An artist from her earliest years, Ingrid Tucker excelled in all things creative at school, college and then as a textile designer in Zimbabwe, the United Kingdom and Australia. Returning to Zimbabwe in 2002, Ingrid began to work with coloured ceramic tiles and realised that this was the medium that offered her the chance to combine her skills in textile design with her flair for mosaics, creating works of art that form an integral part of peoples’ lives. Ingrid lives in Harare with her husband, Steve and her two children, Annika and William and their three dogs.
Ingrid’s mosaics transform the functional into unique works of art. From garden furniture to bathrooms, to kitchen counter tops, showers, sinks, mirrors and a myriad of other household items, Ingrid’s unique designs have become integral and treasured parts of the lives of many families as well as the décor of numerous boutique lodges and resorts both in Zimbabwe and abroad. She also creates colourful abstract and geometric designs, depending on the tastes of the client and the source of the inspiration. Her furniture is particularly suitable for outdoors and is often inspired by nature, including flowers, birds, reptiles and insects. In this regard, she is influenced by the Classical Impressionists, often experiencing what she calls a “Monet moment,” in which she takes impressions from gardens and creates her designs from this. Ingrid also loves the challenge of abstract designs, drawing her inspiration, in this instance, from Modernist architecture, particularly that of Antoni Gaudi, to create distinctive works of art on the foundation of the functional furniture that is her trademark.
“I began my career as a textile designer and, like so many things in life, the path I took originally has lead somewhere I could never have predicted at the time, but the destination feels so natural now. Both artistically and personally. After art school I worked as textile designer in Bulawayo, before moving to London where I designed home furnishings for eight years. This also involved frequent travel to Italy to oversee production and to the major textile fairs in Germany. I returned to Zimbabwe in 1994, when I met Steve, also a Zimbabwean, who was to become my husband and was living in Sydney at the time. We spent six years together in Sydney, where I continued work as a textile designer for a major linen company as well as helping Steve to promote Zimbabwean art in Australia. It was here that I began to get interested in mosaics as an art form and we returned to Zimbabwe in 2002 to pursue our mutual creative projects and to raise our children who were very young at the time. I am so fortunate to be able to combine my love of art with my love of nature to create works that people are able to enjoy as a daily part of their lives. It is the role that my art plays in peoples’ everyday lives that inspires me, whether I am creating a table, bench or a vast mural."
"The mosaic medium, although physically gruelling, is artistically fluid, being able to accommodate the most creative designs as well as lending itself equally well to the more conservative approach. The tiles I use are locally produced, they are stoneware fired, making them very strong. I use nippers to shape the individual tesserae, which are then embedded in cement. Once I have the design for a piece of furniture mapped out – either in my mind or on paper – I have a day to transform the design into reality while the cement is wet. With the larger murals this transformation is undertaken over several days."
The majority of Ingrid’s artworks are framed or supported by metalwork, whose progenitor is Ingrid’s husband Steve, who has designed and made the chairs and tables so that they are structurally sound, cured concrete surfaces that can live both outdoors and indoors. A creative force in his own rite, Steve also fashions a variety of decorative household fixtures designed to either stand-alone or compliment Ingrid’s work. He also gets involved with some of the design work himself. Steve completed his BA in Visual Arts and a Posgraduate Diploma in Education in Australia before returning to Zimbabwe.
Ingrid admires Steve’s range of creative endeavours, “I work solely in mosaics whereas Steve not only works with metal and has valuable input into my own creations, but has also designed and built houses, is an accomplished chef, a locally renowned musician and a raconteur of some repute”.