My heart is happy when my hands are busy.

As a scientific-based artist, designer and craftsman I exist in a world of storytelling and creating environments. Memories are a mark of love and a supportive upbringing. My DNA was formed by makers and craftsman and yes, I do believe I am one of the lucky ones. Feeling I could make anything with enough time and ambition. There’s a richness not just in the final product but the connection to the process when you’re painting sets and making illustrations. That tête-à-têt dialogue between art and design will forever be back and forth and I prefer it that way.

In my ethos there’s always been a very conscious thought of “the footprint”. Where do things come from? What raw material is this comprised of, what kind of energy and love went into making it? I always think of the steamer trunk my Great-Grandmother brought with her from Scotland. Whatever else was in this trunk was precious I’m sure, but she brought heavy double woven wool, that I now cherish for the beauty that it is. She could look at a coat or a jacket in a store window, return home and make it. That story always makes me swoon and it’s the way I’ve always tried to create. Also too, the time and effort it takes to make something should mean something more and serve a purpose. It is not something to be discarded but cherished. And you certainly shouldn’t see yourself “coming and going” as she referred to anything that was not bespoke. How lucky my grandmother was to get the items from her imagination. I still love that. Things made should last a long time, be made with fine materials and you should know where it came from.

I have an enormous stash of vintages yarns that my mom lovingly refers to as my inheritance. I grew up with what many would call scratchy fibers against my skin. Smarter people know, those “scratchy fibers” are highly coveted. Though I love spinning a good yarn as well, to say that it must have a punishment, it certainly was not. It probably only magnified the love affair I have and fascination with fibers all my life. They are memories and I’m happy for it.

Narratives I enjoy creating are drawn also from world and art history. And it should be pretty evident in the characters I’ve modeled for much of my client and personal work just how much I love harkening back. History is always important and should be recalled and performed again and again. It strengthens design concepts, creates meaning and perhaps remind you of a person or place you knew and loved. It’s never there by mistake.

PROFESH CREDS   Specializing in retail brands with such notable brands as Anthropologie, Elie Tahari, Jane Iredale, Kendo Brands (LVMH-Sephora) and Tumi. Photo Art Direction for runway, still-life and on-figure catalog and lookbook studio photography. 360 designer for the instore experience with windows, display and merchandising, tradeshow graphics and environmental design. Print design with luxury printing techniques and materials, deep on-press experience for direct mail, invitation, catalogs and lookbooks. Digital/UX, email, social media. A true lover of typography, logo and brand development and strategy.

Mary Ritzel bio


New Yorker (through and through)

Director  |  Designer  |  Craftsman
Lover of form. My heart is happy when my hands are busy. Hunting the beautiful and tickling the corner of your mouth.

[ featured in the April 2017 issue ]

Life Crush Feature
Life Crush Article_Mary Ritzel