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|Years active||1970s to Present|
|Employer||Outta Thin Air Studio|
|Known for||Care Bears, Strawberry Shortcake and Get-Along-Gang|
Early life and education
Muriel Norris Fahrion was born in Cleveland Ohio, grew up and went to school in Rocky River, Lakewood and Cleveland, Ohio. She was one of 7 children of John H. Norris and Catherine (Wunderle) Norris. She began drawing at the age of 4 and attended free classes at the Cleveland Museum of Art during grammar and high school. After attending Lourdes Academy in Cleveland, she earned a scholarship to Cooper School of Art in Cleveland, OH graduating with a major in illustration.
Immediately following art school, Fahrion was hired by American Greetings as a greeting card designer. She worked in Juvenile & Humorous Planning in creative division where she created cute, whimsical and humorous illustrations to tie in with verses.
In 1977, while Fahrion worked in her department, she was asked to come up with a rag doll character with strawberry and daisy theme in colors of pink and green for a greeting card series. It was then Fahrion created the original graphic and color depiction for Strawberry Shortcake, her cat Custard along with Blueberry Muffin and Huckleberry Pie. The line was determined to be a licensing property after a presentation given to Bernie Loomis of General Mills. Moving to TCFC (Those Characters From Cleveland) in 1978 Fahrion continued on the Shortcake line eventually depicting 32 characters in the line. Her sister, Susan Trentel, also of Cleveland, crafted the first Strawberry Shortcake doll based on the Fahrion's original greeting card design. The line was launched in the winter of 1979 and 1980. This design made a big impact, and in two years, Strawberry Shortcake went from 12 card series to an entire selection of books, clothing, dolls, toy accessories, and home decor. The Shortcake group joined Herself the Elf, Holly Hobbie and Ziggy forming the new toy and licensing division "Those Characters from Cleveland" (TCFC), under American Greetings banner but located in separate building. TCFC became a well known think tank for toys and licensing. While there Fahrion also worked on drawings and ideas for numerous licensing items.
While working for Those Characters From Cleveland, Fahrion also participated with other toy design teams which included artists, prototypist and writers. She depicted the first concept art for characters in the of The Get Along Gang and Care Bears once they were tagged as licensable both properties moved to other design teams. Like the first Strawberry Shortcake doll, many of these were first prototyped by her sister Susan Trentel who began working at TCFC. Strawberry Shortcake, Care Bears and Get-Along-Gang were all made into animations.
American Greetings' toy division eventually was reduced in size and moved back to the corporate headquarters. Fahrion then moved and became senior art director for Enesco in Chicago. After working a few years at Enesco, Fahrion moved to Oklahoma 1995 in the position of Creative Vice President at United Design in Noble, Oklahoma, where she headed up sculptors and paint designers she worked for United Design for seven years.
Moving to the small town of Medicine Park, Oklahoma She and her husband, Michael Fahrion, ran a freelance studio Big Rock Works until they both retired. Her husband developed cancer and was in remission but eventually he developed disabling medical problems and they moved to Tulsa, Oklahoma. After her husband passed in 2018 Fahrion relaunched her career under Outta Thin Air Studio in 2019 where she continues to create new characters under her own business. Fahrion is very active in the Tulsa art community belonging to Whiteside Portrait Artists, Rainbowland Art Studio Figure Drawing and Inkslingers of Tulsa. She travels and does talks, workshops and demos.