Mary Tanana

Owner, Creator, Designer

I’m a designer of many things, photographer, doodler, artist, world traveler, cat wrangler, and at times a very silly person 😉

Surface Designer and Illustrator

At a very early age, I was doing all kinds of crafts. I did embroidery, needlepoint, counted cross-stitch, quilling, crochet, starting at age 6. My parents were so wonderful, they gave into my every craft whim! Coming from a family of engineers, I am so thankful they supported me! In college I studied Fashion Illustration, and along the way, I discovered Surface Pattern Design, and completely fell in love with it! I took as many courses as I could fit into my schedule, but left Syracuse University with a BFA in Fashion Illustration.

Incredibly, I landed a job as a jewelry designer in a company that photo-etched gold and silver jewelry. I was so excited to have any kind of design job, and the bonus was that it was all about creating patterns that were pierced/etched in the metal. I was trained on the job to design gem, diamond, and bridal jewelry, and that’s what I’ve been doing for most of my career up until recently. I also had the opportunity to live in Hong Kong where I ran a large design department, commuting to China each week. This was a huge turning point in my career, it opened up my eyes to the world market and what it has to offer.

I decided I needed a change in my life a few years ago, and knew that I needed some extra help in order to pursue a surface design career, especially with everything being done digitally. I enrolled in as many courses as I could find, both online and locally. I completely fell back in love with pattern design and have immersed myself in it since then.

As far as my style, I tend to do very complicated pattern work and drawings. I usually do rough layouts on paper, and scan that into Adobe Illustrator to do all of the fine line work in layers. I’m fascinated with henna designs from India, folk art from the Ukraine, Russia and Poland, and I love Zentangle art. A lot of my friends say that they recognize my design style instantly, and I’m very flattered! I’ve traveled extensively, and I take a lot of photographs wherever I go. I try to translate textures that I see in landscapes, nature, or architecture into something fresh. I’m also an avid gardener, and I love looking at flowers and the petals, the variety of textures and colors that come from them. Mother Nature always inspires!