Groovity {Mary Tanana}

Groovity - Ceramique Dreams

Groovity – Ceramique Dreams


As a small child, Mary Tanana was so obsessed with pattern that every time they went out shopping, she would beg her mother to take her to the ladies room, just so she could check out the tiles and wallpaper.


Groovity - Folky Dokey

Groovity – Folky Dokey


Now as a surface designer herself, Groovity is the perfect name for Mary’s vibrant patterns – with overtones of 60s paisley, mid-century modern and 70s floral boldness. More than a bit bohemian, her work incorporates elements of folk art and clever digital manipulation to create a distinctive range of designs.

Fascinated with colour and making from a very early stage, she took on any and every type of needlecraft. She taught herself how to knit and crochet when she was about 9 or 10, and got hooked on the papercraft of quilling.  “I had a cool Indian beading loom, begged my parents for any kind of craft kit, and I was obsessed with ‘Pysanky’, traditional Ukrainian decorated eggs.”

And it didn’t stop there.

Later, she studied fashion illustration at college, but after moving to Boston, she answered an ad in the paper to design photo-etched jewellery, and got it. She went on to work as a successful, multi- award winning jewellery designer for the traditional bridal gem and gold markets for 20 years, several of which were spent living and working in Hong Kong, heading up the design department for an international company.


groovity - eclectic gypsyland

groovity – eclectic gypsyland


groovity - mandala mania

groovity – mandala mania


Then one day, she decided that she was bored, and that her designs looked stale. “Bam! My mind was made up. I searched for courses that would teach me how to do surface and textile design digitally and got right down to business. I worked very hard to learn everything I could about the industry, how to market myself, and how to create a design identity. I met some fabulous designers from all around the world by taking some of these courses. I now have a huge international network of people which has proven invaluable.”

Despite her success, Mary says there are always moments of self-doubt. However, these can be useful too. “I think that my worst experiences have actually made me push myself to new heights as a person and as a designer. And the worst experiences that I’ve had so far  are… “rejection”. While I’ve had lots of great success so far, I’ve also had my share of rejections. There is absolute fact in the saying, “When One Door Closes Another Will Open.” And open they have – Mary is excited and proud to have licensed several of her fabric designs with


mary tanana - gigantor doodle board

mary tanana – gigantor doodle board


mary tanana - sketchbook

mary tanana – sketchbook


Now working out of a wonderful, large-windowed space of a converted loft, she has plenty to inspire her.”My favorite textile designer is Kaffe Fassett. I am in awe of his color palettes and patterns!! I also discovered Rex Ray while I was using Pinterest. I love his paintings and the shapes he uses!” She is also inspired by a wide range of traditional folk art and the art and architecture she saw while living overseas, and she still works on making her own Pysanky.


groovity - safari 1

groovity – safari 1


Mary Tanana - pysanky

Mary Tanana – pysanky


Mary’s favourite quote is “ ‘Don’t compare your Beginnings to someone else’s Middle.’ I am so new at this business, and I find myself comparing my work to others that have been doing this for years, resulting in suddenly not feeling good about anything that I do. I’ve actually written this quote on a card and taped it next to my computer to remind me not to ‘go there’ anymore!”

I’m sure there’s much more grooviness to come!


You can find more of Mary’s work on Spoonflower at Groovity  and on her own website,