An Interview with Shannon Munro
When I first sat down with Shannon Munro to talk about her jewelry, I was taken back by how kind and classic her presence was. Her jewelry design is nothing like I have ever seen before, and I knew right away that 1: I had a huge crush on this gal, and 2: I wanted to know more about her and her business. So, we sat down for beer and a burger and this is what we talked about!
Britt: Tell me about the mystery and romance that defines your jewellery collection
Shannon: Mystery and romance are just that, indescribable. I try to capture my heart in every piece I create. The mystery and romance of my collections are found in the details of each piece. It's mostly a
secret message for you to see and think about (Wink).
Britt: How do you imagine these pieces falling into peoples lives?
Shannon: I imagine these pieces being the perfect love token and future heirloom. I hope that for the wearer they are something they wear daily or see as a charm. My pieces are one of a kind and each is hand carved by me without a mold. I see them as being a piece that is unique and one considers very special.
Britt: What was the first piece of jewellery you made with metal?
Shannon: I was challenged in school to make a personal necklace. I made a memorial necklace for a fawn that I had an encounter with the summer before starting my program. Show photo. This piece lead to inspiration for an entire collection in my first year of school.
Britt: If you could be in any story, era real or mythical what character
would you want to play?
Shannon: This is a fun question! I'd have to be one of my favourite female TV or Movie characters.
- Maggie from Northern Exposure
- Annie or Audrey from Twin Peaks
- Scully from X-Files
- I'm sure I'd get a kick out of being a Bond Girl
They all are strong characters with so much personal style and are surrounded by intense scenarios of adventure, humour, mystery and romance. I think that makes sense doesn't it?
Britt: How do you respond to fear in pursuit of your work?
Shannon: I think that starting a project that is so important to you and requires you to put all of your cards on the table to make it work is immediately going to jump start some very real nerves. With chasing career dreams you are bound to find yourself looking at all the possibilities of failure financially and emotionally. It's a big test of self esteem. There have definitely been days, and I'm sure more to come, where I find myself in a creative, or production block.
My response in these freak outs is usually to simply ask what would you do if you weren't pursing this? Would you be happy? What do you have to lose? How many other dreams are important to you? Usually I just know that without a doubt I want to make this work and I don't want to settle for a career path that doesn't have my heart in it. Making Jewellery is a huge source of happiness for me. I've found that when I've held other full time jobs while pursing this, the creativity drops and so does the production.
In the end I am always wishing I was working on jewellery and somewhat resenting myself for not doing it. It really boils down to letting all of those insecurities wash over me to and just get back at it and tell yourself live for now, you can't see tomorrow and this is what I want today.
Britt: What would you say to someone who stays paralysed in fear, or
struggles to move beyond it in their creative pursuits?
Shannon: I would first say embrace that this is sometimes scary and we're all bound to find ourselves procrastinating because of a sense of fear. It's cheesy, but really look at how short this life is and take a moment to appreciate your talents and visions. Indulge a little in feeling nervous, but then find those ways to shake it off - be it exercise, nature, talking it out with friends or family, or even someone in the same field as you. I find that to just move in one way or another helps you break free. I use to get out of my workspace and hit at a coffee shop or a bar and sketch anything in front of me, the salt shaker for example. I have an unreasonable amount of glassware and salt shakers drawings in my moleskin. It's mostly an exercise in just doing. In fear you start to get overly self involved so I also found the company of just being amongst strangers and observing them helped me. Really my advice is to just move in another way if you can't for the moment in your work.
Britt: How does living in Victoria or this environment support you in your work?
Shannon: Wow, well I can't praise Victoria enough for all that it does for me in my work. Living in this city, with all the beauty, nature and community, wholeheartedly inspires me everyday. I actually feel like I'm in a big romance with this town and have been since moving here 4 years ago. It's not just my beautiful friends that are generous and supportive but all that are involved in small business in Victoria. You get this amazing sense of camaraderie amongst everyone, even in the same field. Truly it seems that we all want each other to do well and are constantly doing our best to promote the creativity this city has flourishing in. I'm in the right place and that can't help but support me in my work.
Britt: Everyone of your pieces is carved by hand. You don't use any molds
for your work. Why is that?
Shannon: Each piece is hand carved because I want each to have it's own flaws and to be one of a kind. I grew up with my parents giving me one of a kind pieces and I held that quality to be so special. I love the differences that come with carving each piece individually. For now this works, in the future if I do decide to make molds i will do small runs of each piece to keep them as rare birds.
Britt: How does social media affect your business?
Shannon: Social media is on of the strongest tools I have next to my anvil and hammers. Can't do without it. It's completely necessary for inspiration and promotion of my line. It's just as much part of my work now as making the jewellery and I find I need full days dedicated to using this as a tool. I will say that it's very much a love hate relationship. I'm still getting use to this aspect of my business and some days are fun and others I just want to run screaming from using Instagram and facebook. In the end, they are brilliant platforms I can use to connect with people in my community.
Britt: What feeds your fear and what feeds your creativity?
Shannon: Procrastination and overly comparing myself to others feeds the fear. Looking at all the stories of my life and those close to me feeds creativity
Britt: What do you read for inspiration?
Shannon: Although I do love to read, lately short stories and poetry, the things that inspire me aren't necessarily so much in books as it is in the stories of those that touch my life. The pieces I make are sort of the lyrics in a song if I were a musician or a writer. You find them connecting to love, memories and old pains. Most of what I make is for someone read into. I want my work to be a discovery of all the romance and mystery we talk about. I have my secrets and puzzles in the imagery of it all.
Britt: What's next for your collection or business?
Shannon: Think 70's baby, the 70's
Follow along with Shannon as she develops her new collection @shannonmunrojewelry
You can find out more about Shannon on her website, and her designs in Victoria here at Picot and Little Gold
Photography and styling of Shannon's work is done by Kelly Brown & Tara Hurst