After 25 years in the Roaring Fork Valley, artist Andrea Wendel finally has a storefront to call her own. The Woody Creek–based furniture maker opened the Andi-Le Gallery (529 E. Cooper Ave.) in June to showcase her work, which she refers to as functional sculpture, in a nod to her original artistic focus.
The spare, light space is the perfect foil for Wendel’s contemporary pieces—chunky tables, benches, and accent seats, often embossed with organic patterns and textures. “Nothing I do is delicate,” she says. Complementing the furniture is artwork from New York, Los Angeles, Paris, and Santa Fe, curated by local art consultant Shelly Glasser.
Other than the pieces on display, Wendel makes everything custom, noting “when people own things that have a story, it adds so much more meaning.” She works with wood (primarily poplar), acrylic, stainless steel, and “any power tool that makes a mark,” she says. She then layers most pieces with multiple coats of dye or paints for an earthy finish that highlights the textures.
Describing her style as “modern global,” Wendel finds inspiration from nature and indigenous cultures, including those in Ghana, where she once worked briefly. Translating those influences through her own unique lens, she creates furniture, as well as accents like fireplace mantels and lamps, that “work for a lot of people who are transitioning from traditional mountain home style to more contemporary design.”
Sometimes, the results are serendipitous; of a bench in the gallery topped with patterns resembling map contours, Wendel says, “I didn’t know it was topographical until after it was done. I was just making it free form.”
One new piece Wendel designed specifically for the gallery—to hide a storage area—is a textured, sliding barn door, an appealing twist on traditional style that’s likely to draw multiple orders. But not everything is large-scale. Available for immediate purchase are her signature maple-composite Not So Lazy Susans, etched with patterns and some inlaid with stainless steel or pearls.