If you caught CBS Sunday Morning this week, you may remember this image. It was the moment went Andra Eggleston of Nashville, Tennessee unfurled her new textile designs. On its own, it would be a nice moment but the father and daughter story behind its very inception offered an entirely new perspective...
Andra's father is William Eggleston, a pioneer of color photography that was born in Memphis, Tennessee and raised in Sumner, Mississippi. Inspired by Paul Frank and Henri Cartier Bresson, William set out to capture the beauty and soul of the ordinary across the South. His images, beyond the first glimpse, all tell a deeper story and offer a significant glimpse into everyday Americana.
But like many artists, William wasn't just interested and drawn to photography. He also composed music and filled up hundreds of sketchbooks with thousands of colorful, free form sketches. Andra never felt a strong connection with her dad and wasn't able to speak his language through photography- but she did take a strong liking to the sketches. After moving to Nashville in 2013, Andra started making regular trips to his home in Memphis to forge a better relationship. She soon realized that his stockpile of sketches around the house would be their common ground.
As she tells it, "Thus began a journey into and across stacks of his drawings, both preserved and unpreserved, some neatly archived in boxes, others crumpled up under the couch sear or on scraps of paper and the like. I gathered them, studied over them, played with them and it began to evolve. I stepped into perhaps the boldest part of myself, creatively directing and designing fiercely, taking risks in scale and color. I felt courageous even and I felt like what I was doing really mattered. I could see the spark in my father's eyes and I could feel in my heart that what we were doing was significant."
Andra's collection of lovely, large sized pillows all derive from her dad's sketches and all resonate with her from an artistic standpoint as well as from an appreciation of her father's deep reservoir of talent. Art surrounded her throughout her childhood and yet it wasn't until she looked at her father's sketches with a newfound appreciation later in life that she had begun to find her own voice.