This month’s artisan: Painter and textile artist Maria Pace

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This month’s artisan: Painter and textile artist Maria Pace

Somewhere between painter and textile artist, Maria Pace is an Orange County original who makes a variety of lovely objects for the abode. And she’s an artisan with a conscience: Besides designing her own textile patterns, she likes to repurpose secondhand fabrics and uses only American-made materials. “It might be a lot cheaper to get a zipper imported from Brazil, but I’d rather pay more to reduce the carbon footprint and support the American economy,” she explained. Find her work at mariapace.etsy.com, at Rock Paper Scissors on the Downtown Mall, or Shabby Love in Orange—or look for her booth at Orange’s Edible Food Fest on August 11. Contact her at justmariabean@gmail.com.

What kinds of objects do you make? I use my original watercolor paintings to design patterns, which I have printed in North Carolina on all natural materials using eco-friendly digital printing. I then make an array of items using my fabric designs, from throw pillows and tablecloths to pencil cases and lavender sachets.

Describe the style of your work in five words or less. 
Botanical-inspired, fresh, celebrating nature.

Briefly, how did you become an artisan?
Thanks to amazing watercolorist Carolyn Emerson, who lovingly and generously instructed me for over a decade, and the influence of my mom’s multi-faceted creative exuberance. Her beautiful gardens provide subject matter for many of my paintings. Over time, my enjoyment of watercolor painting naturally merged with my interest in vintage fabrics and decorating.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve made in the last year?A set of cotton napkins in which every napkin is a different pattern. Some people prefer to have all matching napkins, but I like the idea of having all different ones. It’s especially useful if you live in a multi-person household—then you know for sure which napkin is yours to use until laundry day.

What’s an object you love in your home that you did not make? 
I use my great-great grandmother Emma’s sewing machine to sew everything I make with my fabrics. It is my favorite thing because it is beautiful, useful and meaningful—the trio of qualities that really make an object more than just an object.

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