NOT SO FAST: Marcus Foley + Alana Cullen

A quick chat with island folk artist & woodworker Marcus Foley and textile & jewelry designer Alana Cullen of TAFARI DESIGNS

N MAGAZINE: Tell us a little about your business, TAFARI DESIGNS
CULLEN/FOLEY: TAFARI DESIGNS has evolved over the years as an expression of what we love – handcrafted, quality goods made with a focus on sustainability and inspired by nature.

N MAGAZINE: What word best describes your design style/aesthetic?
CULLEN/FOLEY: Organic.

1whaleN MAGAZINE: How are your creations “authentically Nantucket”?
CULLEN/FOLEY: To us and our work, “authentically Nantucket” means taking a traditional idea or method, combining it with local resourcefulness, and allowing our own unique expression to shine through. [Marcus] makes the traditional Sperm whale carvings using reclaimed wood, drawing each design by hand and looking at the wood itself for inspiration. This allows each whale to be unique and embedded with its own special personality. [Alana] sews and naturally dyes the textiles by hand, and collects wampum on the shores for bead-making, paying homage to the very first visitors of this island and being inspired by their lives and struggles. That tradition and connection is very important to us and our work.

N MAGAZINE: What item/tool do you absolutely require to get your job done?
CULLEN: My vintage Singer sewing machine and our son David who helps me collect wampum!

N MAGAZINE: Where can your items be purchased?
CULLEN/FOLEY: Nantucket Looms, Atlantic and at the Sustainable Nantucket’s Farmers and Artisans Market. You can also place custom orders by contacting us through our website.

familyN MAGAZINE: What brought you to Nantucket?
FOLEY: Friends who caddied at Sankaty in 2000
CULLEN: Love brought me here in 2004 because I met Marcus!

N MAGAZINE: What is your favorite beach here on Nantucket?
CULLEN/FOLEY: Fisherman’s where we like to go body-surfing with our boys!

N MAGAZINE: Favorite month on Nantucket?
CULLEN/FOLEY: September — it’s the calm after the storm!

N MAGAZINE: Favorite on-island restaurant/dish or favorite meal to prepare at home?
CULLEN/FOLEY: We grow a lot of food in our own gardens but are eagerly anticipating strawberry picking at Moors End and Bartlett’s! We love Bartlett’s tomatoes and okra from Boat Yard Farm and plan on cooking up a lot of stir-fries, grilled veggies and fresh salads this summer!

N MAGAZINE: If you were to make a time capsule with the 5 items that most represent Nantucket to you, what would they be?
CULLEN/FOLEY: A sand dollar from Fisherman’s, a Brandywine tomato from Bartlett’s, a Whale’s Tail from Cisco Brewers, a jar of homemade beach plum, and a photo of a Madaket sunset.

1pillowA special thank you to Alana & Marcus for letting N Magazine tour through their home/studio/workshop this Spring!

To see more of Marcus & Alana’s work, check out TAFARI DESIGNS and be sure to follow them on Instagram @TafariDesigns and @AlanaDorothy

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