Andrea Wisnewski - Illustrator & Printmaker
Andrea enjoyed making art from an early age. The act of drawing and observation always went hand in hand. Her most impressionable years were spent on a tidewater farm her parents rented on the Chesapeake Bay. On rambles with the family’s English Setter named Wick she wandered the farm and nearby cornfields. One such outing she recalls collecting some acorns under a giant oak tree and then pasting them all down on a card to study. Today, Andrea‘s art is still based on observation, with walks through the woods often returning with bits of things; a leaf, feather or the occasional deceased insect to study and draw.
During her university years (1980 - 1985) at the Portland school of art and then the University of Connecticut she became interested in the graphic arts and printmaking in particular. “The whole process of producing a print is something I really enjoy. The act of carving linoleum is contemplative.”
Andrea Wisnewski worked as an editorial illustrator during the 80’s and 90’s creating illustrations for a multitude of newspapers and magazines. Clients included: Paris Match, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, the Boston Globe and the Hartford Courant.
In 1994, in order to stay at home with her daughter Allison, she took time away from the demands of editorial work. Illustration came back gradually and took the form of children’s books. Her first, “A Cottage Garden Alphabet”, was inspired by her mother’s garden. It was published with David R. Godine in 2002. “Little Red Riding Hood”, her second book with Godine, was published in 2006. It won the coveted “Best in Show” at the New England Bookshow in Boston. In 2010, Andrea illustrated a Celtic story called “The Ink Garden of Brother Theophane” by C. M. Millan for Charlesbridge Publishing. Celtic knot work features prominently in this intricately and lushly illustrated book. It was awarded the Connecticut Children’s Book Award in 2011. In 2017, Andrea wrote and illustrated “Trio: The Tale of a Three-Legged Cat” for Godine. This tale is inspired by a real life kitten found by her brother Anders. The book received a starred review from Kirkus and has been a very popular story about disabilities turning into abilities.
Throughout the years, Andrea has always created greeting cards. They started as Christmas cards to friends and family but were so well received that she started to make them for all occasions. She now has over 50 designs available and many wholesale accounts.
Another line now available at Running Rabbit is Homegoods. In 2019, Andrea started printing on linen that her cousin Avery had sourced while living in Germany. Avery, a costume designer was always on the lookout for fabrics he could use. Once back in the States, he gave some of the linen to Andrea and she thought it had such a fine surface it could be printed on her press. These printed pieces are sewn up into pillows and ornaments and comprise the homegoods line.
Andrea’s subjects are inspired predominantly by nature. Birds and animals of all kinds full of charm and whimsy are trademarks of her unmistakable style. She sketches ideas in her notebooks and even on shopping lists sometimes so as not to forget an idea.
Andrea creates her work in linocut. First, the design is sketched on tracing paper. The design is transferred in reverse onto the linoleum block with carbon paper. Then, using a set of Swiss carving tools made by Pheil, Andrea carves out the design. When it is completed, she prints the block on her press. Andrea does not make editioned prints but instead prints as needed. The black-and-white prints are each hand colored with watercolor. Then, the finished print is ready for sale.