/ by Stephanie Burnette
/ photography by Eli Warren
The fabrications of Teresa Roche are rooted in the culture of South Carolina’s mill villages. Her parents were employed by the Piedmont Number One Cotton Mill in the 1950s and ‘60s, part of the JP Stevens Corporation; her father played in the storied Textile Baseball League and few memories occurred outside the shadow of the cotton mill. The plants began closing when Roche was a late teen and an era of Greenville as the epicenter of the textile world ended.
As an artist, Teresa Roche is widely collected for depicting a sun-drenched south, linens blowing on backyard lines and kite-shaped abstracts built in mixed media; works that pair naturally with interiors yet display the type of depth collectors of southern imagery seek out. But it was the workrooms of textile mills that she called upon to create a line of fabrication, tapping into a rooted love for the mundane.
“That’s the character I value,” Roche says. “Whatever it was new, it’s since been torn down. It’s become all those things together and I wanted to shed a modern, contemporary light on it.”
Abandoning software intended to maintain a 12inch repeating print, Roche began painting her fabric designs. Using a mylar bag, she painted its surface and then scratched away the quick-drying acrylic paint with a nail. “That’s when I got the marks I needed for a fabric print. I was using the nail like a piece of charcoal,” she says. “The minute I started thinking about it as a design, it stops working. It was about putting impulse on paper.”
She took the painted and scratched bag to a graphic designer and he said, “What am I doing with that?”
Today, it’s the Twombly pattern, offered in seven colorways and the leading lady of Roche’s first collection. Its repeat is large, 24 x 30.25” and suggests abstracted florals “as if they are in the blooming stage or have already bloomed.” Produced on 100% linen and printed in the Carolinas, it’s a shapeshifter on pillows, upholstery, drapes and wallpaper.
Her second collection added a free-handed stripe called Watery and the newest series Bobos are Blooming offers garden print, most notably in vibrant corals but also in a host of neutrals that feels fresh and genderless when added to interiors.
This summer Roche launches an Artisan Mural Collection, a large-scale wallpaper run of the existing patterns Spoonful of Sugar, Folly Porch Pots and In the Garden with Say. A hotel project had requested a wallpaper image to fill a single wall and Roche felt there was a market for this type of impact in a residential application. She says the idea of seeing it in a home one day will be “a dream realized.”