Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx with Shanna Murray

Shanna Murray is a multi-talented artist and designer. Whether she is painting, sewing, screenprinting, doing embroidery or creating is some other way, Shanna is using her charmingly simple aesthetic to make the loveliest things.  You may remember that I featured Shanna Murray, along with her fellow Second Storie artists, last month when I highlighted their second storie } indie market, which is to be held November 29th & 30th.  She also got a mention in my interview with Rachael Hetzel of Pistachio Press…the talented pair worked on a letterpress collaboration.

Shanna sure is one busy maker of things….she is working on a few more collaborations (read about them in my interview below), planning the second storie } indie market and working on her own goods.  Her latest collection features embroidered and screenprinted linen pillows, painted wooden plaques, stuffed bears, adorable linen smocks for children, letterpress and more. You can see more of her work in her Etsy shop, on her website, at flickr and on her blog.

Of course, you can learn more about Shanna and her work in my Wednesday Indie Artist Fixx interview with her. 😉


1. What’s the name of your business, what do you create and sell and how did you get your start?

My business is called Shanna Murray Handmade (two trees over at Etsy). I make a little bit of everything. I guess it depends on what best suits what I’m wanting to say. I paint little wooden plaques, make linen pillows and smocks, wool felt bears and pillows, a little bit of letterpress, lots of different things!

I’ve been working consistently on my line for 2 1/2 years now, ever since the last outing I went on with my mother before she died. She took me to a fabric store and bought me some very special yardage. Do something with it, she told me. How could I not? I am so grateful for those words. I got my start on Etsy back in 2006, selling smocks. I didn’t expect for them to sell. But they did, and everything just sort of took off from there!

2. What’s better…all the money you could want or all the free time you need?

Right now, I’d have to say the free time sounds really great. Much needed. But all in all, I think I’d choose neither, I’m hopeful I’ll someday find the right balance between the two!


3. What are your inspirations in your art and in life?

Family and relationships are tremendous inspirations for me, that spills over into my work a great deal, I think. In life, though it’s not really separate from art (it all just sort of flows together) what inspires me are people with big ideas and big hearts, great music, dark cloudy days, falling leaves, and holding hands. My sweetheart, C, and my dear friendRachael are both inspiring to me for their hard work, creativity and dedication to their work. And my friends Dan and Elin inspire me to continue to strive for a quiet and simple life that is full of purpose, creativity, kindness, and love.


4. Is your home messy or organized? Which one do you think is ideal and why?

My home is organized most of the time. In the past, when I was winding up an order or getting ready for a show, chaos would follow around the house. Now, with two separate places to work I’m hoping that won’t happen. Although my gathering room is being pinched in by giant boxes of screens and paper at the moment! For me organized is ideal. Before beginning work each day I need to make sure most everything is tidy in order to concentrate. Sad, but true.

5. What three things can’t you live without?

My Ollie , C and tea!


6. What blogs and mags do you read and what shops do you shop at?

Blogs: so many! A few favorites are: 2 or 3 things, heather smith jones, abby try again, orangette, the glass doorknob and the habit of being.
mags: I don’t often have time to sit and read magazines, but I love Selvedge, and always make sure to read Molly’s column in Bon Appetite!
shops: I dreamily window shop in Toast catalog! The last purchase I made was a beautiful little painting by Heather  Smith Jones from her etsy shop.

7. Do you like to cook? If so, what’s your favorite recipe?

I love to cook! I do try to cook at least 3 nights a week even if it’s something simple. Right now I’m really enjoying Molly’s basic red sauce. It’s delicious and requires next to no effort! I really relish the days that I have a few hours to fiddle around in the kitchen. My favorite recipe is one I have for rice pudding. True love!


8. What does indie mean to you? You can give a literal definition, choose to be a little esoteric or a combination of both.

To me, indie means something is made with heart and not mass produced.

9. What are you reading, watching and listening to?

Reading: right now mostly political blogs and coverage, and the side bar comments of hannah huffman’s photos.

Watching: news, Jane Austen movies, Gossip Girl.
Listening: Andrew Bird. I saw him in concert for the second time recently. He’s genius.


10. What’s one thing you’ve learned as an adult that you wish you knew when you were a kid?

That my mother was doing the very best she could, even when it didn’t seem like it.

11. What’s new? Any new plans or products that you want to share?

I have a collaboration about to launch with Betsy Dunlap that I’m super excited about! This project is very dear to me. What started as an idea has turned into a friendship and a true collaboration. We’ll be launching our 2009 calendar, a special print, and a few other treats on November 1st!

I am also busy working on an exclusive line for a brand new online shop set to launch in just a few weeks. It’s still a secret! The shop’s concept is brilliant, and so inspiring. I can’t wait for it to launch!

Last but by no means least, I am busy preparing for the 2008 second storie} indie market, a craft fair I run with four dear friends, here in Rochester. We’re in our last days of taking applications (deadline is October 27th). The event will be held on November 29th and 30th in hopes that we might encourage those bitten by the after Thanksgiving shopping bug to support local artists and buy handmade for the holidays!





  1. Glad you enjoyed my interview and Shanna’s work.

    FYI, Shanna is putting together an Indie City Guide for Rochester, NY.

  2. Wow! What a lovely interview! 🙂 I love her list of inspirations, amoung..well, everything! That last letterpress card also has me swooning. Thanks for sharing her!

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