I'm definitely a mixed-media and collage artist, but a designer at heart. I was collecting snippets of personal ephemera for 20 + years not knowing why. Then in 2010, I was accepted to the Vermont College of Fine Arts Graphic Design program for my MFA — graduating in 2013. During my research and making, I was able to study my process deeper. My process is basically the letting go of all the collected ephemera (old books, maps, calendars, letters and cards) into a new, mixed-media piece. The nostalgia of holding on to memorabilia was weighing me down. So, by repurposing the ephemera I'm able to give new life, and a re-design to the collected imagery. I still see a little of the nostalgia peeking through the design, but the emotional charge is long gone. It's not unlike the time spent working on a Buddhist sandpainting and its erasure at the end of completion, reminding me of the transitory nature of life. There is a sense of 'freedom and lightness' for me that comes from the remixing and remaking. 

Mary Hanrahan has over twenty years' experience in design with a strong love of organization and project management in both professional and higher educational environments. Her BFA from The University of New Mexico is in printmaking and photography. She studied at Tamarind Institute of Lithography as a technical assistant. She currently lives and works in Taos, New Mexico with her partner, but travels to Ireland often for creative inspiration — her second home. She also returns each April and October to Vermont College of Fine Arts to assistant graduate students with their exhibition installation during the 10-day graphic design residencies.

This last August 2019, she spent 26 days at the Burren College of Art on the west coast of Ireland working on an ecology and found art project. The project was an exploration with encaustics, and collected tea bags that held flora, fauna and found material from the landscape and surrounding area — basically "tiny-tea-bag" encaustics. The project was entitled, "26 Days in the Burren." A process and documentation book will be published in the Spring of 2020. It was in the Burren that her work changed direction to focus on art and the environment, and ecology. One ephiphany she had while observing a "wayfinding" exercise in the Burren National Park with fellow students was the realization she said, "That within the ancient limestone rockscape this was the first time I recongnized myself in any landscape." She plans to return again to the west coast in 2020 to continue her research and studies.