This scarf is a play of blue on a white warp painted with black.  You can see the delicate pattern, bold ikat-type zags and zigs, and the symmetry of balance in the sections.  It is a beauty when it is wrapped around shoulders.

 

Andrea models Pixels and Graphs

 

Can you see the yellow, green and blue splotches that Andrea has painted on the warp threads of this scarf.  It is a pattern of positive and negative that is a definite statement.

 

Andrea and Jordan model Pixels and Clouds

Eric and Andrea reminisce about when they first met in North Carolina and the experience they shared together while Andrea was doing the summer externship in Eric’s village.  Andrea shows Eric the purse she still uses that he wove and gave her years ago.  It is great to be part of the creative development of Eric and Andrea as they progress in their lives and careers.

Staying connected through shared memories

 

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