Hi, so this is very nice. I have been amazingly fortunate on Facebook to meet some amazing artists, crafters, bloggers, fashion savi, wedding happy, travel loving, foodies. I have been embraced by this community of people from all over and one of the most supportive new friends I have made is my friend Meredith at Wild Woman Beads. You can find Meredith’s jewelry page on Facebook and her Wild Woman Beads shop on Etsy. Go like her shop immediately, and drop by her Facebook site, like it and say hello. Meredith has been kind enough to share a few photos of her beautiful bead work, and to answer some questions about who she is and what she does.
Meredith, of Wild Woman Beads, says it must have been over a dozen years ago that she began amassing a collection of beautifuol lampwork beads by buying a few small sets at a time until she had a shelf full of these gorgeous beads. In 2006, she had an unexpected loss, and in her grief, she reached for something beautiful that brought her joy. She found it in her shelf of pretty beads. While working with her beautiful collection, she found some peace. It became a meditation.
In time, joy and happiness returned to her life and spirit while she worked with her beads. She knew working with beautiful objects was a gift, and she did not take that gift lightly. She took a jewelry making course with her daughter during this time period, and soon became skillful in design and building beautiful wearable art from lampwork beads. Meredith says this, about her designing, “The beads “sang” to me, told me how to design them or when I’d gone wrong with a design. I just learned to listen.” She found teachers along the way. Her jewelry design was just a nice sidebar in her life till it began selling off her dining room table. Two years later, she opened her Etsy shop.
Meredith loves the way creating and designing takes her mind off everything else, and she is just one with the art that she creates. Some people run to shake their troubles off, some people take literal vacations…. Meredith created wearable art. It shifts her mood, and brings her back to herself.
My supportive friend, the owner and creative mind behind Wild Woman Beads, is a “sort of” retired nurse-counselor originally from Maine, presently located in warm sunny Florida. She has run a private practice counseling people with life-changing illness for nearly thirty years. Her present work is with a few clients, and teaches a bit, but she believes it is time for a change of pace.
It must be difficult to spend each day trying to discuss things with people who may be dying or putting their lives back together, often not in control of their bodies, and with major physical changes. I know about that too well. I can only imagine how different things might have been had I had a dedicated counselor like Meredith after the car accident that tried to take my legs away from me by shattering my pelvis when I was only 5. I suppose for me, reading about the work Meredith does, I have even more of a sense of awe for her as an artist and just as a person. Meredith devotes herself to making women and girls feel beautiful. I can understand the connection to jewelry here.
Often, when people go through a trauma that leaves them altered for life, they literally wear the scars on their bodies. It changes how they see themselves. Perhaps this is where Meredith’s career of care giving and her bead work connects. In both cases, she is helping to make people feel beautiful again.
Meredith lives close to the natural world. She likes to watch the birds passing over head, enjoys the gardens in bloom, and cares for her beloved dog companion. She especially enjoys the cycle of life and death in nature. Meredith is also a grandmother and the mother of several grown children, all of whom she loves dearly.
When I asked Meredith about the influential people in her life, she responded, “I have an amazing community of wise women and men in my life, very close friends both here in Sarasota and home in Maine. We stay connected, no matter what, and they inspire me daily. They make me laugh, stay with me when I weep, rejoice with me and grieve with me. I also made it a spiritual practice, when I turned 60 six years ago, to study the elders currently living on the planet (The Dalai Lama, Pema Chodron, Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall and many others) so that I could count on myself to be a wise elder when it was my turn to serve the family of earth. I’m influenced and inspired by many of them to be a loving, compassionate presence every day, wherever I am.”
I too harbor a deep love of great teachers like the Dalai Lama, and an old friend who passed on some years ago. His name was Zen Master Seung Sahn; he used to always tell me,”whole world is a single flower.” It has been lovely to connect to Meredith who also appreciates spiritual wisdom as much as I do.
If you talk to the owner of Wild Woman Beads about starting out on a creative path, she will tell you what others told her some years back when she was just beginning to walk the path of creative living. “Just do it.” she says, reminding me for a moment of my friend Seung Sahn again, who always told me, “Only go straight.” Meredith tells me, “Find something you love so much you can’t live without it. Do as much of that as you can. Gradually turn your life upside down so you’re doing less of the things you don’t love, and more of the things you do. Be brave. Be very brave. Take leaps of faith, and just keep on leaping.”
Meredith says, her greatest challenge running Wild Woman Beads, is fear, which is a common challenge for creative people. They fear the unkown as there is no way to see around the river bend, or whether we’ll be able to support ourselves on creativity alone. When Meredith faces such fear she says she starts to set limits for herself. The fear, can make the world smaller than it has to be. Meredith tells me, she has trouble trusting herself to say “Yes!” when it is so easy to say “No!” to life instead. She smiles and lets me know, though, that things have a way of working out, “I’ve almost always succeeded in my endeavors, although success usually isn’t immediate. I’ve had many wonderful people to work with,“
Meredith has written several inspirational books to help other people with different aspects of life. She is so happy that now she gets to create beauty every day. “It’s been a rich life.”
I believe, one of the reasons Meredith’s life is so rich is that she has such a spiritual center. “My creative life provides many opportunities for me to see where I still have room to grow, to expand my skills, to have fun, to enjoy life to the fullest, and to be the best me I can be. It’s as if my creative life is my dharma, my spiritual work or path, and all I have to do is follow it where it wants me to go. I would also say my spiritual life feeds my creative life in that I have a rich appreciation of the beauty in everything. I almost can’t separate them.”
In the future, Meredith says her hopes and dreams look something like this, “I see myself just being a light wherever I am. Just serving, wherever I am. I’d really love it if that included making jewelry for the rest of my life but I’d also want it to include being with my children and grandchildren, watching them grow into beautiful little individuals, and making gardens wherever I am, as well as continuing to work with my clients on a smaller scale than I did for many years. I might write another book. I’ll just keep on singin’ my song and leaving my little trail of beauty”
Thank you Meredith for being a village lamp post for us here at Cafe Primrose. Your support, has been a beacon in dark times and we are so glad to have the opportunity to share about your work on our blog.