Tag Archives: Little Fool Textiles

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


Little Fool Textiles

It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that we met textile artist Andrea Donnelly.  My mind is calculating back to when Eric Chavez Santiago and his father Federico Chavez Sosa first came to the States.  October 2006.  They taught a master class and natural dye workshop at the North Carolina State University College of Textiles and Design.  That’s when they met Andrea, who was completing her undergraduate education and looking to expand her repertoire.

Eric and Andrea in the camioneta, with her mom (standing), Stephen and Omar

The following summer 2007 Andrea came to Teotitlan del Valle for an intensive individualized learning program that she arranged directly with the family.  She worked alongside Eric and Federico to learn more about the natural dyeing process.  Gathering the plant materials and processing them into dye baths that would yield incredible colors.   Traveling up into the mountain highlands rain forest to collect the moss.  Walking the village to harvest the pecans.  Picking the wild marigolds.  Crushing the cochineal bugs and indigo with mortar and pestle.

Natural dye yarn samples

After that summer, Andrea went to Penland to experiment with metal forging.  She was applying to graduate school and landed in Richmond, Virginia, where she graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University with an MFA.

Now, she has  opened a workshop studio in Richmond, where she is weaving glorious, one-of-a-kind textiles, scarves and shawls, that are hand-painted under the label, “Little Fool Textiles.”  You can find her at http://littlefooltextiles.blogspot.com