Philadelphia Art Alliance Blog

SoS Artist Spotlight: Bradford Smith & Andrea Donnelly

Bradford Smith

As a farm boy, Bradford Smith was always working to fix and build things around the farm. This led to an interest in woodworking that he developed in high school. For four years after graduation, he worked in several different woodworking shops in the area. Although he learned the basics of woodworking and developed a strong work ethic, Brad felt a more formal education would be helpful. In 1976 he attended the Rochester Institute of Technology’s School for American Craftsmen and graduated with a BFA in woodworking and furniture design in 1980.

The business began with a line of kitchen tools and accessories, which Brad and his wife Sandy designed, crafted and marketed by them. In 1986, Brad expanded the business by developing a line of distinctive furniture. The first piece in the line was the Ax Handle Stool, which continues to be the workhorse of the line. Brad strives for steady growth and improvement of that line, which is represented in many of the finest stores and galleries around the country. Brad also builds ten to fifteen one-of-a-kind pieces a year on speculation or commission.

“Furniture is often categorized into easily recognized styles such as Shaker, County or Arts and Crafts. Over the past 30 years, I have worked to develop a design language that is truly my own. In doing so I have been able to create furniture that cannot be pigeonholed into an existing style. Despite this, my work has a familiarity. I achieve this through the use of recycled materials, good proportions, and old-fashioned usefulness. I find a warmth and history in each salvaged piece of lumber that I use. The marriage of old and new that can be found in my work plays an important role in expressing the richness of things made today and things made decades ago. I want my furniture to not only tell a story, but also be the beginning of a new story”- Brad Smith


Andrea Donnelly

After graduating with her Master of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2010, artist Andrea Donnelly began applying the techniques she developed for her artwork to small-scale functional textiles, and Little Fool Handwoven Textiles was born. Today, Donnelly weaves, dyes, and hand-paints her exquisite one-of-a-kind scarves in the same studio and on the same looms she uses to make her monumental-scale woven artworks.

Her blog, Little FoolŠ(a small business romance), is a photographic artist¹s journal. It chronicles the intricate and unusual processes Donnelly employs to make both her scarves and her artwork, affording a unique look into all corners of her busy and colorful studio.

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