Shannon Messina of North Fork Creations has had a busy holiday season on the East End. She has attended several craft shows in the area, including Holidays at the Hangar in East Hampton, and her holiday ornaments and artwork have added some cheer to homes across Long Island!
With everything from ornaments to glassware to canvas painting, North Fork Creations is always working on something new, never running out of inspiration from the local scene.
Shannon spoke about what North Fork Creations is all about, her start as an artist, and how the East End has had a huge impact on her creativity.
What is the North Fork Creations brand all about?
S: Our tag line at North Fork Creations is “Inspired by the beauty that surrounds us.” We live in this amazingly unique area, on this small stretch of land, and are surrounded by such beauty. No matter where you look there’s something to be inspired by, from the beautiful country landscapes to the gorgeous beaches and seascapes, not to mention the sealife. I often try to incorporate things that remind me of Long Island, my home. I love the country and coastal feel alike.
What are some of the quintessential creations that make up the brand and which are your favorites to create?
S: I love helping people bring their vision to life. I love when someone comes to me with an idea, and I help them get what’s in their head into a finished piece that they can hold in their hands.
I hand-paint glassware, and have painted glasses to match dishes, or recreated a glass to match a set where one or more has broken and have also done custom items by matching a theme or color scheme for weddings, baby showers, christenings, and so on.
Since it’s currently holiday time, some of my favorite items to create lately are country red barns and tractor ornaments, because they remind me of growing up out here and are such visual pieces from our everyday lives. My favorite ornament is a Long Island ornament that I make. My kids love pointing out where we live on it. I also love our Santa sleigh with reindeer wood garland, it reminds me of my childhood.
How do the holidays impact your creations?
S: They open up a whole new canvas to create with! During the holidays I make garlands, ornaments, candy dishes, and more that I don’t make during the rest of the year. I love Christmas and am always adding new ornament designs into our offerings.
How did you get started with your business and when did you decide to start it?
S: I started painting when my mother-in-law decided to sign her and I up for paint lessons in 2002. At the time she was my boyfriend’s mom and we always got along well so she thought it would make a great birthday present that would be something we could do together. Shortly after that, her son and I got engaged, and when we got married in 2004, I hand painted over 300 wine glasses for our favors. It kind of took off after that so we created a business partnership and started doing craft fairs.
She passed away five years ago, and I found that I had no desire to paint without her. It took over a year, but eventually my creative side started to spark again. At that time, I started North Fork Creations, but mainly painted wood signs, then eventually started to do DIY parties at some local wineries on the North Fork.
When the pandemic started, I stopped doing the DIY events and purchased a laser, and since then most of my items have been laser creations, though I still paint glassware as well.
How much does the East End of Long Island influence your art? Do you ever create pieces with a specific location in mind?
S: I love coastal themed items and the East End definitely influences my art. I currently have some designs in the works for next year that are based on specific locations on both the North and South Forks.
What else do you want people to know about North Fork Creations?
S: North Fork Creations is all about being local! I grew up on the North Fork, graduated from Mattituck High School, then went to college in Southampton. Then I got a job in downtown Manhattan, worked there for over seven years, during which was when September 11th and the blackout both occurred. I then got married and moved back out to Mattituck, where we now raise our kids.
I currently homeschool my twins and work out of my home, and I wouldn’t trade a second of it! I love showing my boys the different beaches and nature trails out here and teaching them about local wildlife and history.
I’m all about community over competition, and love helping other local businesses! I’ve done custom ornaments with logos for local businesses as well as some of the tree farms out here and have been in touch with other local businesses to collaborate on some projects and pop ups after the holidays.
Do you have any advice or wisdom for other artists who might be thinking about starting a small business?
S: My advice for anyone thinking of starting a small business would be to go for it. If you had told me twenty years ago while I was sitting at my corporate job in Downtown Manhattan that this was where I would be, I would’ve laughed and said no way! But I wouldn’t trade it, as I love my business and my customers, and can’t imagine my life being any different. I love living on the East End. I find it so amazing that I can drive a short distance to the ocean to look for whales, seals, and other sea life, and often tell my boys how blessed we are to live where we do. There’s something so special about small town living and really knowing your neighbor and community.
To learn more about North Fork Creations, you can visit them online at https://northforkcreations.com.