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Alumni success ‘spotlight’ interview with Rima Tessman


We are so proud of our Make Art That Sells Alumni, that we are pleased to continue a series of spotlight interviews showcasing their successes and artwork. We also ask them to share how the MATS courses have helped them learn and grow. You can see more Alumni Success stories here


RIMA TESSMAN PROFILE PICToday, we have an interview with Rima Tessman (Birch & Loon). Rima has taken MATS A and Assignment Bootcamp

Tell us a little about how you got started in art and design.

You know how people sometimes speak of a single moment or experience that changed the course of their life? I had one of those! I was a pretty prolific artist in my youth, but since I didn’t think I could make a living through my art, I decided to pursue a “practical” career – I became a technical writer, just like Tina from Dilbert. Between working long hours and worrying that one of my manuals was eventually going to cause a factory explosion somewhere, I was quite miserable. So when my children were born and circumstances allowed me to spend time with them at home, I jumped at the chance. One summer, I stumbled upon a basic block printing lesson and somehow, over the course of one afternoon, my love for creating art was suddenly re-ignited. I know it’s a cliche, but I really did find my life’s passion that day. I took it upon myself to get as much of a formal art education as I could by taking a classes on and offline in a variety of techniques, and I’ve been creating art every day since.

Lilla always says “People buy your joy.” What brings you joy?

First and foremost, making art! But also travel, antiquing, foraging for “art things” in the woods, and riding my bicycle with the abandon of a child.

Which is your favorite market(s) to design for and why?

So far I’ve been most taken with home decor and wall art. I like the idea of making art that is not only gorgeous to look at, but that can be handled and used every day. I’m a firm believer that being surrounded by beauty makes everyone happier and kinder.


What are you working on currently?

I have just started working on the last lesson in the MATS A class. But I’m always creating original art for my Etsy shop and patterns for Spoonflower. Last summer I had the opportunity to take a class at a chateau in France with renowned textile artist Mandy Patullo, which really inspired me to explore the use of textiles in my work.

What are some of the key things you have learnt from the MATS experience?

That I really can adapt my style and medium for commercial markets (for example, the Wall Art piece I created for MATS was a textile collage that I scanned and tweaked in Photoshop) and that making art is supposed to be fun!

How have the classes helped your artwork evolve /grow?

I have experimented with mediums and techniques I may not have used otherwise, and I’ve learned how to make luscious pieces that can work in several different markets.


Any aha moments during MATS you would like to share?

Realizing that I can make bolt fabric patterns by taking a few well rendered pieces from other works I’ve made!

What are your key successes since taking a MATS class?

I’ve developed an ongoing relationship with a local art gallery who has begun regularly stocking my work.


How would you describe taking a MATS class to a fellow artist looking to develop their art?

It’s a total immersion experience with a “tribe” that “gets you” and is extremely supportive. The wealth of information provided – both in terms of techniques and commercial advice – is really staggering. I go back to reference the information vault for MATS all the time and I always find something new.

What is your dream gig for your artwork?

I would love to license my artwork for commercial markets.

See more work here: Website | Shop | Instagram | Facebook




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Graduates of our courses have gone on to win work from clients such as Hallmark, Robert Kaufman Fabrics, Oopsy Daisy, Uppercase Magazine, West Elm, Midwest CBK, and more. It is industry learning that works in the real world. Find out more HERE and start today!

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