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Mary’s vision drives every Mary Lake-Thompson Ltd. design, guiding everything from initial concept to each finished product.
Mary started drawing and painting from the time she was a young child and never looked back. She attended the University of Colorado as an art student, before setting out for California and San Francisco’s vibrant art scene in 1970. It was there that she attended the San Francisco Art Institute, and also where she met her husband and future business partner Richard Thompson. After she graduated with a degree in photography, Mary and Richard moved to the sleepy foothills town of Oroville, located about 45 minutes north of Sacramento.
It was in Oroville that Mary really started developing as a commercial artist. Her daughters Sara and Abby served as inspiration in her first paintings, along with the wildlife and landscapes of rural California. In the early 80’s, Mary landed an art show at The Nut Tree in Vacaville, where she sold 60 paintings. After that, she began selling prints to local galleries, as well as door to door throughout California, working out of the trunk of her car.
Following the success of her prints, she launched a greeting card company, using her own artwork on the cards.
She and Richard attended the New York Stationary show where she picked up licensing contracts, including one for C.R. Gibson, for which she designed baby books, address books, diaries and paper napkins. Eddie Bauer then placed an order for gift baskets, soaps and lotion, which gave Mary the idea to design gift items and packages featuring her original artwork. Since then, Mary Lake-Thompson, Ltd. has designed and produced soaps, aprons, bath products, drawer liners, sachets, napkins, hats and of course, its signature flour sack towels. Mary has been able to use her own unique designs on all of these products, as well as reproductions of handpicked vintage art.
Mary Lake-Thompson, Ltd. is now a large small company, employing up to 50 people. All off Mary Lake-Thompson Ltd.’s products are designed, printed, packaged and shipped in the USA.