Following a 25 year career creating living environments, formerly painting furniture, fabric and walls for interior designers, Andrea Lewing Wendel is moving on to the next chapter of her life -- as a furniture designer. Under the design name Andi Le, Andrea creates furniture that is inspired by nature. She chatted with us about inspiration, design idols and more in our latest Meet the Maker profile.
Name/Location: Andrea Lewin Wendel/Aspen, CO
Where did you grow up? Lebanon, PA
Where did you study/train? I studied illustration at Moore College of Art in Philadelphia, through the years I continued my education at a trade school for welding, then I took many classes in sculpture and wood working at Anderson Ranch Art Center in Snowmass, Colorado. Taking the time to explore process, learn techniques and commune with other artists was essential for finding my own voice.
What was the first thing you made and sold? After college in the 1980s, I hand painted pillows, for an interior designer which lead to fabric, furniture, walls, anything that held paint.
Who is your design idol? There are many whose style and zest for life are icons. A few off the top of my head are: Donna Karen for her way of life and design. I am loving her home accessory line. Patricia Urquiola, her design aesthetic is just complete. And Charlotte Perriand was a pioneer.
Where do you find inspiration? Indigenous cultures that create and adorn, for joy, pride and history. I am drawn like a magnet to the artist's hand. Nature and the lands' geography out here in the west are filled with textures, colors that seem "Photoshopped". The overall landscape to the lichen fills me with inspiration.
What's one thing you wish YOU had made or designed? There are so many designs that stop me in my tracks, but it is usually the most simple of designs.
What's your advice for a designer/maker just starting out? Follow your passion to create and don't stop learning and exploring. In today's world it is up to you to find your audience and share what you do.
To see more of Andrea's work, check out site: Andi Le.
(Images: Andi Le)