Surface Designer Spotlight: Maria Rose Adams

I love when I find fellow artists that love to learn (and teach) as much as I do and this month’s spotlight designer, Maria Rose Adams, is no exception. I deeply resonate with her story as we both originally studied to be teachers before we realized we could make a go at being an artist full-time.

And even though Maria is fairly new to the world of surface design, she has lots of precious wisdom to share – just like any good teacher would. I hope you enjoy reading her story!


Please Introduce Yourself

Hi! My name is Maria. I am an artist and surface pattern designer living and working in St. Paul, Minnesota. I fell in love with pattern in graduate school five years ago when I began incorporating it into my painted work. Slowly but surely I’ve been learning how to design stand alone patterns for the world of SPD. My work is bright, joyful, and inspired by the simple pleasures of everyday life.

Tell us a little bit about your design journey.

I was originally studying to become an elementary school teacher as an undergraduate student. I had always been passionate about learning as well as the joy and boundless curiosity of young children.

As a first-generation college student, I entered school unaware of most creative career paths and had little exposure to the visual arts. I wanted to spend my precious time at school learning about something that lit me up and fed my soul. I loved that art was all about asking questions and essentially allowed me to study whatever I was inspired by!


I was sold once I realized that art was something I could learn and didn’t have to be born good at (a common misconception). I quickly changed my major to Art Education, later adding a second in Studio Art.

Later, in graduate school, when searching for my voice and the “why” behind my work as a painter, I came across the world of pattern design. Ever since then I have been slowly but surely inching my way into the world of SPD.

What advice about the surface design industry has been most helpful to you in your career so far?

There have been so many helpful pieces of advice that I have come across since diving headfirst into building my SPD portfolio. One that has really stuck with me is not to wait. Start now with what you have! It gave me permission to acknowledge that where I am now is as good a place as any to begin.

I don’t need to wait until I gain x/y/z skill or buy a certain piece of equipment. I don’t need permission from anyone. The biggest thing that I can do for myself and my career is to stop researching and waiting for everything to be perfect and to just DO.

Focus on what is right in front of me and commit myself to making progress — no matter how small — every day.



What has been your favorite client collaboration to date and how did you find them?

Mademoiselle Miel is a chocolatier in my hometown making delicious honey-sweetened bon-bons with bee hives on rooftops across the Twin Cities. I had the honor of designing a pattern to be used on the packaging of sweet-corn chocolates made special for the Minnesota State Fair a few summers back. I love food, especially local food, and so being a part of that project was a true joy!

When you look back at your design journey so far, what are you most proud of?

I am proud of myself for continuing to dream big, even when the path hasn’t been clear. Being an artist can be a real challenge in that there are an overwhelming number of ways to do things. Keeping a dedication to the work front and center while allowing myself to hold future dreams in mind has helped me to stay the course, which is really all I want — the opportunity to continue exploring both the exterior world and my internal landscape through making! That gift and privilege is never lost on me.

What advice would you give to surface designers who are struggling?

I am only just beginning and so I don’t feel I am in a place to dole out SPD-specific advice. In general though, when I am struggling creatively, I oftentimes find I need to step away for a minute. I get into a place where I forget that keeping my nose to the grindstone isn’t always the best course of action, especially when things are at a standstill. A walk in nature, a warm bath, a good book, a deep breath, a conversation with a good friend… All of those things have the potential to reset my spirit so that I can start fresh again.

Every day is a new one and a gift!

Where can we find you?

Website: mariaroseadams.com
Instagram: @mariaroseadams


P.S. If you’d like to be featured on the SDR blog, you can always submit your story right here!

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