Enter The Colorful World Of This Savannah Fiber Artist + Her Vibrant Works


Woman wearing red striped pants and a denim apron standing in artist studio surrounded by hundreds of spools of colorful yarn

Trish Andersen, a SCAD graduate, determines her palettes using a computer rendering before commencing each vibrant design. Says the artist: “Color gives energy to people; I get energy from color.”

Steadying the handles of a handheld tufting gun, Trish Andersen shoots a stream of bright red yarn through a layer of poly-mesh backing. Just as suddenly, a forest of woolen tendrils materializes on the opposite side, almost as if by magic. “I like to say I paint with yarn,” says the artist, who roughly renders each design digitally before commencing the nimble gestures that produce these expressive swirls, swoops and drips. 

Each of Andersen’s fine-art fiber works is partly an homage to two Georgia towns—the first being thematic and a harbinger of Andersen’s creative future: Her family hails from Dalton, called the “carpet capital of the world.” The second is visual: Andersen says her “drippy, loose” style takes inspiration from the surroundings of her downtown Savannah studio, where great swaths of Spanish moss drape the city’s iconic oaks. “When I look at the marshes around us, all I see is tufting!” she says from a studio teeming with hundreds of colorful spools—plus a cat she calls Gracie.

Multicolored, textural wall hanging above a bench with a strolling cat

The fiber artist's aesthetic is partly inspired by her natural surroundings in Savannah.

An aqua bookshelf overflowing with spools of yarn in varying shades of aqua

At Andersen’s Savannah studio, shelves are stacked with spools of colorful yarns in infinite hues. She loads these into a hand-held tufting gun to create her works' undulating, multi-dimensional textures.

Vignette above a fireplace mantel featuring vintage posters and spools of colorful yarn mounted to the wall

Vintage prints and ephemera spark inspiration in a studio filled with colorful yarns.

One hand maneuvering a tufting gun, another hand trimming excess yarn using scissors

Working on the reverse of her backing material, Andersen envisions how her designs will manifest on the opposite side—her textured strokes not unlike those made with a paintbrush.

Spacious artist studio filled with colorful floor mats and shelves stacked with colorful spools of yarn

In her sunlit studio just north of Baldwin Park, the artist teeters around stacks of her signature floor mats—2D digital prints of her 3D designs—which she calls “sweepable shags.” The downtown space serves as an ever-revolving installation of inspirational objects and collections. “I’m in my own little world here, open to dreams and ideas,” she reveals.

It’s an environment that stands in stark contrast to gritty New York City, where Andersen moved upon earning her degree from SCAD in 2005. As an intrepid graduate just beginning her career, she dressed windows for Anthropologie, then launched a business designing events. “The maker movement was just starting,” she recounts. “It was the era of renegade craft fairs, and I said ‘yes’ to everything.” 

One such affirmative was a 2015 residency in Southern France, where she refocused her talents and fell in love: with her fiancé and fellow artist, Michael Porten. Departing the Big Apple proved an opportunity to pursue something deeper. “New York was fast-paced and fun, but I wasn’t working from the heart,” she admits. With the move to the South, her artistry blossomed, attracting such fans as designer Kara Mann (whose office commissioned an Andersen original for a San Francisco hotel). 

“I never expected to enter the carpet world; everything just resonated,” the artist says of her unexpected foray into the family industry—though her own output has taken a distinctive detour: comprising digitally printed floor mats, collaborations with Shaw Contract, an upcoming wallpaper line with Porten and her signature wool rugs launching this summer. Still, the wall hangings remain nearest her heart. “I took a risk and gave myself time to explore it,” Andersen says of her tactile creations, which are approachable yet curiously mollifying, much like the artist herself. There’s an inherent unruliness about them, but at the end of the day, Andersen explains, “They’re soft. And a little softness is what we all need right now.”