Tag Archives: textile design

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


Museo Textil de Oaxaca: July 2008

“From Mitla to Sumatra” is on exhibit at the Museo Textil de Oaxaca through early August. It is an extraordinary display of weaving from Oaxaca and her surrounding villages, plus similar designs that are prevalent in Indonesia, Africa, and China. Alejandro de Avila, the exhibition curator, has subtitled the grouping, “the art of the fret.” The fret, or greca, is a ubiquitous design that appears in textiles around the world — a wonderful commentary about our connection to each other as human beings. This exhibition features clothing and rugs that incorporate the design of the fret. The museum’s permanent collections include traje or clothing representing the the many indigenous people’s of Oaxaca, including woven and embroidered blouses, skirts, shawls, rugs, belts, and other articles of decoration and clothing. This is the only museum of its kind in Mexico, and if you are in Oaxaca — a locale noted for its incredible textiles — this is eye-candy you won’t want to miss. Since the museum does not yet have a complete website, I though it would be helpful to give you a taste of what is in store when you visit.

There is a great museum store on site that offers silk and wool handwoven scarves, two beautiful shawls woven by Roman Gutierrez, an array of precious, intricately woven huipils, and some wonderful books on weaving for sale. Francisco Toledo has donated his library of world textile publications, and the biblioteca at the museum is spacious and comfortable, open for public use.

I just love the design of the gas stove in the dye kitchen at the museum. The counter top is cement with an integrated color of warm yellow. The backsplash is broken tile shards from the pottery village of Atzompa.

The museum’s director, Ana Paula Fuentes Quintana, anapaula@museotextildeoaxaca.org.mx is a textile artist who studied in Barcelona where she earned a master’s degree. She encourages everyone who is interested to come and visit. The coordinator of education is my friend Eric Chavez Santiago, educacion@museotextildeoaxaca.org.mx who organizes programs for students, teachers, and artists, is creating a display of natural dye materials, and is developing certification for weavers to authenticate their use of natural dyes.

Here is a photo (above) showing the restoration process of a very special huipil, in an area dedicated for the preservation of textiles.  The museum relies on volunteers for this work.  If you are interested in knowing more, please read The Unbroken Thread: Preserving the Textile Traditions of Oaxaca.

Museo Textil de Oaxaca is free and open to the public every day except Tuesday. Funded by the Alfredo Harp Helu Foundation, its mission is to preserve the textile traditions of Oaxaca, teach and educate about the weaving process, restore antique textiles, and showcase the textiles from Oaxaca and around the world. It is housed in the renovated 18th century Casa Antelo and a part of the ex-convent of San Pablo. The facilities are extraordinary: arched colonial doorways and windows, stone walls and floors, and original frescoes that have survived. The original owner of the Casa Antelo was a cochineal merchant, so the link from past to present is particularly cogent.

Coming Soon: Workshops for Children and Young People, ages 6-10 and 11-16, from July 14 to August 16. Contact the Museum for more information and to register: 501-1104 or 501-1617, extension 104.

New Exhibition Opening Friday, August 15: Woven and Crocheted Plant Fiber Handbags, opening reception that evening.

Address: Hidalgo 917, corner Fiallo, Centro de Oaxaca, two blocks from the Zocalo

[Note: For weaving workshops for artists, teachers, weavers, knitters, and anyone interested, please use the Search tool on this blog to see the blog post: Oaxaca Weaving Workshops: Dancing on the Loom. We teach all levels, from novice to experienced. We are not endorsed by or associated with Museo Textil de Oaxaca.]