Andrea Donnelly Studio
Handwoven Scarves, Richmond
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Andrea Donnelly in her studio wearing one of her handwoven scarves.
Photos by Adam Ewing.
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Occupying most of one whitewashed wall in Andrea Donnelly’s 15th Street studio in Richmond is a scarf handwoven of silk in eight panels that are stitched together. Very small eyelet holes punctuate the pattern (created with just one of a number of labor-intensive weaving techniques she used in the work), inviting light into the deep blue and red double ikat cloth. “It’s something you might not take in from a distance,” says the 33-year-old artist, “but in spending time with the piece, like all of my artwork, you notice the details.”
The piece will be part of an exhibition of her conceptual scarves beginning August next year at Raleigh’s North Carolina Museum of Art, which also has several of her massive textile works in its permanent collection. It was Donnelly’s large scale artwork like this that led the Raleigh native to begin making wearable scarves after earning her MFA in fiber from Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in 2010.
“All of the techniques I’ve used on the scarves I originally developed in making my artwork. That’s how I learned all the details and the intricacies of how thread moves on the loom,” she explains. “I took all that knowledge and then transformed it into a more design-based way of thinking.” Using fine cotton, silk, linen, merino and alpaca, Donnelly will spend 20 hours or more on each scarf, making micro-series of 5-8 pieces: “When I started making the scarves, I had no idea how much they would feed back into my artwork. This crossover between the two has been a fruitful and really fertile place for me to explore.”
Though her brand has grown significantly in the last couple of years through appearances at high-visibility events like the Smithsonian Craft Show and the Visual Arts Center of Richmond’s Craft + Design Show, Donnelly is not thinking about scalability—for her, the work is about “bringing that conversation back to the small scale and the handmade, and the value of objects and the power of the things that we choose to bring into our lives.” $850. AndreaDonnelly.com
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Click here to see 2015 winners.
Click here to see 2014 winners.
Click here to see 2013 winners.
Click here to see 2012 winners.