At a very young age, Mary Tanana was experimenting with all kinds of crafts. She did embroidery, needlepoint, counted cross-stitch, quilling, crochet, starting at age 6, all self-taught. Her parents were so wonderful, they gave into her every craft whim! Coming from a family of engineers, she is so thankful for their support as she pursued a career in the arts.
In college Mary studied Fashion Illustration at Syracuse University, and along the way discovered Surface Pattern Design, and completely fell in love with it. Incredibly, she landed a job as a jewelry designer soon after graduation in a company that photo-etched gold and silver jewelry. She was so excited to find a design job that focused on creating patterns that were pierced/etched in various metals. Mary was trained on the job to design gem, diamond, and bridal jewelry, and that’s what she’s been doing for most of her career until recently. She has designed for John Hardy and Vera Wang, Her innovative style has won numerous fine jewelry design awards including the prestigious Platinum Guild and Women’s Jewelry Association “DIVA” Award. A number of her exclusive designs became national best sellers at major retailers. She seized the opportunity to live in Hong Kong where she ran a large design department, commuting to China each week. This was a huge turning point in her career, as it opened up her eyes to the world market and helped define her global style.
Feeling very restless in her career, Mary knew that she needed a change. She took many courses, both online and locally, to educate herself with the digital world of surface pattern design. She completely fell back in love with pattern design and has immersed herself, creating distinctive collections which exemplify her true style and passion for bold patterns and colorful innovation.
Mary’s style is defined by very intricate pattern work. She loves to sketch in a variety of mediums, and often refers to her many sketchbooks, both old and new, for inspiration. She is fascinated with henna designs from India, folk art from the Ukraine, Russia and Poland, and loves Zentangle art. She has traveled extensively, and takes a lot of photographs wherever she goes. Mary tries to translate textures that she sees in landscapes, nature, or architecture into something fresh, eye-catching, and colorful. Mary is also an avid gardener and collector of orchids, loves looking at flowers and plants, and the variety of textures and colors that come from them. Mother Nature is always an inspiration to her.
Mary currently resides in a sunny loft with her husband and quirky kitties in Providence, Rhode Island, known as the “Creative Capital”. A very appropriate city for a very special designer.