The story of The Granite begins with the tale of two Megs: Meg Drinkwater and Megan Perry. With matching fair skin, light hair, and shy reciprocating giggles, you could sooner believe they were sisters than business partners. Hailing from opposite coasts, Megan from Seattle and Meg from New Hampshire, the two fortuitously met on the service side of a bar in Portland, Oregon.
Working together grew into a friendship built on their shared interest in craft and design. After working together for over two years, their talk behind the bar led to collaborations in their off hours. “We were both really interested in lighting and objects, so we started meeting to work on projects once a week. Megan knows how to fold paper in really interesting ways, and so at first we started making these origami light shades for pendant lights.” At the time, Meg had her own studio in downtown Portland where she had begun a business making jewelry with a friend from college. “It wasn’t supposed to be a business, actually. We just starting making these earrings and we thought it would be a good way to fund our studio practice, to continue being artists and not producers.”
For Meg, making had always been the plan. After studying jewelry and metalsmithing at the University of Oregon, the business of making jewelry with a friend and actively carrying on a collaborative process seemed a natural fit. But at the time, craft wasn’t paying anybody’s bills. “In 2008 the economy was so different. The shops we were getting into at the time were closing.” It was a hard time for makers, but also the beginnings of a handmade renaissance. “The difference between 2008 and 2015 is unbelievable. Tools like Squarespace and Wix weren’t nearly as ubiquitous and user-friendly, so there was the huge upfront cost to create a website. Everything has changed so much.”
Megan’s interest and expertise in their early projects came from a background in interior design, and a longtime love of matching objects to a space. “Interior design is something I’ve always been interested in, even when I was really young. I would always organize my room a certain way, so when I was asked what do you want to be when you grow up I would wonder, is there a job where I can just decorate? I wanted to mix that with making the products for a particular space.” Megan is also responsible for the handpainted patterns you’ll find meticulously applied to many of their products. “It started with the macaroni,” she tells us with a less-than-suppressed giggle referring to the bright elbow curves on some vases stashed on their studio display shelves. “It was meant to be playful, but we make it as clean as possible. We don’t use decals on anything we have now, but I want it to looks as precise as if we did.”