handmade in california
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Meet Maria...


Hi, I'm Maria, designer and creator of unique, handmade handbags.

I have a background in illustration, art, and design, and an absolute love of pattern, color, and texture.

After studying graphic design at Batley Art College in England (a long, long time ago, back in the days of Letraset), I worked for a short period at an advertising agency, illustrating washing machines and other boring appliances. This wasn't my calling, so I was delighted when an opportunity came up to be an artist in the Carlton Cards studio.

After a couple of years of fantastic experience in the greeting card industry, I took the plunge and went freelance. My own boss!

Since then I've licensed over 3000 of my designs, illustrated children's books, and been on contract with big companies like Hallmark. I also moved to California with my brilliant husband Mark who's an inventor, designer, creative, and maker (those are his words—I think he messes around a lot :-))

So that was then, but what happens when an illustrator shifts her focus to handbags? 

With an ever expanding collection of luxurious fabrics it seemed only natural I should lovingly transform it into wearable art.

Incorporating my original artwork, I create my quirky, one-of-a-kind purses with meticulous attention to detail. Using fine silks, the softest wools, and other gorgeous, high-end materials from around the world, I embellish them with hand stitching, beading, felting, and appliqué, amongst other techniques. Each purse is a unique stand-out-in-the-crowd fashion statement, ready to be worn and admired!


More stuff about Maria.

  • I drive a Mini Cooper with Union Jack wing mirrors 
  • I learned to horse ride on a pony called Willy Wobbles
  • I can touch my nose with my tongue
  • I've been in love with the same man for 29 years
  • I started collecting fabric 12 years ago and now I can't stop
  • My favourite colour is red, hence my fave drink is red wine
  • Even though I've lived in the States for 9 years I still insist on keeping that "u" in  certain words (see above). Oh, don't get me started on aluminium...
  • Even though I'm British I eat peanut butter out of the jar
  • I love Marmite
  • When I was 13 I was in a detective club called EMU: Enthusiastic Marvelous Us
  • I'm definitely more savoury than sweet
  • I'm the world's 2nd biggest procrastinator 
  • My hair colour is meh, but I've not seen it's natural state in over 35 years
  • I LOVE our bad-ass pup Ruby!

maria woods, mark woods, ruby woods