Designer of the week: Mariah Girl
This week, we interviewed Mariah Maney from Mariah Girl designs. Based near Seattle in the United States. We love her geometric patterns and we want you to discover more about her work process:
- What is your studio name and location?
Hello!! My name is Mariah, but I work under the name Mariah Girl for my designs, it’s a nickname from my teenage years. I wish I could say that I have a gorgeous, organized studio, my dream workspace would be something like Tula Pink’s studio, actually. But I work from home, wherever that may be at the time… which is currently just outside of Seattle. My husband is in the military, and since we move around quite a bit I usually try to carve out a small area to be my creative space. Sometimes I get a whole room, which I immediately fill with my many sewing machines and plenty of fabric, of course.
- Which design school did you study at (if you did)?
It runs in my blood to think “I can do that myself”, so I am a self-taught designer. I have taken online Adobe Illustrator and Surface Pattern Design courses through the websites "Creative Live" and "Make It In Design", both of which have been invaluable resources for me. I spend plenty of time searching tutorials and discussion groups online seeking the trade secrets that other designers use. You can never underestimate the value of community!
- When did you first start being interested in design?
I’ve been interested in design since I was a kid, really. I’ve been sewing since I was 6, designing clothing, accessories, and home decor as a hobby. It wasn’t until I had children that I was finally able to stay home and spend more time sewing and designing for “real”. I mean, you have to sell some of what you make if you want to afford your own hobbies! Once we found out that we were moving internationally, and I wouldn’t have the space to sew so much, I decided it was finally time to learn Illustrator so I could design all the fabrics or patterns that I’d had floating around in my head for ages.
- Describe your style for us in 10 words?
Geometric, Youthful, Colorful, Theme-y, Nature-inspired, Hand-drawn, Simple, Kid-friendly, Vibrant, Innocent.
- What / who are your major influences?
I am so inspired by all things vintage, and of course by nature! I take photographs when we’re hiking or traveling, then I use those to create color palettes and sketch animals. I find inspirational patterns in vintage books on sewing and weaving as well as story books. Of course, I am inspired by my two girls, I love drawing animals that they are interested in and then creating a piece of fabric just for them, we’re all animal lovers.
- What are you working on at the moment?
After taking much of the summer off to travel, I am trying to compile my photographs into a cohesive story. I think I may use a moth as a starting point for my next collection, it’ll definitely have animals. I am also excited to add to my Global collection, I have several sketches that I want to spend time expanding upon!
- What do you hope to accomplish in the future?
I follow my heart. If I’m feeling excited and inspired by something, I’ll allow myself to indulge in that as long as I can. Because being a mother is my first and most important job, my goals for being a fabric designer are soft and fluid, free-form and flexible, depending on the demands at home. So while I am quite content just creating when I can, I might truly love to have my designs mass-produced at some point in my life (Hello, Target, can we chat?). We’ll see what the future holds!
- What tips would you give new designers starting out?
A tip I would to give new designers is actually a tip I got from Bonnie Christine, and it has truly lifted me when I have felt inferior, overwhelmed, and amateur. “There’s room for you”. With so many designers in the community, you’re bound to feel like nobody would ever notice you or that you couldn’t come up with anything fresh and new that stands out in the crowd. But that’s just not the case! Everyone has a unique vision to bring to the table and it’s important not to compare your work against others' work. Just do what you do and you’ll carve your own space!
- What music you listen to while designing?
I am an ardent fan of Tori Amos, she has been the soundtrack for my creative time for years (like 20 years, actually, but I don’t want to age myself!). I supplement her melodic voice with the soft crooning of The National, Paper Aeroplanes, and plenty of 80’s alternative tracks. Nothing beats Duran Duran and Depeche Mode for this girl!
Thanks Mariah for your insight into your creative journey and process.
You can buy Mariah’s designs from her Fashion Formula shop here