While in Memphis a handful of years ago, Andra Eggleston discovered countless drawings her father, iconic photographer William Eggleston, had done in years past, many decades before she was even born. Andra was inspired by the sketches and began, almost unconsciously, to turn them into repeating patterns. This unexpected father-daughter collaboration birthed the textile and print design company, Electra Eggleston Fine Textiles, that Andra runs today.
Andra begins by painting, drawing or dying a piece of artwork by hand. Then comes the arduous task of deciding what will become of that piece. “Unlike traditional textile design, our selection of artwork is not textile-driven,” she says. “Each step is uniquely experimental, from artwork to fabric, and full of uncertainty until the very end. Sometimes a piece of art may be beautiful on its own and does not translate well onto fabric. Other times, it takes on sublime form as a textile.”
Recently Andra began to collaborate with Lumen Lamps. She and Lumen co-owner Jessica Rich developed a natural friendship through Andra’s visits to the shop, and now Nashville benefits from the fruits of this friendship via Electra Eggleston lampshades, exclusive to Lumen. Pop into Lumen’s shop on White Bridge Pike or visit electraeggleston.com to see some of Andra’s work, and keep reading for a behind-the-scenes look at what inspires her and what she loves most about Nashville.
Name: Andra Eggleston
Profession/Title: Textile designer and founder of Electra Eggleston Fine Textiles
Years in Nashville: Six (although a Southerner by birth)
Zip code: 37206
Number of prints in your collection: Currently 32, up to 45 in 2020
What did you first want to be when you grew up? A swim teacher! What I remember most, though, was the purple towel I used exclusively for my swim lesson every time — houndstooth print from the ’70s in orange, pink and purple. First pattern I ever fell in love with.
What was your first job? When I turned 15, retail sales in a discount fashion store in downtown Memphis. My first love was definitely fashion.
What inspires you? My 9-year-old son’s artwork, which is completely untethered and uninhibited
If you could collaborate with any artist (dead or alive) who would it be? Maxfield Parrish, the great illustrator and painter
What’s your current favorite pattern? Any from Pierre Frey and especially prints that feature jungle, grass, flowers and water and are jewel-like in color (lots of deep greens, blues and blacks)
What home trend do you love? Pattern on pattern (my favorite part of maximalism). Also, painterly, brush-stroked, abstract prints in fabric and wallpaper.
What home trend should disappear? Overall minimalism. Also: adding indigo as a “pop” to neutrals.
What’s your best advice for someone redecorating their home? A lot of my friends find decorating completely overwhelming and hiring an interior designer out of their reach or comfort zone. Start with one piece you love and let this define your visual direction for the rest of the room. This is how I have always started — more as a collector and less of a producer.
What does your artistic process look like? My creative process for the most part has to start with an emotional connection. For my first collection, it was my father’s spirit and our relationship. For my next collection, it is a celebration of my mother and how she saw the world. This is not where I start, but it is most certainly what keeps me focused and grounded in the process.
What building exhibits your favorite design? I love churches. I don’t consider myself a Christian, but my relationship with God began in the Christian church. Now my spirituality is too large to hold in one religion, but I will never stop feeling God and divine intelligence in a church. I am still humbled by God’s awesomeness and feel great reverence and connection there.
What’s your favorite place in Nashville to see a show or peruse a gallery? The Ryman — classic, weathered, full of history, intimate, moving
Where is your favorite place to have dinner in Nashville? Proper truth: Folk. Damn truth: I will meet anyone at any given time at BrickTop’s for a blue cheese stuffed olive martini and __________ (fill in the blank here, literally the entire menu).
What’s your favorite place to grab a drink? On the screened-in back porch of my best friend’s home in 12South
What’s your favorite thing about being a Nashvillian? Would have to be meeting people from Nashville (“You’re actually from here? You mean you were born here?”) and the curiosity/excitement dance that ensues of two tigers circling each other.
What do you hope never changes about Nashville? The spirit of its people and the sense of community, which have always felt very inclusive to me, no matter what industry you are in or what God you pray to. A genuine willingness to help each other and connect are what gave me the ability to carry out the vision of Electra. I love you Nashville community! And thank you for loving me back!