Merideth Young has lived in many places. In 1995, she earned her BFA in Metalsmithing at Maine College of Art. In 2012 she planted her roots in the beautiful mountains of West Virginia. On her life journey, she picked up many talents from wood turning to mural paintings. We featured this artist back in the summer of 2016 when she mainly focused her attention on her “Uncanny Collection” of upcycled aluminum can jewelry. Since our last interview, Merideth tells us her life has changed “dramatically.” She says, “Since 2011 I’ve been UPcycling aluminum cans into one-of-a kind jewelry. I created these at home and rarely left my house. Grocery shopping and doing a local show or festival was my only reason to leave my humble abode. And then……I was asked to be part of a new venture with five other artists.” Her venture is her part ownership of the WV Fine Artisans Gallery in downtown Lewisburg. Merideth is also embracing a new artistic passion in one-of-a-kind carved oil pastel mud paintings and stamped jewelry.
These original oil pastels are created on 7/8” deep wood panels. Merideth uses a technique with a plaster of sorts (mud) and carves words and images when dried. She then uses oil pastels to fill in the carved design. Each painting is sealed with a satin finish. To date, Merideth has painted over 70 unique oil pastel mud paintings. She says, “I’ve always been a painter, but jewelry took the front seat for well over a decade now. The inspiration [for the pastels] didn’t hit until I was nudged by a few fabulous artists to branch out. I’ve painted over 70 paintings, granted most are tiny, only 3 x 3 inches.” She goes on to describe her artwork as “whimsicial” and says, “I use simple-but-empowering words and imagery and I add a bit of whimsy with splashes of color. This applies to both my hand stamped jewelry and wall art.”
Merideth’s wall pastel titled “Grow” is her most favorite piece of artwork ever created. She tells us, “I absolutely love it. It’s an oil pastel of a simplified tree with leaves created from spirals and the word grow. It reminds me to be bold like my deep blue sky and strong like my carved tree. And the word grow…. Well, we all should strive to grow a little everyday.”
Many of the pastels are offered as beaded interchangeable wall art, which allows the art lover to hang the paintings into their very own series. You can change them up with your mood, season, or for any reason. Merideth also creates clocks using the same technique as the original mud paintings. Each clock is one-of-a-kind and requires one AA battery.
Merideth’s stamp jewelry collection is her latest technique in jewelry. She uses a metal stamp and hammer to strike an impression into an aluminum disk or aluminum strip. This special collection includes necklaces, earrings, word bracelets, charm bracelets, charms, and anklets. All of these pieces are made with hypoallergenic stainless-steel necklaces, ear wires, and/or posts.
While oil pastels and stamp jewelry are leading the creative journey, Merideth is still hard at work with her specialty “upcycled aluminum can” jewelry which comprise of cuff bracelets, textured dangle earrings, and necklaces. Each piece is fashioned by repurposed aluminum beverage cans. Hypoallergenic niobium or stainless-steel ear wires are used as well as stainless steel chains.
Merideth tells us her venture with the WV Fine Artisans Gallery has allowed her to grow artistically. She says, “This little labor of love (shop) has inspired me to explore my painting roots and switch up my jewelry line. Now I tie the two with imagery. My painting “Grow” has a matching pair of earrings with hand stamped trees. Who knew paintings needed jewelry. Sounds weird, I know, but if you know me, it would make sense.” She continues by saying how the gallery was started, “Six of us went in on our dream of being brick and mortar shop owners in downtown Lewisburg selling what we love to do, -art. Right next to Greenbrier Valley Theatre is where you can find us. Me personally, every Wednesday – Saturday from 11am-5pm.”
If you cannot visit the gallery in person, Merideth invites you to shop with her online at meridethyoung.com and hit the “shop” link. This will take you to her online store where you can buy my paintings, jewelry, and reproductions from the comfort of your own home. Her artwork ranges from $9 to $1,200. You can also follow Merideth and her fellow artists on facebook @WV Fine Artisans Gallery or send her an email firstname.lastname@example.org
On the Cover with Merideth Young’s “Splashes of Color”!
– HashtagWV #98 February 2018