In December of 2004, I wanted to give a present to a friend who was a fan of ‘fairy things’ and so twisted up my first ear wrap. I used faux ‘satin’ corsage leaves and flowers from my local craft store and came up with a cute handmade gift. It was one of my first times making a “DIY” present (or anything, DIY really) and I quickly got hooked on making all kinds of wire-wrapped things. I made bracelets, rings, hair coils, and even things like wire wrapped picture frames, mirrors, candle sconces–and once–even an incense burner!
With the encouragement of friends and family, who felt I may have had a good idea on my hands, I registered for a business license and chose the name “Meandrous” as a play on my name, Meander, and the feel of the wandering vines and tendrils I wanted to capture with my art jewelry.
The internet was a different place for small retailers in the early 2000s, so I decided to take my designs to local brick and mortar stores I thought might be interested. Because of the particular vibe of my jewelry, I quickly found local metaphysical and nature spirituality shops who were interested selling my ear wraps and hair clips. I also started my first ‘store’ as a roving merchant at local Renaissance and SCA events where I fell in love with interacting with people face-to-face and seeing them get excited about discovering a new and exciting way to wear ear jewelry or flowers in their hair.
The experience was short lived, however, as I began a series of moves to different states in the U.S., which made it harder for me to participate in craft shows or keep up with local retailers. I opened an eBay account and sold ear wraps there until 2006, when I started a Meandrous shop on a relatively new website (now a household name,) Etsy. This allowed me to sell my artwork no matter where I was living.
Not long into my experience on Etsy, I realized that anybody could easily glue a pretty flower onto a wire and make a perfectly nice hair clip, so it was important to me to set my work apart from the beginning by focusing on quality details and finishing on one-of-a-kind pieces that were as much ‘art’ as ‘accessory’. I also started thinking about how I could make items that were more sustainable and might be less burdensome on the environment than many of the commercially available petroleum-based artificial flowers I saw on the market. I started ordering super strong mulberry paper flowers and leaves direct from a family run company overseas and doing the customizing and painting myself so I could cut down on carbon footprint in shipping, control how more of the labor for my components was happening, and focus on materials that were gentler on the planet.
With my new and unique components, I would continue to hone my technical skills and design aesthetic making and selling wire art ear wraps, hair clips and crowns, brooches, necklaces, and other personal and home accessories over the next 12 years!
Watch a video demonstrating construction, fitting, and durability of Meandrous ear wraps here!
Things changed for me again around 2014, but in a totally unexpected way. I became disabled due to a chronic illness and needed to return to school to get into a new line of work that would be better suited to my new lifestyle. But rather than retiring from Meandrous, I decided to double down and turn my hobby business into my main source of income to make ends meet while working on my education. However, after more than a decade mastering my style of wire art, I was ready to mix things up a bit!
I had started getting interested in things like terrariums and dollhouse miniatures, which led to rediscovering my childhood love of dioramas and I decided to try my hand at one. My goal was to make a beach diorama for my mom (who had loved to come visit me during the five years I lived in Honolulu, and been pretty bummed when moved back to Washington and took away her free vacation rental!) I began watching Terrain Wench videos to learn about terrain- and diorama-making techniques and completed my gift after a couple of first attempts.
Much like with wire work, I realised what I’d made for one person might be something others would want to own as well— but unlike before when I’d been in better health, I would need to find a way to sell my creations without turning to the physically taxing demands of the craft show circuit, fairs, or cons. A great solution for me was to work with local boutiques and galleries which allowed me to sell my wire art pieces as well as more substantial and complex diorama works to interested parties in a way that was sustainable for my health needs while also allowing me the time I needed to work on my degree. However, this also meant that over the next few years my reach narrowed and Meandrous designs were not typically available outside of my state.
Spring 2018, I made the decision to relaunch Meandrous’s online presence in response to requests from out folks outside of my region who had seen my work displayed online wanted to be able to own a piece of it, as well as from folks who love to collect tiny things, but didn’t necessarily looking to invest in one of my more intricate boutique or gallery pieces.
While I believe that art is valuable to society and artists deserve to be paid fair wages for their work, I also believe that art needs to be as accessible as possible to everyone who wants it. For that reason, it’s my goal with this online-only collection to present jewelry that still has the high-detail look my boutique designs, while focusing on more easily reproducible handmade and pre-fab features that allow me to offer middle-range prices for casual shoppers. The more limited scope of the online selection is manageable enough for me to offer my miniature diorama works to folks worldwide, while still allowing me me the time I need to focus on education and health (which sounds like a win-win to me!)
These web-only jewelry designs, a limited selection of one-of-a-kind diorama artwork for collectors, and a selection of my original wire art pieces like ear wraps and hair accessories will be launched May, 2018, and will be available for ease of shopping on Etsy! It’s my hope that I’ll be able to reach all new miniatures lovers with my diorama art and jewelry and show folks that dioramas aren’t all dusty old relics in the back rooms of museums or elementary school projects that end up trashed after the grade comes in. It’s my believe that dioramas can be adorable, quirky–and yes, even kind of posh–pieces of art that fit perfectly into modern aesthetics and I hope my creations will convince you as well.
That brings us up to date on the story of Meandrous! Thank you for learning about how Meandrous came to be! If you’d like to get in touch with comments or inquiries, you can reach Meander at email@example.com or share your thoughts and comments on the Meandrous blog.