Hello, Spring, and welcome to this month's Designer Spotlight!
Today, Halcraft Collection is excited to announce Meredith Waterstraat as our featured spotlight designer for March 2019. You may have seen her captivating designs on Instagram. Her use of fun colors, textures, and metals gives her designs the ultimate boho vibe!
Meredith's cover banner is a collaborative piece of art with a photographer from Chicago, IL. He travels to India, photographs women in positions of power, and transfers the images onto canvas. Meredith applies the beaded ornamentation by hand with a needle and thread. The message conveyed through this gorgeous creation is "Women are queens, too! Do not take advantage or take them for granted."
When did you first start beading? Tell us about yourself.
I first fell in love with beads as a little girl. I received three beaded necklaces as party favors. I was able to cut the beads apart (these were not the contemporary Mardi Gras beads that we are familiar with today.) I redesigned the beads and created a whole new look. Since that day 35 years ago, I have been collecting beads from around the world. I’ve been to all 7 continents searching for inspiring beads and trinkets. I was also drawn to bead embroidery at an early age. I embroidered my Mary Janes as well as blue jeans and wore them in middle school. I took a break from beading to make a living in corporate American but still collected here and there. In 2018 the opportunity arose to become a full-time jewelry designer, and I jumped at the chance!
Tell us about your jewelry business.
I just started selling my jewelry in August of 2018. I run my business mostly through Instagram. Instagram is a free marketing platform (which fits within my budget.) It provides exposure as well as inspiration. I have found a vast beading community that I never knew existed! My experience with social media before Instagram was nonexistent, but I am learning fast! Visit me on Insta at meredithwaterstraat_art , Facebook at Meredith Ann Waterstraat, or my website www.Meredithwaterstraatartanddesign.com.
What are your favorite beading techniques and materials?
I have seen many experienced bead artists develop a particular technique or trademark after years of beading. In the short time that I have been creating, I have developed several methods that are quickly becoming my trademark. I love the detail in beading and ornamentation. One of my favorite techniques is to macramé with large beads. I also like adding small details with beaded dangles. I tend to bunch these little guys together everywhere I can. This gives the look of beads "spilling" off my jewelry. At the moment my favorite bead to "season" my jewelry with is a 6/0 matte seed bead that is yellow in color with mint green stripes. I find by adding these little details it completes the look. I am inspired by Iris Apfel's statement "More is more, less is a bore." I like my jewelry big and bold! If you’re going to wear jewelry, then wear it big and make a statement!
What techniques would you like to learn?
I would love to learn different bead weaving stitches with small seed beads. So much detail is required in weaving, and I have a feeling that being that precise is not in my nature. That being said, I would love to start my journey with a simple brick stitch or peyote stitch. Branching into silversmithing, lost wax process, and metal clay is also on my bucket list.
What are some of your favorite beads or components on the Halcraft Collection website?
I am currently obsessed with the howlite hearts and the Philippine white wood beads. I plan to create with these beads soon. I also love all the natural stones listed on www.HalcraftCollection.com website. I could spend hours just browsing all the beautiful beads on Halcraft Collection's website.
Where do you get your beading inspiration? What most inspires you?
Inspiration is a very complicated question (haha!) At this point I would say life inspires me. My wanderlust has taken me all over the world. I have lived in 3 countries and visited over 40. I stopped traveling abroad to have children and build a life with my husband. My kids are now old enough to make the journey, and we are headed to West Africa in March. This is thrilling as I gather so much inspiration from the African continent.
I also gather inspiration from everyday people and artists that use colors and go big with their designs. I admire all artisans - jewelry, wall art, sculpture, modern design and appreciate the classics. I enjoy and are drawn to artists who are multi-faceted in their work. I love the activity, stimulation, and admire the artist that can tangibly capture that in their creations.
What jewelry trends are you excited to incorporate into your beadwork?
Not sure if it is a trend, but I have been researching waist beads. I am fascinated with the significance of this jewelry in the African world. These beads can be worn around the waist for many reasons... healing, cleansing, ornamentation, and even weight loss. I found weight loss the most interesting. You wear the beads around your waist to measure if you have eaten enough food!
If you had room for only two tools in your bead kit, what would they be?
The two tools that I could not live without are my chain-nose and needle-nose pliers. I consider my pliers to be my "third hand." I use them to form my adornments and create my designs. Needle-nose pliers are like a paintbrush to me. I can paint my "canvas" by creating dangles. This can be a slow process, but I assure you the texture this detail adds is well worth it.
Meredith grew up in a Chicago suburb with two siblings.
She has two full-time jobs - Jewelry designer (which began in August of 2018) and she is the owner of property management company.
Other than being creative, she loves to workout 5 times a week and eat non-processed foods (with the exception of Skittles and chocolate!) Being healthly is in her blood! She was a consultant for 15 years in healthcare finance industry and has earned an MBA.
Every Sunday night her entire family gathers at her parent's house for dinner. She loves spending time with her extended family.
She is married to a wonderful husband and father. They love to travel the world with their children.
Are you interested in being in our Designer Spotlight?
Join our Beaded Jewelry Facebook group today and tag us in your projects on Instagram with @halcraftcollectionbeads, #Halcraftcollection #beadgallery #halcraftprettypalette #prettypalette!
We choose a new designer to spotlight each month and would love to celebrate you!
Denise Yezbak Moore is a self-taught artisan. She is a senior jewelry designer for Halcraft Collection and loves to create jewelry with bohemian flair. Denise resides in Orange County, California, and enjoys hearing from fellow beaders worldwide. Be sure to follow her on Instagram @deniseyezbakmoore