Artist Series: Eleanor Anderson
Posted on 04 January 2019
Behind the Prints
How long have you been drawing/creating/designing patterns?
"I have been designing patterns for 10 years, but not really in a focused way until 6 years ago. I love drawing and I always have been a religious keeper of sketchbooks. I have sketchbooks dating from when I was 18. They are a great way to keep ideas generating, and also memories of place and time. It's interesting to me to look back at some from 12 years ago and see that I'm still circling around some of the same ideas/creative impulses."
Some of your designs have become the most popular Skida prints – ever! Would you be able to talk a little more on what inspired you to create these prints? Talk to us about your process.
"Well, I've always loved working with Skida because I love working with a women-run small business and I really admire Corinne. I love getting direction from her and working within those parameters to design hats that are not only brightly colored but useful. Some of these designs are modifications on my go-to doodles (Coral Dash), and some of them are specifically designed with the athletic and outdoor-loving Skida customer in mind (Fishy Fish)."
What is your creative process like? How do you approach a new piece of work?
"My creative process is like bumper cars. I was going to say rollercoaster, but bumper cars is much more like it! I tend to focus on a particular shape or motif and let it ricochet through many different mediums, searching for the best way I can express an idea. I love to see a pattern glazed on a mug but also to see how it might change when it's turned into knitwear for socks. I try to collaborate with materials as much as possible, and if something feels forced or too fussy, I back up and try to listen to what the process is telling me to do."
We love how your playful designs translate across the various media you work in, from ceramics to textiles. Do you have a favorite medium to work in? Why?
"I don't know, I love them ALL. When I daydream about the ultimate studio situation, I would like a textile, ceramics, and multi-media/sculpture studio. I am grateful for the path my career has taken so far, where I get to keep exploring."
What kind of design-work do you do outside of these patterns? What inspires those pieces?
"I have recently started a collaborative project with my friend Ellie Richards called Bright House. Our goal is to design bright and boldly colored, playful housewares that enhance everyday life with their use. I designed a line of socks for that recently that I'm really excited about!"
Where is your current studio in which your work takes place? Where are some places you feel most inspired?
"Right now, I'm moving around a lot to pursue artist residencies. I'm currently staying with a friend and my studio space is an outbuilding behind a house near Penland School of Crafts. It has nice light, and big windows and was especially cozy this morning with the warmth from the kiln running and big snowflakes falling from the sky. I am most inspired when I land in a new place which might be why I am traveling so much. Recently, I was able to travel to Japan, and felt incredibly inspired by the Japanese styles of architecture, packaging and fashion. Landing in a new place is a lot like trying a new technique, there is a beauty about being a beginner again that is really freeing and also takes the pressure off."
Tell us about your favorite things to do besides create/design.
"Exercise has always been an important part of my day - I love to run and ride my bike, (love mountain biking when I get the chance!) and when I'm feeling tired I like to go on walks. It’s important for my creative process because I think when I physically keep my body moving forward, I keep my creativity moving forwards as well. I also notice shapes, arrangements or colors while I'm walking that find their way back into my work. I also love to travel: I am going to Oaxaca, Mexico next week for a short vacation, and I am so excited to get inspired by the rich weaving culture of Oaxaca."
Where can we find your other work?
"You can find my work on my website and also for sale at the Penland Gallery."