Born in California in 1961, Mary Tuma began sewing and crocheting with her mother at an early age. Her love of these processes led her to begin her formal study of art as an apprentice at Beautiful Arts Hall in Kerdassa, Egypt, where she learned to weave tapestries. Later, she earned a Bachelorís degree in Costume and Textile Design from the University of California at Davis, and then went on to study womenís fashion design at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York. In 1994, she earned a Masters of Fine Arts degree from the University of Arizona, where she studied with Professor Gayle Wimmer. In 1997, she began teaching art at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, where she now serves as an Associate Professor and the head of the Fibers Program.
Tuma has shown her work in various venues in the United States, including the Crocker Art Museum, the Athens Institute for Contemporary Art, The Bridge in New York City, the Station Museum in Houston and the Urban Institute for Contemporary Art in Grand Rapids, MI. Outside of the US, she has shown work at Al Wasiti and Al Hoash in Jerusalem, the International Center of Bethlehem, Birzeit University Museum, Birzeit. West Bank, Kid Aileck Hall, Tokyo, The Maruki Gallery in Hiroshima, among others.
Tuma's work has appeared in Art in America, Dar Al-Hayat, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, Counterpunch, NYArts, Mother Jones, The San Francisco Chronicle, Workerís World, The Jordan Star, and many others.
She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her two adorable dogs, Monkey and Lulu.