Today we’d like to introduce you to Megan Rider.
Megan, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I started exploring my creative interests in college by majoring in architecture. I loved working with my hands; building models and working at the drafting table. After a couple years I transferred into art history because I loved studying culture and storytelling through art.
After college, I worked as an interior designer in LA specializing in high end residential and hospitality design. I was fortunate to be a part of some really incredible interior design projects and after ten years in the field, I was ready for a change.
I was craving a creative outlet that was my own where I could have fun and explore ideas without catering to what anyone else would think. I found an oil painting class, then I tried a cooking class then one evening I found a “lost wax” jewelry design class down the street from where I lived in Santa Monica.
I loved this class and started seeing jewelry design ideas throughout my day….in the fabric patterns and tiles I was working with for client projects, in textures found in nature, in architectural details that I admired. Working with my hands and connecting with my creative ideas was so exciting.
The elements of interior design that I was passionate about also related to jewelry design…working with balance, proportion, functionality, light, colors, and textures. They are both all about developing an aesthetic that tells a story and creating something that helps a customer express their unique style.
After a year of taking the “lost wax casting” classes, I decided to follow my instincts and start my own jewelry business. Even though I was working from my dining table and the evening studio classes; I felt adventurous and alive. Now five years into the business, after exploring many ideas, techniques, and directions; I am still discovering new sources of inspiration and pushing my comfort zone every day.
My favorite part of the jewelry business is connecting with people on a deeper level through art and design. I love helping people find ways to express themselves and their individuality.
We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
I design and create jewelry because its something in me that needs to be expressed. The ideas and sources of inspiration flow to me naturally and excite me.
My jewelry represents experiences I’ve had and different sides of me that I think are relatable. The internal conflict between perfection and messiness; structure and flow; precision and organic is a dance that I hope customers can connect with. I am inspired by shapes, patterns, and textures found in nature and outside. I also love geometry and architectural details.
Each piece is originally handmade in wax using carving, sanding and hot metal tools. I usually start out with an idea of what I want to create but then the design starts to take on a life of its own. Once I have a shape or design that I think is interesting, the wax sculpture goes through a casting process in which you end up with an exact replica of the wax model in 14k gold or sterling silver. Each piece is hand finished.
This ancient technique called “lost wax casting” lends itself to really unique and one of a kind designs. I am constantly learning new techniques, experimenting with new tools and enjoying the journey!
How can artists connect with other artists?
Connecting with other artists and having a creative community to reach out to for support, feedback and inspiration is really important. Finding a way to have fun and share stories with people who are experiencing similar fears, wins and challenges has become one of my favorite things to dive into.
It is too easy as an artist to become isolated because our career paths and interests might not be the norm or what was expected of us. Meeting other artists can feel intimidating and vulnerable at first but it’s crucial to connect and support each other. Don’t worry about insecurities, judgment from others, not being “good enough” and feeling like we need to protect our ideas, resources, and processes. These thoughts are just ways of playing small and holding us back from expressing ourselves fully.
Finding even one or two artists you can share coffee or a meal with once a month is a great start in building a community. There are many online communities but I prefer meeting in person usually in a place that feels inspiring like a garden, cafe, art museum or local event. Hold each other accountable for goals and exploring new ideas. Be willing to open up and enjoy the time together; you never know what an hour of genuine conversation can do for your work!
Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
My website is the best way to view my entire collection and most recent designs. I also love connecting with people through Instagram: @meganriderjewelry. My work is represented in two local galleries and the Smithsonian Holiday Catalog.
Ojai Valley Artists Gallery (OVA Arts) in downtown Ojai is a special and unique gallery of local artists.
238 East Ojai Ave
Ojai, CA 93023
Hands Gallery in downtown San Luis Obispo
777 Higuera St.
San Luis Obispo, CA 93401
Smithsonian 2018 Holiday Catalog
- Website: www.meganrider.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @meganriderjewelry
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/meganriderjewelry/
Remember When by Ceci Frost, Griffin Joy Photography