As one of New Zealand’s foremost textile designers, Ingrid Anderson’s bold and colourful designs can be found in homes and businesses throughout the country.
Like many New Zealand textile designers before her, Anderson finds inspiration in our native flora and fauna, crafting lively patterns from simple shapes. Auckland Museum has recently acquired a small group of textiles produced by Anderson.
Ingrid Anderson’s practice has grown organically from her first forays into printmaking, shaped by developments in the textile printing industry as well as a certain amount of trial-and-error. Early in her career, she created a range of children’s clothing which was sold by word-of-mouth through her children’s kindergarten under the “Poppet” label. Printed by hand, using screens covered with Rubylith film which she then cut away to create the pattern, the resulting product was effective but the process time-consuming and inconsistent. She continued to refine her process and produced small domestic items under the brand “Polly’s”, which she sold at local markets and gift fairs.
Growing the business
After moving to her Warkworth studio in the 2000s, Anderson expanded her operation. Large-scale production of screen-printed textiles requires dedicated equipment, so Anderson purchased a second-hand printing carousel and a ceiling mounted mercury lamp, and experimented with the exposure of screens which had been painted with a photo-sensitive emulsion. Today, she works with Auckland Fabric Printers, a specialist apparel and home furnishing screen printing business. Ingrid will often trial print a new design in her own workshop before sending it to AFP for production into full fabric lengths. Digital printing also provides new opportunities for experimentation, and Anderson is currently reviving older designs with a contemporary colour pallet.
Curtains made by Marimekko hung in Ingrid's childhood home, and the Finnish design house has had a lasting influence on her use of simple motifs and solid colour. Anderson is passionate about New Zealand flora and fauna, which she draws from nature and re-interprets through her designs. To create the pohutukawa design, she cut paper flower shapes freehand and taped them onto large sheets of mylar which AFP then turned into screens. This method gives the design liveliness and a hint of the handmade, but as Anderson herself notes, it is “not easy to make something so simple”. She also has to consider how the fabric will be used when planning design size and layout - a large-scale motif that looks striking on curtain fabric may lose its effect on a cushion.
Building a recognisable brand
Anderson has had to be an astute businesswoman as well as an artist. Several high-profile collaborations have given her work visibility - in 2011 she worked with Meluka Furniture to furnish a space for New Zealand Fashion Week, and cushions from her Retro Kiwi print feature in Air New Zealand lounges. Keeping production of her work in New Zealand has been a deliberate choice which ensures consistent quality and helps to support the industry. She has also found creative ways of using up leftover scraps of printed fabric, making teacosies, hats and other small items. In addition to her design business, she has begun teaching, and encourages her students to think of surface design as integral to a three-dimensional object.
Cite this article
Ingrid Anderson. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 21 December 2016. Updated: 22 May 2017.