Andrea Durnell is a multi-media folk artist who creates one-of-a-kind, hand-carved dolls and wet-felted hats, using vintage and antique materials and tools. Much of her work is inspired by 19th century art and literature, her own extensive travels, a love of anything artisan made, and a desire to preserve methods and materials that might otherwise fade from use. Outside the studio, the creative fun continues in the kitchen and the garden. Andrea’s photos tell a great deal about her life, her story, and her work. If you are interested in learning more, check out her blog, follow her on Facebook, attend an art fair where she exhibits, or contact her directly.
Hat season begins each January by gathering merino wool, alpaca and sometimes bison or yak roving. The roving is loaded onto vintage and antique wooden hat molds and wet-felted. After all the wet-felting is finished, the hats are needle-felted or embellished with vintage leather and jewelry findings or pins.
As the hats are steamed and packed away to wait for show season, I begin gathering wood and getting acquainted with the soon-to-be-carved characters. I scour flea markets and antique shops for antique and vintage leathers and fabrics and the beginning thread of each doll's story commences. The heads are carved, then painted in oil paint and attached to sawdust-stuffed muslin bodies, which come to life as they pass through each stage: Underpants Day, Tail Day, Bag Day, Hat Day, and Shoe Day. Finally they are outfitted with a full complement of garb are ready to take to the road!
After spending nine months in my studio, I am ready to show everyone what I have been doing. I love watching people come into my booth, enjoy telling the stories about the dolls and fitting people for hats, which often have a bit of a story of their own. In between shows, I start enjoying the fall baking, the wind down in the garden and wind up for the holidays. The quest for "old stuff" to use in my creations never really ends and I take the time to travel a little further than usual.
Throughout the year, my husband and I like to create a visual and virtual feast using as many herbs as we can grow and celebrating whatever else we can coax out of the ground. We like a good farm market for the many things we don't grow and I seize any day I can to bake some bread or make a pie. Townsend the Goldendoodle has wormed his way into every part of our world and he assists me in both my workshop and in my studio.