Today we’re excited to share an exclusive interview with a wonderful designer for Blank Quilting Corp, Tana Mueller. Tana designs under the business name Western Denim & Dirt and her collections include the successful Y’all Be Merry, Spooktacular Halloween, and Western Album. Her latest collection, Western Album II will be shipping this November. Learn more about who she is and how she creates.
Q. Where are you from? Where did you grow up? Where do you live?
A. I was born in San Antonio, TX. I grew up in Dallas, TX. When I was out of school, I spent most of my time helping my grandma with chores on her farm in Pendleton, TX. My grandma was a very hard worker. Way of life in the country was hard work but very rewarding.
Q. Family? Pets?
A. Yes, my two sons Brandon (28) & Kyle (25) and BFF for over 30 years Marty. Currently, no pets. I have had three German Shepherds. Princess was the last dog we had; she was also my K-9. She went to heaven in Nov. 2013.
Q. Background as far as education and jobs?
A. Education: Earned a scholarship for art in high school, however my mother became ill. I took my GED test and dropped out of high school to help provide for the family. I later attended Miss Wades Art School in Dallas for a semester. I eventually went back to college to earn two associates degrees in Applied Police Science at Tarrant Co. College. I also hold several law enforcement certifications and licenses including instructor certifications from Texas Department of Public Safety in Austin, TX. Work: I started working at the young age of 12 at the movie theaters. I’ve held several jobs from cake decorating in a bakery to Store Manager at a Jo-Ann’s Fabrics
Later, I went on to law enforcement. I served 25+ years as a police officer holding different titles such as: Police Communications Officer/Trainer, Patrol/Investigation Officer, D. A. R. E Officer, Police Instructor and Administrative Police Sergeant.
Q. What other products do you license for? Do you have any other jobs outside of licensing?
A. I own and operate Lone Wolff Construction. Lone Wolff Construction is a construction company that does image upgrades and remodeling for a major retail chain of restaurants. I also own and operate “designs by tana”. We specialize in hot blend crayon techniques that are used to make crayon artwork. We teach classes, programs and do quite a few quilt shows. We also have a studio and website with an online store. In my spare time, I like to take naps.
Q. What inspires your lines?
A. I love to draw and color. I have been drawing since childhood. I enjoy animals, anything rustic/country, western art, Halloween and Christmas. I like to create a design that will be remembered.
Q. Do you have a special place where you get your best work done?
A. Yes, I work from my home office drawing and coloring late at night. Anytime I think or see anything I like, I immediately make a note of it and sketch the thought out on paper.
Q. Do you have a memorable licensing or designing moments?
A. How it began… a sells representative (Rhonda Hatcher) of Blank Quilting came to my studio to sell me fabric. Cindy Werkmeister (Sr., Color Team Instructor) and I meet with her to look at purchasing fabric that could be used with my designs for coloring. Rhonda had been in a meeting at Blank Quilting where she had learned they were looking for a western fabric designer. She was so overwhelmed with all the western artwork at the studio, she forgot about selling the fabric to us. We did purchase a few bolts before she left. Later that year, I was asked to meet with Cliff and Diana at International Quilt Market in Houston, TX. Within a week I became a licensed designer for Blank Quilting. The rest is history. Thanks Rhonda!
Q. Lessons learned over the years?
A. Be patient, good things come to those who wait. Life is too short to for drama. Be colorful with everything you do.
Q. What do you like about fabric?
A. I love the cotton fabric for artwork medium. It’s easier to use for my crayon techniques to color on than paper mediums; creates a unique effect.
Q. How do you choose colors?
A. I am doing a variety of artwork. I love Sepia monochromatic color tones, which works great with western art. Other colors are chosen based on the theme. I would like to do several collections in red, black and white and turquoise and brown.
Q. Anything to add?
A. I put my heart and soul into all my designs. They begin as “chick scratch” and then are drawn on paper and finalized as line drawings. The artwork is then created into a pattern. I use a direct pattern transfer technique to place the artwork on the fabric. The design is then colored with crayons and sometimes colored pencils. It takes at least 8 hours for a one small crayon design to be completed.