Shannon is a true eclectic artist. It wasn’t an easy task to pin her down on any one handcraft button and then I realized that she has many. Shannon sees no boundaries when it comes to art and making things. She even confessed to thinking about making a couch once until she was talked out of it. Shannon is also the brainchild behind ARTFUL LLC, a local non-profit organization that focuses on bringing local artists from the Heights area together in a collaborative and functional way.
Up-cycling, eclectic and community focused.
Can be found at:
Based in Cleveland Heights, Shannon describes herself as having an artistic flair from an early age. She attended Hathaway Brown School where she excelled outside the borders of standard science, English and math. She successfully challenged her tutors to find a suitable fit for her by creating a photography course with her in mind, which is still going strong. She graduated from New York University where she developed a sharp eye as a professional photographer.
Shannon is definitely not someone who restrains herself to the inside walls of a box. Far from it. She describes herself as constantly working in many media and doesn’t consider herself stuck to any one thing. She has her hand in many ongoing projects: Rescued and Reloved, Electric Belle and Pure and Sweet, and ARTFUL to name a few. Shannon is currently trying to combine all of these sites into one streamlined web page.
www.ElectricBelle.com is Shannon’s blog that accompanies Rescued and Reloved. It chronicles her adventures and discoveries as an artist and parent.
www.RescuedandReloved.net as I’m sure you can guess, is all about up-cycling reclaimed materials. Items range from jewelry to home accessories with a strong message of being sustainable and green. I’ve included some of Shannon’s interior projects and accessories in her gallery below.
www.PureandSweet.net is a collaboration between Shannon and her close friend Sarah Curry. They design and print (by hand) stylish scarves with a strong female message similar to www.thisgirlstees.com mentioned in The Button last month (May, 2015). Their scarf designs are stylish and sharp with attitude for women that like to challenge stereotypical fashion, and each design comes in an array of different colors. Here’s a couple of their popular designs:
Early inspirations came from paying close attention to textures, color, finding her own identity by scouring thrift shops and re-purposing anything she could lay her hands upon. Up-cycling runs through the core of who Shannon is. She is inspired by everything. She feels this used to be somewhat problematic, because she could never funnel her artistic flow into just one thing, despite advice from those around her who didn’t quite understand her unique perspective.
Three years ago Shannon was officially diagnosed with (ADHD). This shed light on Shannon’s own awareness of her inability to focus on one singular medium and the incessant need to execute a project the moment it was thought out, or risk despair at the loss of the idea. With the help of medication, a good measure of determination and grit, she is proud of the fact that despite her struggles, she shines through in her own artistic flow, and more recently in her ability to bring her idea of an artistic community alive. With examples of people like Shannon it shows that it is possible to overcome obstacles and excel despite the challenges life throws at us.
Involvement in local community projects:
Some of you already familiar with Luluké or know me personally (and have seen the back of my car recently) may have seen this logo already:
Shannon and her team are currently seeking a building to house ARTFUL and they are keen on the Medusa Building (at Lee Boulevard at Monticello Boulevard in Cleveland Heights). They are currently in negotiations with the owners. Here’s a few pictures of the Medusa building in the 1950's and some more recent inside photos.
ARTFUL’S founding committee consists of artists, educators, attorneys, consultants and local business owners (including my husband). Each of which have strong ties to the area. You can also find out more about ARTFUL by following the link here artfulcleveland.org.
Shannon Morris - Founding Executive Director
Brady Dindia - Co-founder & Development Director
Dave King - Creative & Educational Resources Manager
Eric Mundson - Online Brand Manager
Sarah Curry - Artists & Education Advocate
Kevin Khayat - Business Strategy Manager (and a lovely husband ; )
Rachel Williams - Special Projects Manager
Hillary Lyon - Fundraising Manager
Meeting Shannon and getting to know her over the past few months has been an interesting and smile inducing journey of discovery, understanding, pure honesty and friendship. Shannon’s artistic beauty shines through her strong sense of identity and her fearless (but kind and gentle) persona. Her energy is inspiring and her sense of purpose and commitment to her local community with ARTFUL is amazing to watch unfold and blossom. The fact that she has previously struggled with ADHD and overcome the obstacles she previously faced is inspiring, and a reminder to us all, that whatever obstacles we face in life, there’s a way forward and beyond with a can do attitude.
Whilst finding out more about Shannon and her journey there are some elements that remind me of myself and my fascination with texture, design and color. As strange as it may seem, I love surfing clothes and accessory shops, looking at the different quality (and prices) between shops and feeling the textures of fabrics. You'll often find me turning up garments or bags from the bottom, from a sleeve, or collar, running my fingers along the seams, turning them inside out trying to figure out how they were constructed, who designed them and why they chose the material, design and sewing technique, and most of the time wondering who and where they were made, and under what conditions. But, I guess that’s a whole other blog or post for another time. Oh yes, I will save you from my ever strong opinions today, about mass produced clothes in overcrowded factories outsourced from abroad to keep up with fashion and the worldwide demand.
I can understand why Shannon prides herself with owning a second hand wardrobe of clothes and accessories, and why she is driven to constantly (and only) up-cycle. As I may have mentioned in earlier posts, the reason I wanted to start Luluké was to (in my own little way) push back at the chain store production lines and provide something alternative. It gives me a feeling of great delight to see local artists like her drive forward the notion of keeping things handmade with an up-cycled ethos, and to watch her idea of bringing local artists from all media, businesses and the local community together in a sustainable and real way. I am looking forward to continuing to ride with her on her ARTFUL adventure, and feel honored that she and the team would like to include Luluké’s The Button on the ARTFUL website in the future.
“I feel like every day is an event” Shannon says. When I pinned her down to one idea … she mentioned that she and the ARTFUL team will be brainstorming ideas for fund raising very soon. If you have any ideas or experience in this area get in touch with Shannon. Look on the Luluké Facebook page or like the ARTFUL Facebook page to keep up with updates of exciting ARTFUL events. Shannon also talked about helping her friend design T-Shirts for her new gym www.crossfitdistinction.com and being part of the T-shirt design for “We are the Colony”, a community movement to support Brennan’s Colony and local Cleveland Heights traders after the tragic death of Jim Brennan a year ago, this month. If you would info on how to purchase a T-Shirt please follow this link www.facebook.com/weareacolonytshirt