Emily Meier has always been a creative person.
“I’ve always loved creating and trying new crafts,” she said.
Macramé is just one of the many different crafts she’s picked up over the years. She began making macramé hemp jewelry when she was younger, and recently she came back to the art when she realized that instead of buying decor for her home, she could make it herself.
“I wanted to find a wall hanging for our house,” Meier said. “But I realized that I still knew how to macramé, so I tried it out again, just on a larger scale. It just snowballed from there.”
Now Meier makes plant hangers, purses, and earrings, but wall hangings are her signature pieces.
Many of her wall hangings are made out of 100% recycled cotton, but she has used other materials as well, such as merino wool. Sometimes she will dye fibers on her own, but she also does a lot of “undyeing”, or bleaching. Meier also adorns some of her pieces with tassels or other appliques, and everything is attached by weaving it into the hanging.
Meier was born in Deadwood and grew up in Pierre. She studied at South Dakota State University, earning an Associate of Arts degree, and then attended cosmetology school at Lake Area Technical College. After school, she moved to Roscoe with her husband, Elliot, and opened her own salon.
“I’ve lived all over South Dakota,” she said. “East, West, and Central.”
Working with macramé has not only become a hobby for Meier. It’s also a great source of stress relief.
“It’s very therapeutic for me,” Meier said. “Even when I was a stylist, it was therapeutic doing hair. I love the slow, methodical movement. It helped a lot with anxiety and a period of postpartum depression. I got back into it at the perfect time for me.”
Meier started selling her work in 2020, when she set up her Etsy shop.
“When I first started, I didn’t have any plans to sell,” Meier said. “But I couldn’t stop making more pieces, and my husband asked where I’d put them all. Selling pieces allowed me to create more.”
Initially she sold works she had completed beforehand, but then people began to reach out for custom orders. Now her work is split fifty-fifty between custom orders and her own original ideas.
“I like making customs, but I also enjoy taking the time to be creative with my own designs,” Meier said.
Meier also displays and sells her work at The Market on the Plaza. About two years ago, she found their Instagram account and saw that they displayed art in their second floor gallery. A few of her pieces were on display in the gallery, and she was later invited to display and sell her art on the main floor. Meier makes the trip to swap out her art pieces every couple months, and she tries to bring pieces with colors to match the current season.
Her inspiration for each piece comes from many different places.
“I went to Mexico with my husband and I took a lot of inspiration from photos I took,” Meier said. “I like looking at color palettes, patterns, pieces of driftwood… I use a lot of driftwood in my work.”
Many of Meier’s pieces begin with a piece of driftwood for a base. As an avid camper, she often searches the lakes and rivers of South Dakota to find more.
“I have five gallon pails just filled with driftwood,” Meier said. “The biggest one I have used was five feet wide.”
Every wall hanging that Meier creates is unique, thanks to the nature of the driftwood. Her pieces come in a wide range of sizes. Sometimes, she’ll sketch out a design before she begins a new project, but most of the time she makes up a pattern as she goes.
“Macramé has a few knots that are fundamental, but after you learn the basics you can do anything with it,” Meier said. “It’s very fluid, and you can bring something to life with just a few knots.”
The time it takes to complete each piece varies, but that’s part of why Meier loves her craft. The flexibility of macramé makes it the ideal project for a busy mom of three young children.
“It’s hard to say because it’s the kind of thing I can pick up and put down,” she said. “One piece can range from a few hours to days to weeks.”
Since it’s a craft that’s so easy to take up, Meier often finds herself starting new projects while others are still in progress.
“I try to work on just one piece at a time,” she said. “But sometimes I’ll start a piece, and then I’ll have a new idea that I don’t want to let slip away.”
In the future, Meier would like to submit her art to craft shows and other local markets. //
View more articles about: