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Behind The Stitches: Trish Andersen

“I like the freedom I have with tufting. I can jump around my canvas without a plan and work more intuitively."

Sam: Where are you from and where are you based?

Trish: I am from Dalton, Georgia ("Carpet Capital of the World"!), I was living in Brooklyn for the past 13.5 years but just recently moved to Savannah, Georgia.

Sam: How did you learn to tuft and what was your first WIP?

Trish: I first got my tufting gun around three years ago after seeing a viral video of people making rugs in India. I was searching for a new process to inspire my creative practice and was obsessed at first sight. I couldn't believe I had never heard of them! Especially since I grew up in a "carpet" town. At that point there was barely any info out there about where to get them, how they worked etc. so it took me about a year (in between other work) to teach myself how to use it. After my first successful "stitch" I knew I was hooked and have been creating tufted work ever since.

Sam: Have you always been creative? What is it about tufting that you love more than any other fiber craft?

Trish: Yes! I have been making things since I was very little. We joke in my family that I "never played with barbies but always sold painted rocks door to door". I've just always loved making/creating and am very grateful to have built a life that lets me do so everyday.

I love repetitive process and have tried many different areas in the Fiber world. I have found that many of the processes are too linear and structured to me though. I like the freedom I have with tufting. I can jump around my canvas without a plan and work more intuitively. I feel it's more like painting or drawing. I love the physicality of it and that it allows me to work in a larger scale.

Sam: What was your experience like attending SCAD?

Trish: It was great!! I love SCAD. It was the first time I felt like I had found my tribe. I originally thought I would pursue a graphic design degree but quickly realized I wanted to learn something more hands on and ultimately landed on Fibers after a brief stint in Interior Design and Furniture. SCAD has so many options! It really gives you an opportunity to discover what suits you best.

Sam: How would you describe your immersive experiences to someone who has never seen your work in person?

Trish: Tactile dream's actually been a minute since I've done a full environment and I've had an itch to get back into it.

Sam: Where was your first instillation?

Trish: In a Williamsburg, Brooklyn gallery (that has since been demolished). It was so long ago I am spacing on the name but the show was called Fit for Habitation. It was with my friend Maureen Walsh, Sara Gates of Kingsland printing, and Cecilia Elguero.

Sam: How much time goes into a typical piece?

Trish: For the tufted pieces-- of course it depends on the scale-- but a 6'x6' anywhere from one to two weeks (with all the setup finishing, etc). I work long days.

Sam: Can you describe your studio space and yarn stash for us? What do they look like and how do you organize them?

Trish: I work in an old house in Savannah, Ga. I work on the first floor and live upstairs. My friend and landlord Marcus Kenney (check out his work... it is amazing) used the house as a studio for the past fifteen years and so I was lucky to fall into a space that was full of good creative energy. I work better when I can see all of my supplies/things and so the space definitely has a hoarder vibe.....but it is organized in my own little system. Like things together and often times by color.

Sam: What tools, books, or apps are essential to your crafting process?

Trish: Of course my tufting guns, duck-bill scissors, laser level, hours and hours of podcasts.

Sam: How much planning goes into each piece?

Trish: Some are very spontaneous and start from a quick sketch. Others are more planned because I need client approvals etc. The more installation based work often times takes weeks to plan/execute.

"Never did I expect it would take off in the way it has but so grateful that I now get to do what I love everyday"

Sam: What do you think is the biggest misconception that people have about you or your art?

Trish: Maybe that I've been tufting for a long time? It's only been a little over two years! I'm still learning everyday.

Sam: How has your crafting practice impacted your life?

Trish: When I first started tufting I was just looking for a way to feel inspired again and jump start my personal art practice in between jobs I was doing in the event world.....a mental escape. Never did I expect it would take off in the way it has but so grateful that I now get to do what I love everyday.

Sam: Your arched canvases remind me of stained glass windows. Where do you pull your inspiration from and what inspired you to work with other shapes?

Trish: Love that you see that! That body of work was produced during the time I was deciding whether I would move to Savannah full time (and ultimately did) and the culmination/letting go of a lot of emotional junk… and so I was thinking a lot about transition, passages, creative process as a portal for change. The arch shape felt like a welcoming opening to me.... a doorway.

"I like the physicality of it. I like feeling like I am working. It is very meditative for me"

Sam: How do you know when a piece is done?

Trish: Well, the one good thing about tufting is that once you fill up your backing fabric you can't tuft anymore (unless you pull out your previous work). But in general I don't like to over work stuff and kinda just's a feeling. Sorry, lame answer!

Sam: What kind of toll does your work take on your body? They seem to be extremely labor intensive.

Trish: It is! I try to give my hands/body breaks often but usually I am working on a deadline so I power through. I guess I am a bit of a pain junkie but I like the physicality of it. I like feeling like I am working. It is very meditative for me. An anti- fatigue mat and wrist braces help!

Sam: Did you make any big mistakes when you were first starting out? What lessons did you learn from those experiences?

Trish: Omg there are WAY too many mistakes to begin to go into them...but lessons/advice:

*Don't care what other people think.
*Be kind to yourself and others.
*There is no right and wrong way to do things.....just what works for you.
*Be careful starting a business with a friend. Have a plan for when/if it blows up.
*Be open to opportunities and change.

Sam: Do you have any advice for newbie crafters who are thinking about trying tufting?

Trish: Check out @this_is_tim_eads! He changed the tufting game in the states by making the tools/materials easily available via his site. I wish he was around when I started! Great guy!

Sam: What do you like to binge watch or listen to while you craft?

Trish: Omg everything! But I am a real True Crime junkie...until I’m too scared to leave the house. Off the top of my head: Up and Vanished, Root of Evil, Sword and Scale, etc etc. Also love business/creative podcasts- In Good Company, How they Built This, My Creative Push, Short Story Long.

If you want to see more of Trish's work you can follow her on Instagram @trishandersenart and visit her website.

Who should I talk to next? Leave your suggestions in the comments section along with any thoughts you have about Trish's interview. I’m always on the hunt for inspiring crafters. Also, don't forget to follow along on my Instagram account @bobbleclubhouse for your daily dose of all things fiber. Until next week, happy crafting!


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