We are delighted to welcome Andrea Hungerford to MDK.
We met Andrea as the creative force behind a series of books about makers, By Hand. The new issue, third in the series, focuses on Nashville. It’s a beautiful capsule of the makers in the region; we’re honored to be included despite the fact that we don’t make boots or raise alpacas or spin yarn.
Andrea is a dynamo—lawyer, educator, author, mother. Today, meet someone who follows her curiosity and thinks hard about how to mix work and play, ambition and creativity.
Kay and Ann
I believe that pursuing an entirely different career path in my mid-forties isn’t too late at all—in fact, it’s at just the right point in my life to have garnered enough self-awareness and life experiences so that I can now feel confident trying something new.
So Many Lawyers in the Family
I don’t remember a time when I didn’t know I was going to be a lawyer. My role model was my mom—she went back to law school nights when I was in elementary school. I remember her working all day, and then going to school at night, then coming home late at night to study and write papers. I would fall asleep to the sound of her tapping on her keyboard in her home office next to my bedroom.
I never felt any pressure or expectation to become a lawyer, but that was what I knew and what seemed to best fit my interests and skills. After graduation from law school, I immediately joined my mom in her practice.
There can be no doubt that lawyering runs in my family—all three of my siblings are lawyers. Further, all three of my siblings’ spouses are lawyers. And both my mom and my husband are lawyers. For over 20 years I have practiced with the Hungerford Law Firm, comprised solely of family members—me, my husband, my mom, two of my brothers, and one of my sister-in-laws.
Before oral argument at the U.S. Supreme Court, with fellow law firm partners: husband Rich and Mother Nancy
I enjoyed my work as an attorney for many years. I have had the chance to argue in federal court, appear multiple times before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and even had one of my cases go to the U.S. Supreme Court. I enjoyed the work and the good that I felt it did.
Making a Big Move
However, lawyering is a high-pressure job, and eventually the continuous conflict that is inherent in the job began to get to me. When you are an attorney, you are always in high conflict situations. You are always in situations where at least one party is unhappy and angry. I began to find that the conflict ate away at me and wasn’t something that I could leave at the office. And, as my daughters grew older, it became more and more difficult to split myself in so many directions.
My three daughters, in a rare shot capturing all three in glasses: (from left) Isabella, Alia, and Emmersen
I initially turned to more positive endeavors by founding a public charter school, after looking unsuccessfully for a school where I felt my daughters would thrive. Springwater Environmental Sciences School was designed to integrate curriculum within the study of the natural sciences, and to give children daily opportunities to learn outdoors and understand at a deep level their connection with nature and their responsibility as stewards of the environment. Once the school was established, however, I was able to step aside, and again found myself looking for something that I felt passionate about.
The Part When Knitting Shows Up
When my youngest daughter was about two years old, a friend taught me to knit. I feel like I came to knitting late—I was already well into my thirties, and had never learned as a child. I had been sewing and quilting for a number of years, but I had never envisioned myself as a maker or an artist.
Andrea’s Crackerjack Jersey pattern, from By Hand Lookbook No. 3: Nashville
As many knitters can attest, I found that knitting almost immediately got under my skin and I took to it with a passion—some might say an obsession. It was as if all those latent interests that I had never had a chance to explore—my love of color, and texture, and creating something real and tangible with my hands—suddenly had a place to be explored. As a professional who worked behind a desk all day, I never really created anything—except piles of paper! It was inspiring to suddenly be able to actually make something tangible and useful, and be engaged in an activity that by and large only brought happiness to myself and others.
A love of color is obvious in Andrea’s handmade pottery
Balancing my time as an attorney, a maker, and a mom is difficult because there just aren’t enough hours in the day. More time is always the one thing that I wish for. However, in some ways it is an ideal balance because it brings both yin and yang to my life—the intellectual and the creative. And, I feel good modeling for my daughters that they do not have to be, or do, just one thing—they can have varied interests that can exist simultaneously, or that can lead them in different directions during different times in their lives.
I think that often we feel locked in by expectations that we’ve set for ourselves, or by our own self concept, and it can be difficult envisioning doing something entirely different. I want my daughters to know that there are many different ways to work and play, and sometimes the line even blurs between what is your work and what is your passion.
Andrea’s Sasanqua Wrap, from By Hand Lookbook No. 3: Nashville
After more than 20 years as an attorney, I was ready to try something new, and after many years of enjoying making just for myself, I have become fascinated with the intersection between making and the creation of community.
By Hand: Meeting the Makers
My concept for the By Hand serials has been the perfect way to put some of my lawyering skills to use in a more creative context—talking with people, developing a theme or synopsis of their story, writing in a succinct yet engaging way.
RebeKka Seale’s dyes are all natural at Camellia Fiber Co. FROM BY HAND LOOKBOOK NO. 3: NASHVILLE
I love getting to meet other makers, learn their stories and what sparks their creativity, and getting to share a little bit about them—and about my own passion for making—with a much broader community.
By Hand is a series of lookbooks that focus on different fiber and fabric “making communities” around the country. Each serial features photo journals and interviews with both up-and-coming and well-known yarn designers and dyers, local yarn stores, knitwear designers, fabric artists, and other makers who share the same philosophy and aesthetic of hand crafting functional forms to share and connect with others in the community.
One of Kacie Lynn’s friends at Fiber Farm, FROM BY HAND LOOKBOOK NO. 3: NASHVILLE
Projects, patterns, classes, and opportunities to purchase the artists’ work are also included, as well as an opportunity to share what is beautiful and unique about each locale.
Music City Leather, FROM BY HAND LOOKBOOK NO. 3: NASHVILLE
I hope that you enjoy getting to know a little bit about each of these makers’ communities as I did. Think of it as a virtual travel guide for fiber and fabric enthusiasts!