As always, the art I find on Etsy never ceases to amaze me! This time the beautifully detailed intricacy of Meredith's beadwork caught my eye, and I new I had to do an interview with this artist!
It seems to me that Meredith is a special person with a special talent. Once you read the interview, you'll think so too!
~Interview with Meredith Dada~
Tell us a bit about yourself and your family!
My name is Meredith Dada, and I am a fourth generation artist/crafter. I was lucky enough to have been born into a creative family. Art for us is just a part of life. I was encouraged from the start to create. My mother has been a successful artist and potter for the past 30 something years. My father always had photography as a hobby, but in his retirement, his work has really evolved. My Grandmother was a painter and a crafter. It was her love of beads that inspired me to use beads as a medium in my artwork.
I am a stay at home mom with a two-year-old little boy. He keeps me very busy, but I find time to create when I can. Once he goes down for his nap, I bead like a crazy woman. It is not unusual to see me in my little studio after everyone has gone to bed, working past midnight. My husband built me a studio space in our garage, he says he did it to be supportive…I think he just wanted all my artsy crafty stuff out of the house!
Tell us about your art and what you make.
I love to paint, sculpt, and mosaic. I found a way to combine all of my loves into one craft. I usually draw out an idea, sculpt or build it, then paint my design. The beading process is another form of mosaic to me, just on a smaller scale. I make little birds in nests, decorative dishes and trays, wall hangings, plant ornaments, and little bowls. Everything I make is covered in tiny glass seed beads, rhinestones, crystals, or charms.
When did you start creating, and why?
I have bee creating for as long as I can remember. I was playing with clay as a toddler watching my mom teach pottery classes. My Grandma also taught china painting, and I would sit in her studio as a little girl and paint with her students. I studied in high school and collage, working with every medium I could get my hands on. I always created for fun and as a hobby, while maintaining a “real job”.
When I started dating my husband, he encouraged me to start taking my art more seriously. At the time I was making my own ceramic tile, breaking it, and making mosaic tables, mirrors, and birdhouses. With my husband’s support I started to show my work in galleries. The first time I saw my work in a gallery window, I was hooked. When I told my Grandma I sold my first piece she said “Of course, you had no choice, this is in your blood!”. My Grandma loved to work with beads. For my wedding we made countless beaded flowers for the center- pieces and my bouquet. She passed away shortly after that, and I inherited her craft supplies. Her many jars of beads looked like jars of paint to me. That started the ball rolling. I began to paint with the beads, and fell in love with the whole process.
My work is now a form of meditation for me. My mind is clear and quiet when I work, it keeps me focused and centered. As a mom with a toddler, quiet time is golden!
Tell us about your studio and creative process
When we bought our house here in Ojai California, the first order of business was to create a work area for me. Our garage has a perfect little niche in the corner against the backside of our brick fireplace. There is an area for the large kiln I inherited from my Grandma, and enough room for two large workbenches and many shelves. I divided my space in half, one side is dedicated to ceramics, tile, and glass.
The other side is dedicated to beads, jewelry, and paint. I try to always have general supplies handy, so when inspiration strikes I have the tools I need ready to go. Some of my pieces are found objects that I refurbish and bead, and some pieces I have to create completely by scratch. I love the challenge of making an idea come to life. I like mixing techniques, materials, and media, and I need a variety of supplies and tools all at my fingertips.
Do you have any inspirations, or someone you find especially inspiring to you?
My Mom is a huge inspiration for me. She has been making and selling her work for as long as I can remember. She lives her life doing what she loves, and I am lucky enough to follow in her footsteps. She taught me all the basics in art and design as well as introduced me to all sorts of media. She still encourages me to think outside the box and push myself to new levels.
My Grandma is the person who inspired my love of beads and crafts. She always had a project going on her craft table, sometimes she would work all night while watching old movies. She could make something beautiful out of just about anything. I like to think that if she were alive today, she would be proud of what I do.
Do you have a favorite piece you created?
My favorite piece is still in the works. It is my largest and most challenging piece yet. My Grandfather gave me an old guitar. I am not musically gifted in any way so it sat in my studio for ages. When my son was five months old, I decided it was time for me to get back to work (mainly because he was sleeping through the night at that point).
Unfortunately I did not have any ideas, my mind was blank. I walked out to my studio and saw the guitar sitting there. I wondered what it would look like covered in beads. I painted the design on it that very day. I am still working on it after about a year and a half. It isn’t done yet, but it is my favorite piece so far.
What are your favorite materials to work with?
Glass seed beads are my favorite. I prefer to use very small beads (size 11/0). I also love glass accent beads, crystal, and shell beads. I use my Grandma’s rhinestones to give things a little extra sparkle. I love to take apart old jewelry, and use charms as accents as well. I like working with found objects and recycled materials. I work with ceramics, and for my smaller pieces I sculpt with Paper Clay.
Do you attend art and craft fairs/shows?
I have not done any shows or fairs. I think when my son is a bit older and I have more time, I will branch out and my world will get bigger and bigger. We do have a juried show coming up on our town, and I am mustering up my courage to submit a piece to that!
Tell us a fun fact about yourself!
I used to be a terrible cook, I mean terrible! After I got married my husband was begging for mercy. I didn’t have time for a cooking class, so I started watching the food channels on TV and reading magazines. After much trial and error I can now do more than boil water. Much more! My friends and family actually asked for recipes from meals I made. So this year I started a food blog, when I make something particularly yummy I post it!
Where else on the web can we find you?
I sell my work on Etsy
I also have a blog:
Thank you so much for sharing your life with us! Twas fun!