1canoe2 operates out of an old barn in rural Missouri, on the farm where Carrie Shyrock grew up. Though she’s lived and traveled elsewhere, it’s the landscape she grew up in that provides inspiration for the designs she creates for the company she started with friend Beth Snyder.
“I’ve traveled and lived a lot of different places and now I realize there’s something so beautiful about this place,” she says. “I’m obsessed with the sky—seeing the clouds change and the storms roll in—and with the wildflowers that grow on the roadsides in summertime.”
That love of nature right outside her window will be shared with fabric lovers in October, when 1canoe2’s first line of Moda fabrics, Tucker Prairie, hits the stores. Beth is especially excited by the opportunity to create fabric. “I majored in graphic design and fiber in college, so fabric design is something I’ve always wanted to do,” she says.
Beth and Carrie went to high school together and college too—at the University of Missouri in Columbia—and both studied and enjoyed art. After college, Beth was working as a graphic designer and living in Nashville when her husband-to-be bought her a small letterpress on Ebay so she could print her wedding invitations. “I just love touching ink, changing colors, and getting dirty,” says Beth. Carrie contributed some drawings to the process and after they wedding they continued to work together long distance.
Beth moved back to Missouri in 2008 and she and Carrie opened an Etsy shop, selling wooden recipe boxes made by Beth’s father, filled with the recipe cards they’d designed. Since they’d enjoyed canoe trips together on Missouri’s clear, spring-fed rivers, they decided to name their shop 1canoe2, which Beth says is shorthand for one canoe, two girls. “But I didn’t really think it through, because I’m always having to tell people ‘It’s the number one, the word canoe, and the number two,’” she says with a laugh.
Today, 1canoe2 employs between 11 and 15 people. Carrie’s sister-in-law Karen Shyrock has joined as a partner. “It’s a talented, hard-working team and I’m so proud of how they treat one another and how they help 1canoe2 do our best,” says Beth. The company works with manufacturers to produce greeting cards, calendars, art prints, notebooks, glassware, tea towels and more, which they ship themselves to shops large and small. (They still print some of their designs via letterpress, although a much bigger press than the one they started with.)
Each 1canoe2 piece is adorned with the fresh designs that are typically based on Carrie’s paintings. “Carrie comes up with brilliant ideas and color palettes no one else would ever think of,” says Beth, who then imports them into her computer. The two sit side-by-side to make design choices. “My role is to do design and to run the business and I’m really enjoying that. We have total artistic control and we think having our hands on every product is what makes them special.” She mentions that working with Moda has been a perfect fit in that way. “They’ve let us do exactly what we wanted and have been great to work with.”
Carrie and Beth are preparing for Quilt Market: Beth’s mom, aunts, and family friends pitched in to make samples this week, and 1canoe2 employees did the same. In the photo of staff in the loft, it’s easy to see the barn has changed significantly since the days when Carrie’s great-grandfather raised mules and when her dad stored lumber here. Concrete’s replaced dirt floors and insulation keeps it warm in winter. “It’s a bright, open space that’s perfect for what we’re doing now,” says Carrie.
Outside the barn Carrie’s family still grows corn and soybeans in the wide open fields that inspire 1canoe2. Inside, 1canoe2 raises an appreciation for color and fresh, vibrant design. “We feel so lucky we get to do this work,” says Beth.