Export Profile – Showcase 2017: Shannon McShane
Hi Shannon! Tell us a bit about yourself – how did you get into making?
I have always been interested in art and expressing myself through it. I became focused on applying to Art College during secondary school but it wasn’t until towards the end of my first semester in foundation year that I had the moment of clarity that "I have to be a maker". I fell in love with jewellery and silversmithing in my second semester that year.
I continued my studies at the University of Ulster with a degree in Fine and Applied Arts. The final year of my degree saw my love of working in metal firmly forged. Since graduating in 2011 I kept up my practice with creating works for exhibition and private commissions. I interned in Estonia for internationally renowned jeweller Tanel Veenre. Feeling incredibly inspired and determined, I set up my business and haven’t looked back since.
Can you tell us a bit about your making process?
I create one-off pieces for exhibitions, my ready to wear collections Rippled and Rock Surface, and bespoke commissions for clients.
My inspiration is drawn from the coast surrounding my home. I grew up in a large coastal town at the mouth of Belfast Lough. Along this part of the coast there is a hive of sea faring activity which influences my work.
When creating a new piece I either start off by drawing designs on paper or by drawing with the materials at the bench. I conduct my research and prep work for designing through photographing and sketching when I am at the coast. I work with mainly precious metals, silver and gold, semi-precious stones and also with found materials from my coastal visits. I use a wide variety of silversmithing and jewellery techniques to create each piece, such as planishing, forging and reticulation.
I really enjoy the physicality of making, using my tools and figuring out how to construct each piece.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
In my spare time I try to visit the beach as much as I can. I miss it since moving to Belfast. I will take my camera as I really enjoy photography and my sketch book for ideas. I always come away with a few finds for future inspiration.
I also play guitar so I practise most evenings. Music is the other passion in my life, I find myself smithing to the rhythm whist I work. When catching up and relaxing with friends, a few of us will play guitar and have a great time singing along.
I love to travel so this year I am hoping to combine a few business trips with a bit of me time to explore the destinations.
Where can people currently see or buy your work?
My work is currently available through Space CRAFT Gallery, Belfast;
FlowCo Boutique, Flow Yoga Studios Belfast; Eddie J Doherty Goldsmith Holywood and The Happiness Trap, Enniskillen.
My work can also be purchased through my website www.shannonmcshane.co.uk
Where would you like to see your business in a year's time? Do you have any big plans for 2017?
This year I would like to expand my stockists locally and internationally, which Showcase will be a fantastic opportunity to do so. I have plans for new ranges that I would like to launch within the next year.
I received Arts Council funding in October last year towards my new project Turning the Tide. I will be creating new exhibition pieces with this project. One of the new ranges has also been inspired by it.
I’m very excited for what 2017 already has to offer.
To read more about the Craft NI Export Development Programme, click here.