12th Brandford/Elliott Awardee Announced

Andrea Donnelly Honored with 12th Brandford/Elliott Award at Textile Symposium

The Textile Society of America convened for its 14th Biennial Symposium in Los Angeles, Sept. 10-14, 2014. At the closing awards banquet, artist Andrea Donnelly of Richmond, VA was announced as the 2014 Brandford/Elliott awardee. The Brandford/Elliott Award honors the lives and work of Joanne Segal Brandford and Lillian Elliott, extraordinary textile artists and scholars who died within a few days of one another, twenty years ago, in April 1994. The award is given to an emerging artist working in the fiber medium whose work reflects a willingness to take creative risks.

Andrea Donnelly graduated in 2010 with an MFA in Fibers, from Virginia Commonwealth University. Andrea says about her work “I embed cloth with whispers of a figure, with the language of the body. I hope to capture a fleeting stillness between breaths where deep emotion reveals itself, momentarily unguarded.” A Windgate Fellowship recipient in 2007, Donnelly mesmerized viewers in 2009 with the short film “Andrea Donnelly: Where We Meet,” produced and directed by Harrison Möenich and available to view at The film accompanied the exhibition of the same name on view at the Visual Arts Center of Richmond, VA September 7 – October 21, 2012.

The artist paints figures onto hand woven fabric with dark hues, and allows the merging of the threads and form to create a recognizable form. Donnelly then unweaves her painted cloth, so she can reweave a new one twice as wide using the warp threads to define one figure and the weft threads to create a mirror image. This inventive process allows the artist to create images that are atmospheric yet readable. Prior to discovering her passion for weaving, the artist acknowledges that her study of psychology is key to her melding of figure and suggestive inkblot shapes.

The Brandford/Elliott Award Board, consisting of Pat Hickman, Mary Dusenbury, Frances Dorsey, Barbara Goldberg, Catherine Weller, and TSA representative Jill D’Alessandro on the selection committee, selected three anonymous, internationally known nominators–professionals active in the field, from different geographic regions. Each nominator recommended three artists who were invited to apply. The Brandford/Elliott selection committee reviewed the applications and selected the awardee.

Past international awardees include Frances Dorsey (1995), Marcie Miller Gross (1996), Kyoung Ae Cho (1997), Tomoko Ishida (1998), Sonya Clark (2000), Soonran Youn (2002), Elana Herzog (2004), Andrea Vander Kooij (2006), Stephen Beal (2008), Sharon Kallis (2010), and Olivia Valentine (2012).

Olivia Valentine, the 2012 Brandford/Elliott awardee, was also recognized; she could not be present at the last Symposium, as she was in Turkey on a Fulbright. Valentine was also one of this year’s recipients of TSA’s prestigious Founding Presidents Award.

The next Brandford/Elliott Award will be presented at the 15th Biennial Symposium of the Textile Society of America to be held Oct. 19-24, 2016 in Savannah, Georgia. The Brandford/Elliott Award welcomes contributions in the name and memory of Joanne Segal Brandford or Lillian Elliott in support of emerging artists working in Fiber. Please send donations to Brandford/Elliott Award, P.O. Box 470735, Brookline, MA 02447
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Wendy Weiss
TSA External Relations Director