Andrea Wisnewski has been drawing pictures ever since she was a little girl growing up on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. "I can still remember those years wandering through cornfields, searching our lawn for wild duck eggs and the shoreline for shells," she says. "It was my own personal time of wonder."
Her family moved to Connecticut where they had their own mini farm, including two wild Shetland ponies, twenty or so chickens, a dog, many cats and several gerbils. She tried her hand at pony training but when she broke her arm bareback riding she decided to take it easy. Curling up with a great book and reading for hours was a favorite pasttime. The Cricket in Times Square (George Selden), the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, and The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgsen Burnett) were among her favorites.
Andrea attended the Portland School of Art in Maine and the University of Connecticut in Storrs, where she received her BFA in 1985. Her company, Running Rabbit Press, has produced numerous illustrations over the years for newspapers, magazines, and publishers. A technique that she developed imitates the look of a woodcut but is actually a papercut. Her first children's' book, A Cottage Garden Alphabet was published by David R. Godine in 2002.
The papercuts begin by doing sketches on vellum. "When I have tweaked the sketch to my satisfaction," she says, "the design is transferred onto a black, clay-coated paper. Most of the design's details come out in the cutting process, for which I use a #11 X-acto blade and lots and lots of patience."
When a cut is complete, a magnesium plate is made of the design. The plate is then printed on a 32 x 34 press hand built by her husband Chris. Often the print is hand colored with watercolor. The finished prints have the effect of a woodcut and not the microsurgery with a scalpel that they are.
Andrea lives in Storrs, Connecticut with her husband Chris, daughter Allison, and their three Welsh Corgis.
Dodd Center Gallery