Charles and Miranda

Charles and Miranda first met in art school in England in 1979. After college they each set out in different directions to be trained in the workshops of some of the world's most renowned craftspeople. This preparation provided the skills and attention to detail that has strengthened their understanding that the care of making objects by hand gives life to their work.

After several years of training and independent work, Miranda and Charles happened to meet again in Vermont. They married and set up individual workshops which allowed them to continue refining their crafts.

Over time, it became more and more obvious that their shared philosophy about the importance of handwork should lend itself to a joint effort producing handmade objects for the home. Today, Charles Shackleton Furniture and Miranda Thomas Pottery, the workshops that make up ShackletonThomas, consist of a group of personally trained individuals who share their philosophy.

A DESIGN HERITAGE

Both of Miranda’s parents are British, and a talent for design runs in the family. Miranda’s grandfather is the famous architect Arthur Joseph Davis, who at a young age designed The Ritz Hotel in London, from the exterior down to the doorknobs, the interiors of legendary ocean liners including The Aquitania and The Queen Mary, and the Royal Automobile Club at No. 1 Aldwich.

In 1981, Charles Shackleton immigrated to the United States from Ireland with a mission to create a small company designing functional objects for the home. These inanimate objects not only emphasized the functional, but more importantly emphasized the strength and quality of the human spirit. In a world where technology has all but taken over, Charles felt that there would be increasing demand for objects that people could place in their home that had “Soul” or a meaning beyond just the visual.

Shackleton firmly believes that the intrinsic value of the furniture lies in the fact that each piece is made from start to finish by one individual and because each piece involves a huge contribution of the imperfect but highly skilled human hand. Despite the reliance on each person’s individuality, the company works as one coherent team, to design, make, and market this very unusual but very beautiful functional art for the home. While other stifling factories churn out identical but somewhat lifeless objects at half the price, ShackletonThomas relies on the beauty and strength of the human spirit to create objects that are designed to inspire and become statements of their owner's high aspirations.

About Miranda

Miranda Thomas is a renowned potter based in Vermont, born in New York but raised in Italy, Australia, and England. Introduced to pottery at the age of 16, she has since apprenticed and worked with some of the world’s most notable potters, including Michael Cardew CBE, with whom she received her most significant training, as well as Alan Caiger-Smith. Her pottery is collected in hundreds of homes, including those of celebrities and dignitaries. She has designed diplomatic gifts for President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, UN Secretary Generals Ban Ki Moon and Kofi Annan, and the Clinton Administration, including former President Bill Clinton's gift to Pope John Paul II, as well as pieces for The United Nations Association, The Loomba Trust, and London's Ritz Hotel. She is a visiting ceramics teacher at Harvard University.

Thomas’s designs draw from the English countryside, as well as using symbolism and patterns from ancient Japanese, Middle Eastern, and Aboriginal designs, among other international influences. Thomas is a direct descendant of famed architect Andrew J. Davis, the interior designer for London’s Ritz Hotel, as well as ocean liners such as The Queen Mary.

Thomas received a B.A. in Ceramics from the West Surrey College of Art & Design in Farnham, England. She began her career in the United States designing Simon Pearce’s first pottery lines. She is married to furniture maker Charles Shackleton, with whom she owns ShackletonThomas. They share a passion for creating high-quality, beautiful objects with simple, everyday uses, and for using handmade techniques to instill their pieces with character, soul, and life.

About Charles

Charles Shackleton is a renowned Vermont furniture maker and designer who was born and grew up in Dublin, Ireland. Trained in the traditional styles of handmade furniture making, Charles has been recognized by the Vermont Senate as Vermont Woodworker of the Year, is one of the founding members of the Guild of Vermont Furniture Makers, serves as a judge for the National Crafts Competition in Ireland as part of the Royal Dublin Society, has written multiple articles for Fine Woodworking Magazine, and has designed for thousands of private individuals, including celebrities and dignitaries. He is also the founder of The Naked Table Project, which has been featured in The Boston Globe, Business Week, and The Irish Times, among others.

Shackleton is heavily influenced by his upbringing in Ireland, from his own Georgian home in Dublin to the cottages in the rolling hills in the West. He brings to his work a love for the natural world, given to him by his father, David Shackleton, one of Ireland’s most famous gardeners. He is also a relative of Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Shackleton was trained in hand crafts at the West Surrey School of Art and Design in Surrey, England. He began his career designing furniture for Simon Pearce, with whom he originally moved to the United States. He is married to well-known potter Miranda Thomas, with whom he owns ShackletonThomas. The two artists share a passion for beautiful, useful objects that have character and life given to them by the human hand.