Q&A with Fibre Artist Trish Andersen

I first stumbled across Trish Andersen’s show-stopping textile installations on Instagram and was completely mesmerised and awe struck by her rainbow stair runner. Gorgeous right!

Either way, it was love at first sight and I just knew that I wanted Trish to feature on the Ragged Life Blog. We’re fellow colour lovers after all! Well, Trish Andersen was kind enough to answer our questions all the way from Georgia (the State, not the country), so below you can read all about her inspiration and techniques, as well as oggling (is that a word?) her awe-inspiring pieces 🙂

Hi Trish, so lovely to meet you virtually! Would you mind telling us a little about yourself please?

Lovely to meet you too! My name is Trish Andersen. I am a fibre artist living in Savannah, Georgia. I recently moved back down to Georgia after living in Brooklyn for the past thirteen and a half years. I grew up in Dalton -“The Carpet Capital of the World”! 

Trish Andersen getting up close and personal with one of her pieces.

How did you get into textiles? Have you always been arty?

I was always making things/painting since I was little. I went to Savannah College of Art and Design originally for Graphic Design. I thought this was the only way for a artist to have a job and make money. Oh was I wrong! After trying interior design and furniture design I ultimately found the Fibres Department and I was hooked. When I was living in Brooklyn I had a company that create large scale installations for events and interiors. Some of the materials/processes were textile based but it just depended on the project I was working on. I discovered tufting when I was looking for a new process to inspire my personal practice outside of all the commercial work I was doing. 

Trish Andersen textile art chopping with shears

Your pieces are so vibrant! Where do you get your inspiration from?

Thanks! Lame answer but honestly I get my inspiration from everywhere! I am constantly soaking up the little moments throughout my day to day. I am obsessed with colour and how they interact with each other. The push and pull. Process is a huge part of my inspiration as well. I enjoy the physical nature of tufting and how repetitive movement is quite meditative. 

What textile techniques do you generally use in your pieces? Are there any textile processes that you come back to time and time again?

Right now I am really focused on hand tufting with a tufting gun. I have ideas of mixing in other processes in the future. In general, its always something repetitive and material heavy. I love mass and feeling like my body is a machine.

Can you tell us more about your creative process? Do you sketch things out first? Where do you start on a big piece, for example?

Most of the times I start with a sketch. I use a program called Procreate on my iPad to sketch. I found I was sketching less when I had to get out all my paints etc… to get started. Once I have a general idea of where the piece is going I draw it big on my tufting frame. The yarn reacts differently than a sketch so I allow myself to react to the physical piece as I go. I have found that I really love tufting because the process allows for this. Most textile processes are so linear in the way they need to be created or planned. Tufting allows you to jump around the frame and work intuitively like painting. 

Dripping artwork by Trish Andersen

You must have a lot of materials, how do you keep them organised?

I do! I hoard yarn like a crazy person. I have everything organised by colour otherwise it would be chaos.

You’re a fellow colour lover – do you have any tips on choosing and combining colours?

Colour is such a subjective thing. I believe there is no right or wrong as long as you enjoy it. I personally as a rule never include all the colours in the rainbow. I like the push and pull of a variety of tones and mixing pure primaries with dirty colours.

Vibrant orange artwork by designer Trish Andersen

Which other (textile) artists do you love? Are there any that inspire you, past or present?

Ugh! There are so many! A few: Shelia Hicks is a fibres god! Pamela Wiley, Sonya Yong James.

What do you enjoy most about working with textiles?

 I would have to say the process. I lose myself in it…it’s my “yoga” I also love that you are bringing something to life with seemingly simple materials. Something from nothing.  

Brilliant artwork by Trish Andersen
Back of hand tufted textile art

Do you only use woollen materials in your textile work or other materials too?

I work with all kinds of yarn (wool, cotton, acrylic) I like the variety of colour and texture I can achieve with a mix. 

Do you have a favourite piece you’ve created so far?

So hard! I honestly don’t think I have a favorite. I enjoy that each piece informs the next. 

Trish Andersen mountain textile art
Mountain textile art by Trish Andersen

Many of your pieces are pretty large and it looks like you often need ladders. What’s the craziest thing you’ve had to do in the name of art? Have you had any mishaps?

Too many to count! Luckily my commercial installation work in NYC trained me well to work big (and with ladders) I guess the craziest would be that I stayed up for 3.5 days straight to complete a project there. I literally dropped to the ground when I finished it. I don’t recommend it!

What is your home like? Do you have lots of your pieces on show?

My studio is the first floor of our house and my boyfriend Michael Porten (also and artist) live upstairs. We both love colour and pattern and so our house is full of it! We don’t have a lot of our own work up but the house is filled with others. Our landlord Marcus Kenney (such a badass artist worth checking out) used the house for 15+ years as his art studio and many others have also worked in the different rooms. His collection of art still hangs on the walls. A nice added treat to be able to live and work in such special space. 

We’re trying to be a bit more eco-friendly, do you have any tips or tricks to be more environmentally friendly in our day to day lives?

I personally save all my scraps (and many more things) to reuse in my work. I am currently working on an installation using all of my yarn scraps. 

Where can people find out more about you and your work? 

www.trishandersenstudio.com/  and @trishandersenart on Instagram.

Thanks Trish Andersen, it’s been a pleasure! 🙂

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As always, happy rag rugging!

Elspeth x

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