A Talent for Textile Design
If you look up “Electra complex” on Wikipedia, the first note will read “Daddy’s girl” and “Daddy’s little girl” redirect here. The text will go on to explain the psychoanalytic idea that all girls compete with their mothers for their fathers’ affection. By naming her textile company Electra Eggleston, Andra Eggleston embedded her complex relationship with her father, famed color photographer William Eggleston, into her work. The Nashville-based business creates bold, vivid, and whimsical textiles with patterns both geometric and water color-esque. With names such as Berlin, Havana, Cairo and Kentucky, they also evoke a specific place, distilled down to color and basic shape. The five prints from the William Eggleston Collection are derived from the artist’s abstract drawings.
Eggleston (the daughter) has also partnered with clothing companies to launch her designs in the sartorial sphere. She discussed her Nashville community, her upcoming plans, and—of course—her relationship with her father.
How would you describe the textile / design scene in Nashville, and how Electra Eggleston fits in?
Sometimes I feel like an island unto myself as far as a textile designer and what I do here in Nashville! When I hear of the occasional textile artist who lives here (which is now happening more often because this town is exploding with new businesses, designers, and entrepreneurs), I feel hopeful that there will one day be more members of that community.
Having said that, the “scene” that I fit into is rather arbitrary, which consequently feels more enriching. It encompasses artists, painters, fashion designers, interior designers, makers, and artisans. I am constantly inspired by any and all small business owners here who are trying to craft a business and dig into Nashville and its resources. There is an unparalleled amount of support for them and me. So that is my scene.
Your father, William Eggleston, is a major photographer. You speak about this on your website and even have a collection named from him. How have you navigated both utilizing such a wonderful asset and establishing yourself in your own right?
It has been very challenging to figure out how to both work with him, honor his legacy, and establish myself as a designer in the midst of it all. It has been weighted, and all stakes along the way have felt incredibly high. His artistic assets have informed the brand’s identity, and that was the easy part! But the hard part has been how to differentiate myself. Luckily, it seemed to have happened naturally. I gave up trying to control how the designs were perceived (were they his? are they mine?), and once I did that, there was much less confusion for me. In relaxing, I seem to have gotten both parts of what I wanted: my own identity while maintaining his artistic legacy. I always remind myself of where the real joy lies. And for me, it’s in making art accessible while useful. I am so fortunate that I have my father’s drawing to play with in this respect!
You’ve lived on the East and West Coast and worked in acting and tech. How have these different homes and occupations influenced your work?
California is by far the most influential place I have lived. It is visually stunning, and most of my work at that time was directly connected to the color palette of LA specifically. In addition to the usual sunset hues, it also included smog, electric towers, and the omnipresent cultural diversity.
I was also fortunate to work for some incredible people in the entertainment industry, who mentored me before I even knew what I wanted to do or who I really was. They collectively taught me how to be confident, assertive and absorbent. My acting teacher also changed my life emotionally and spiritually and has truly shaped who I am today. He taught me the value of being present, focused, proud, authentic and self-accepting.
What’s up next for you?
New collection coming out next month which will feature prints derived from both my and my father’s original artwork. More collaborations/licensing are in the works tba, and I’m currently working with a new hotel in Nashville, designing a custom print for outdoor furniture.