The Story

Text that reads, "the beginning of meandrous".

A woman with medium length red hair and pale skin stands in profile. She's wearing a coiled wire ear wrap that's green in color with a few small leaves and a dusty lavender flower.
The first official “Meandrous” ear wrap on my first customer!

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!

 

Meander stands next to an older gentleman with a bushy beard selling clay dragons from a cigarette style tray. Meander also holds a tray. They have on colorful layered clothing and their tray is filled with ear wraps for sale.
Making friends at an SCA event circa 2005.

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.

 

Text that reads, "meandrous online".

A collection of paper roses in different sizes and petal styles in pinks, yellows, oranges, and purples. They're arranged in the shape of a heart.
One of my first batches of hand painted flowers.

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!

 

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Watch a video demonstrating construction, fitting, and durability of Meandrous ear wraps here!

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Text that reads, "miniatures and diorama".

A brass disc about the size of a quarter with scalloped edges is in the foreground. On the disk is an arrangement of preserved moss and incense resin stones. The focal point is a tiny twig and quartz crystal point. Fingers from a pale-skinned hand hold a tiny paper rose to the stick, in the process of looking for a good way to arrange the flower.
My first diorama necklace, circa 2014.

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!

 

 

A close shot of various corals made of polymer clay. The corals are brightly colored- pink, red orange, green, turquoise, yellow- and they're arranged on rocks and contain fine detail. A measuring ruler nearby shows their scale of approximately 1 cm long
The corals embedded in resin water in the gifted beach diorama.

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.

Text that reads, "meandrous relaunch".

A downward shot of a dark wood table. The focus is on a drawing pad which is covered in different diorama jewelry designs. Colored pencils and jewelry components are strewn about the work area.
New designs, coming late Spring 2018!

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.

 

Three pictures of a diorama necklace. The main picture shows the scene uncovered-- a mound of green flocking is accented with stones and paper leaves. From the rear of the scene comes a curled brown stick that's accented with more paper leaves and a slightly iridescent monarch butterfly whose antennae are made from single strands of false eyelashes and the wings from painted paper. The other photos show the scene being covered by a glass dome, and a pale-skinned hand holding the covered dome with necklace hardware attached and ready to wear.
A monarch butterfly pendant- the body is whittled wood, wings of painted paper, and single false eyelashes as antennae.

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, 2018and 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.

 

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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 meandrousart@gmail.com or share your thoughts and comments on the Meandrous blog.

Text that functions as a signature and reads, "sincerely, meander".

 

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