By Tamara Anne Fowler | CNA Media Team
Shannon Guirl lights up the world. And it all started with inspiration from Alberta Street. Shannon grew up in Chicago and traveled through Europe prior to landing in Brooklyn to work on film and television documentaries like “Bowling for Columbine” and “Shut Up and Sing” about The Dixie Chicks, plus reality TV shows like “American Pickers” and “Cash Cab.”
She worked primarily as an editor, but also assisted with filming on documentaries and documentary-based TV shows. After 12 years in the film & TV industry, Shannon found she had hit a wall. She needed something different.
In 2009, she took a ceramics class in Brooklyn and learned the basics of slip casting and mold making.
“I researched and designed my first lamp on my own after work and on the weekends,” Shannon explained. “It was a combination of the textures and materials I had become familiar with while exploring past mid-century designs. I felt the curves and shapes expressed a more modern version of the mid-century look.”
After that, it was mostly reading books, watching YouTube.com videos and talking to other ceramicists, turners and makers that helped Shannon develop the skills to make her product and run her business.
She was drawn from Brooklyn to Portland in 2010. “Through my work with Etsy, I could see that the makers in community, and I wanted to be part of it.”
Shannon released her first design, The Alberta on Kickstarter.com that same year. The campaign was successful and she raised more than $50,000 in seed money to start Caravan Pacific.
Shannon assembled and packed each lamp for all of the backers. “It was a wonderful feeling to be supported by so many people and feel their excitement in producing that first design,” she recalled.
“During my time in Portland, I’ve had the honor to be included in a number of formal and informal groups that support women-run businesses and designers, including the League of Women Designers and the Join Collective. “
I think sharing what you’ve learned and what you’re struggling with in a supportive environment helps create an atmosphere of inclusiveness and learning,” she added. “I really hope I never stop exploring and challenging myself. It’s been quite an adventure already.”
Shannon currently produces a collection of ceramic lamps for Rejuvenation as well as her own collection, available on Caravan-Pacific.com. “Concordia is a great place to call home. I just love it here.”
Tamara Anne Fowler is a copy/content editor, fiction editor and accountability coach. Visit her at EditKitten.com, email her at Tamara@ editkitten.com or call 310.359.6038. She would love to hear from you.