Andrea Graham is a feltmaker and educator residing in rural Ontario with her husband and three sons. She is a member of the Connections fibre group and an active member of the Ontario Crafts Council. Andrea has studied feltmaking with numerous respected feltmakers. She is passionate about educating the public across Canada and the U.S. in recognizing the complexities of handmade felt through her teaching and lectures. Andrea was the 2011 Artist and Educator in Residence at Queen's University.
When did you feel your art was your own?
I have been doing this full time for 11 years and I think the last year has been a pivotal time. I really stopped trying so hard to be ahead of the game or seeking my market. I decided this was futile and the best way to find my voice was to shut out all the other chatter and just create. I am not sure to what degree I can consider my work 100% my own. The inspiration and influence of so many is woven into my work as much as the fibres themselves. A bit romantic, perhaps, but I cannot ignore the journey.
When did you feel you found your own artistic voice?
Really not until about 10 years into my full-time feltmaking practice. I felt like I had reached a place technically that I could manipulate the fibres to desired result with a high degree of predictability (I would never be so presumptuous as to use the word “master”). I had learned from most of those on my feltmaking “bucket list” and, I guess it was just the time.
Was there any influence in your life that you felt that pushed your work to another level?
There are certainly milestones. Seeing the work of Jorie Johnson first hand and thinking “This is the bar”. The tremendous warmth and generosity of so many instructors who put aside any desire or need to hold anything back taught me so much. Events such as the “Felter’s Fling” where we gather from our corners of the world for felt immersion have been invaluable as has been grant funding. My friendship with Chris White with late nights discussing fibre dynamics and felting sample after sample reminds me that the wool always has something to teach me if I am paying attention.
Andrea Graham Resources