It may still be hot outside, but Fall is definitely in the air. Before you know it, we’ll be swapping the light, gauzy fabrics of summer for warm, cozy sweaters, comfy blazers and colorful scarves that make it all pop. Nina Pace, portrait and still-life painter, illustrator and textile designer, has found success by blurring the lines within her artistic skill-set. Best known around the country for her luxurious, bold, bohemian-inspired infinity scarves, the Ash & Anchor founder handcrafts each and every textile in small batches, ensuring that each one is as beautiful as the next. Her collection of work embraces a highly-detailed, skilled artistry, as shown in the vibrant and colorful patterns that embody every product she creates in her New York studio. While infinity scarves remain at the core of her line, Pace has branched out to create an exquisite home collection, including aprons, tea towels, pillows and table runners. I caught up with her recently to get a glimpse into what she’s working on for fall/winter 2015 and what trends we can expect to see in home decor!
TCH: Give us a little background about how you got started; how was Ash & Anchor born?
NP: The idea for Ash & Anchor started back when I was in grad school creating portrait and still life paintings with highly detailed, patterned backgrounds. A visiting artist noted that I seemed far more interested in painting the background than the foreground– and she was right! This triggered all new ideas for me, most importantly that I could do similar work with different applications. I formed my creative studio as Ash & Anchor and started to take on freelance work and began selling paper items with my patterns on them! My freelance work eventually brought me a lot of textile design projects and seeing my designs printed on fabric was a complete game-changer.
TCH: You started with a gorgeous line of luxurious, but affordable, infinity scarves. Were throw pillows and towels a natural extension of the product offering for you?
NP: Thank you! Yes, I have always had in mind that I wanted to expand the line. Every time I draw a pattern, I dream up what else I can put it on, but the process gets slowed down a bit trying to figure out sourcing the right quality materials and construction. I’m definitely overjoyed to have a home collection now!
TCH: Can you tell us what you’re working on for fall/winter 2014-2015? What can we expect to see in the line?
NP: I’ve been having a lot of fun designing for fall/winter. I wanted the new line to be a bit more subdued than my usual palette (we’ll see how that goes!) and I’ve been bringing in some more geometric shapes. I’ve also been focusing on limited color palettes for each design to help allow certain aspects of each design to stand out.
TCH: Your prints are so vibrant, organic, detailed and nature-inspired; where do you find your inspiration? Do you look to your own backyard for the next pattern idea?
NP: Absolutely! I find myself taking pictures on walks and hikes all the time. I’m drawn to all the patterns already created in nature and love finding my own way to interpret them. Of late, I’ve been obsessed with different types of seed pods; the weirder or more detailed, the better!
TCH: You have a Masters in Fine Arts. Do you also consider yourself a textile designer or fashion designer?
NP: I like how blurred the lines can be these days, with so much opportunity out there to cross fields and allow your work to take on many different forms. I think I’ll always consider myself a painter and illustrator because that’s still at the base of what I do, but textile designer is definitely added to the rotation!
TCH: What home décor trends are you seeing for fall/winter 2014-2015? What colors should we be watching out for?
NP: I’ve been seeing a lot of exotic or ethnic prints accentuating simpler or more subtle designs. Along the same lines, I think we’ll keep seeing bright accent hues over natural, unsaturated tones. Colorwise, watch out for gorgeous jewel tones and possibly lots of blues. Turquoise will still be going strong as well, which makes me happy!
TCH: Birds, butterflies, botanicals – what’s the next iconic print to hit textile design, in your opinion?
NP: Lately, it seems as though the pineapple is the new go-to icon. I love its history as the symbol for hospitality, so I think it’s worthy of this comeback.
TCH: What’s your personal style? What things make you feel most at home?
NP: I feel like my style is a bit of a melting pot of different styles meshed together. I love mixing vintage pieces with new ones and one-of-a-kind pieces with simpler ones. I feel the most at home amongst items that all have a story or a special history — or items that you can tell were made with care.
TCH: What’s on the horizon for Ash & Anchor? What’s next?
NP: I have a few possibilities on the table to create some non-textile home items which I’m really excited about. I have to get the samples and prototypes worked out before I can really share but it feels exciting to explore new avenues!