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Denver Vendor Spotlight: Andria Green

How would you describe your style? 
I would describe my style and bohemian, vibrant, and worldly. I gather inspiration from so many different sources, such as nature, other cultures, and architecture. I have a very real respect for any artists who can create products with a minimal style; my brain just doesn’t seem to work that way.

Are there any artists / designers that you particularly look up to?
Some of my favorite artists and designers are: Justina Blakeney (interior designer), Leela Hoehn Robinson of Native Bear (artist and illustrator), Lisa Congdon (artist and illustrator), and Emily Louise Howard of The Diggingest Girl (printmaker).  They each have their own totally different vibe going on, but I am always inspired by the work they create.

What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own? 
It actually took me a long time to figure out what my style even was. I knew I loved nature and geometric patterns, but it was a long process to figure out how to combine the two. I think it can be really difficult to stand out and create unique work with all of the social media around us. But I have learned how to gather inspiration from all different places, and mix it up just right in my head, like a recipe that has been perfected over the years.

One of the best compliments I’ve received was, “You have such a distinctive style.” Even if that style is not for everyone, I felt great that my work was becoming recognizable. I was so worried starting out, because I create art prints, posters, greeting cards, towels, aprons, pillows, and more, that it was not cohesive. But the first big art fair I did a few years back, I set up my tent and products, and somehow all of my color choices and patterns all translated into a collection. 

What sort of things inspire you?  Where do you look for inspiration?
My biggest source of inspiration is nature. I seek it out whenever I possibly can, and I am forever amazed by the tiny, intricate parts of each plant. Everything is organized just the way it should be, and it grows and blooms in such a beautiful, organic but also geometric, way. I am also hugely inspired by the cultures of the world, both ancient and modern. I think each one is fascinating in a different way, and I always like to imagine what it would be like to live there/then. To have my daily walk to work be surrounded by vibrant, patterned tiles, or to worship each week in a church filled with artwork from centuries ago. There is so much history in the smallest textile or painting, whether it was created hundreds of years ago, or yesterday. 

When do you feel the most creative?
I definitely feel most creative in the morning, and when the sun is shining. I have so much more energy when it is the start of a brand new day, and I love how the light makes my studio look. I try to get as much done before noon as possible, which is when I start to slow down and get hungry! Summer is my most productive season.

What is your creative process like?
I generally start with a picture, whether from a book or from something online. I am careful to never copy anything, even if it was made thousands of years ago, but I love to have a starting point and some inspiration. I have never been good at doing things freehand (although maybe if I practiced I might get better :) ), so I always sketch everything out before I start painting or carving. From there, I will start painting the different parts of a piece, or start carving a new block to use on textiles. There is, more often than not, more than one attempt, especially if I don’t have a completely concrete idea in my head of what I’d like the finished product to be. But I typically am able to get it down after a couple tries. If I am working on a painting, I will usually print out some photos that I took as inspiration, and have them nearby.

What's the coolest artistic tip you've ever received?
Don’t give in to trends. It’s something I have struggled with since I was a kid, wanting to do what everyone else was doing. I got away from that as far as my own personal style goes, but it’s still occasionally in the back of my head when I am creating. It seems, for me, to be an easy way out if I am lacking inspiration, to tell myself, “This is what is popular right now, and people might not be interested if you don’t make something like that!” But I try to remind myself that trends will die out in a year or two, and I need to be creating what is in my brain, not what is popular at the moment. 

Where can we learn more about you?  
I try to share almost every day on Instagram, and while it definitely is styled, I always try to share pieces of my process and inspiration, or videos of me working. And, of course, the occasional picture of my adorable dog :)

Denver Vendor Spotlight: Caged Bird Sings

How would you describe your style?  
Funky, Nerdy, Romantic.  I have a masters in Art history so a lot of my inspiration comes from people in different timelines, countries, and books. 

Are there any artists / designers that you particularly look up to?
I've always been inspired by Wassily Kandinsky and his use of color and pattern to portray emotion and sound into his work.  My specialty is in African art so I'm also complete enamored with Nick Cave (not the singer) and El Anatsui since both deal with pattern, used material, and transference of cultural history into a contemporary work of art. 

What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own? 
Because I personally make them!  I wrote a paper on the quality of "things" in graduate school and it is mostly about this idea of a "thing" gaining quality by being touched, or formed, with human ingenuity.  That's a similar idea to what I have about my own work.  I use recycled stained glass from a local stained glass artist, I find branches from local parks, and I hold, mold, and put so much love into every chime that I create, and then there is of course the person purchasing the chime for a whole variety of reasons.  All of these different people are a part of the story of the piece and that's what makes me so passionate about creating them. 

What sort of things inspire you?  Where do you look for inspiration?
Nature, humans, emotions.  I often find myself using nature with all of the various patterns, and color combinations as a big inspiration for my work.  There is a kind of special, magical quality that stained glass offers that I find best mirrors those found in natural settings.  Colorado also offers the most beautiful scenery and unusual pairings.  Last summer I spent a long weekend visiting the Sand Dunes for the first time and was just blown away by the way the dunes, river, and mountain peaks played off of one another.  When I'm laying out pieces my design process is very much my memory and emotions felt visiting the different places that I've explored and the people that I've met along the way.  

When do you feel the most creative?
I love to jam out.  Pandora has an "80s Cardio" playlist and when that comes on... I turn into my most productive self (unfortunately for my neighbors it's also extreme karaoke self).  Usually I'll go on a big hike or little walk around Denver to recharge, but I've also found myself to reset into the creative process when I let someone else do it for me.  I love, love, love letting others help me with their custom orders, ESPECIALLY when I'm able to let them come to pick their own glass pieces from my workroom at home.  I love getting to see them pick out pieces and put them together and it really helps fuel my own creative spirit.  I think this is also why I'm such a passionate teacher, I'm always looking for new ways to tackle a project or subject.  

What is your creative process like?
I have about three bins of stained glass scraps (mostly organized by color group) and will spend hours selecting pieces and placing them on rubber mats to lay out a chime.  I'll collect handfuls of colors I find interesting and then begin to put them together.  I usually have a system of opaque pieces next to more transparent ones but I will try and mix it up a little bit.  Once I've set aside a few chime designs and I'm ready to create I head straight to my bead collection which usually has me making design decisions of whether or not to include the same color palate with the beads or to create a contrast.  Then I place the 3-4 beads per piece of glass above the glass, plug in the glue, put on some music, and get into the zone.  One of my favorite little secrets (though not anymore!) is adding an "M" shape with the hemp on one piece of glass per chime, it's kind of like a quiet signature and it always makes me smile knowing that my name is hidden within the work. 

What's the coolest artistic tip you've ever received?
Ah!  So many.  One of my professors at the University of Northern Colorado told me to put my work far away and squint to try and see if the colors, highlights, and shadows were equally placed and I use that advice all the time.  I think one of my most inspiring artistic tips was from a painting professor who told me that my need to please others was bringing my work quality down and that art should be for you.  She told me that all of those great artists that we learned about did not care about whether or not I thought their work was "pretty" or "cool" but rather that we felt some sort of transference in emotion because that artist put their heart, soul, and personal belief into that work of art and that I should do the same. 

Vendor Spotlight: Lichenology

What do you feel makes your work unique and truly your own? 
I began creating natural jewelry years ago, when my husband's family decided to sell their beloved cabin above Poudre Canyon. I looked for a tangible way to hold on to the memory of the property, and began collecting small, beautiful artifacts that, when placed together, reconstructed a story about the cabin and what it means to be nourished by a place. 

lichen

Since then, I have used my craft as a way to polish my experiences in nature --juxtaposing materials possessing their own, divergent stories to create a piece with a single, unified future. I have seen that everyone finds their own meaning in these pieces--whether through attachment to the physical locations housing the raw materials, the sentimentality of a kind of wood or stone, or the mere tying together of different histories. Thus, each piece is as unique in form as it is in meaning.

What sort of things inspire you?  Where do you look for inspiration?
A good, old fashioned walk in the woods is the best inspiration, but particularly when I have a thought-provoking book by my side. Nature writers like John Muir, Wallace Stegner, Ellen Meloy, and Terry Tempest Williams have a way of illuminating the seemingly mundane aspects of our relationship with the world and making them instrumental to our understanding of it. My work operates in similar ways, encouraging both me and the wearer to reconsider what we know and feel about our natural surroundings.

When do you feel the most creative?
Walking in the woods outside my house in Breckenridge is the surest way to get me excited about creating. I love finding gnarled pieces of deadfall and wondering about the grain patterns that lay inside. Any time I'm out collecting lichens, too, I am anxious to be back in my shop, pairing them with new woods to see what makes each specimen come alive in a new relationship. The process of creating is equally exciting, allowing me to pair wood and lichens based on their complementary organic patterns.

Where can we learn more about you?  
My website, www.thelichenist.com, is a great way to learn about the materials I use and why I get so fired up about them. Follow me on Tumblr @thelichenist to gain insight into my daily inspirations and creative process.

Shop Lichenology at Jackalope Art & Craft Fair on July 25th & 26th at EXDO Event Center.