Working with seed beads gives us unlimited possibilities for color and texture, and nobody combines them quite like beadwork artist Cheri C. Meyer. Her freeform bracelets, watches, and statement necklaces are something to behold.
Inspirational Beading: When did you first get started with beadwork?
Cheri: I was a creative kid with a big imagination growing up on a farm in northern Minnesota. My siblings were much older than me so I had a lot of time by myself to explore, play and use that imagination. The art of playing and creating was and is high on my “to do” list. I have been making jewelry for over 30 years and about nine years ago discovered bead weaving. I fell instantly in love with this ancient technique; the weave locking beads together, mixing colors, making up designs with color, the texture from the woven beads and making the art of this bead weaving technique my own.
Inspirational Beading: Do you remember your first piece? Where is it today?
Cheri: Yes I have the free form beaded bracelet and I wear it! I remember how difficult it was to make, manage the thread, when and where to place beads. I concentrated so hard on making it perfect and to look exactly like the example that I lost all the fun I wanted to experience. I learned something about myself from making that first bracelet; my brain does not work well following someone else’s pattern. But once I started to let go of all those expectation and discovering my own rhyme the joy and excitement started, thing fell into place.
Inspirational Beading: What technique do you turn to the most?
Cheri: All my work is done with the peyote stitch and I free form all my designs. I usually have a special stone, piece or color I want to work with, so I gather my seed beads and other embellishments that I will use and start to bead. My design process is pretty intuitive, I have learned to let go of most expectations, focus on my inner voice and let it take over the design process, and it has never been disappointing. It’s also a process I have learned to love, its meditative, each new bracelet is fresh, exciting and one of a kind because there is no actual pattern to follow accept for the one that was inspired inside me, I take risks with my designs and that is also exciting.
Inspirational Beading: Where do you look for your favorite inspiration?
Cheri: Nature is my favorite inspiration, different landscapes when I travel; looking closely at how nature mixes its colors together and of course the stones nature produces. Also, going on nature walks, I come home with tons of ideas and sometimes I even find something I can use in my jewelry. I’m inspired by all beads, different cultures and their traditions, photos from the past, photos of nature, the southwest, vintage buttons and art of all forms. Pinterest, a photo sharing site, has also become one of my favorite places to go and it right from my computer. My boards reflect wonderful color mixing ideas, awesome nature photos, and art and just about anything imaginable for that inspirational dose.
Inspirational Beading: What’s the most interesting or unique thing about your design process?
Cheri: They are all one of a kind because I make them up; all my jewelry is created from how I see the world, what inspires me and the result is a fun, enjoyable and satisfactory process. This intuitive process is letting my inner guide take me through the process when making a piece, no right or wrong, just having fun, trusting and expressing myself, there is no limit on what I can create or use in my jewelry. My hope, when others see my jewelry is to be inspired, to trust their own instincts and to think outside the box.
Inspirational Beading: Do you have a favorite color to work with?
Cheri: I love all earth tones, but have learned to use all colors and love them. My gift and favorite thing is mixing colors, I like taking chances when it comes to mixing those colors together!
Inspirational Beading: What are some of your favorite accent beads?
Cheri: I love Czech glass, they do a beautiful job with a large variety of colors, styles and their history of making glass beads is so interesting. Working with a variety of colors and objects is my favorite thing. I don’t limit myself; there are endless possibilities from meaningful stones, metal, fiber to found or handmade pieces or focals. I could walk a beach and find a stone I could use in a design or a really big find would be a piece of sea or tumbled glass. From a walk in the woods I have used birch bark I have found on the way. Also reusing old jewelry, vintage buttons or just someone else’s junk or throwaways, I have used colorful yarn, fossils and I have done metal work to incorporate into my bead weaving. Whatever comes along my path I will notice and process how I could use it in a design?
Inspirational Beading: What is the most exciting design in your shop right now? What makes it special?
Cheri: It’s hard for me to choose just one but, with this new listing I used the vintage button focal to inspire the beading design for the bracelet. I reused a piece from the past and gave it a new life with a bit of color. Something so simple but yet I found it fun and exciting to create.
Inspirational Beading: Who do you hope to inspire with your work?
Cheri: Anyone who wants a dose of inspiration around their wrist! I have worked with men, women, ages 10 to 90. Each piece is a part of me; I’m sending the beauty that I see and a little piece of art into the world. All my pieces have a name with a special message to inspire and empower.
You can see more of Cheri’s freeform designs in her Etsy shop, and website, CheriCMeyer.com. To see the latest inspirations from her workspace, following along with Cheri’s blog, and on Pinterest.
Copyright 2014 Inspirational Beading and Cheri C. Meyer
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