Feature Friday: Artist & Jewelry Designer Meredith Talian

Happy Feature Friday!

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Photographed by Hannah Smith of Beproaloha.com

This week we are featuring artist and jewelry designer Meredith Talian! When we first came across her work we were completely captivated by her intricately detailed paintings on sea glass. She then turns these paintings into jewelry! We love how the beauty of the sea glass is still prevalent in her pieces. Her paintings truly take advantage of the unique canvas. Read on to learn more about Meredith’s whole creative journey!

Castle Logo: Tell us a little about yourself and your background in art & jewelry.

iusb_760x100.15359782_auk1: Hello! My name is Meredith Talian and I own and operate a small business called LuaLette Jewelry. I was raised by two artists, my father is a graphic designer and my mother is a calligrapher. This, in combination with my grandmother’s life-long love of everything handmade, instilled in me a love of making things with my hands. My father is quite the entrepreneur and my sister and I enjoyed dabbling on the weekends with small businesses my parents would help us run. This really shaped my belief in small business and that success is attainable as long as you keep trying new things. I took a lot of private art lessons as a child which exposed me to many different medias and knew from an early age that I was happiest when painting. I followed this passion and earned my BFA in Painting and Drawing from Longwood University in VA, in the winter of 2011. Since graduating I’ve focused on commissioned portraiture and a watercolor animal series project. My husband’s job moved us to Oahu, Hawaii last July (2014) which made a huge influence on my latest series, LuaLette Jewelry. Hand painting intricate, tiny underwater scenes on found sea glass combines so many things I love and is the perfect culmination of my work thus far as an artist.

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Castle Logo: How did LuaLette Jewelry get started? What made you decide to paint on sea glass and then create jewelry out of it?

iusb_760x100.15359782_auk1: I adore searching for things to fix up, like roadside furniture or thrifting for hidden treasures, so when we moved to Hawaii, looking for sea glass quickly became a little hobby for me. My husband, who often joins my on my searches, asked me one day what I was planning on doing with all this glass and it got me thinking. After a while, the thought just struck me that I should try painting on the bigger pieces and see if it would adhere and be long lasting. Mermaids and underwater scenes just seemed like the best thing to paint in paradise. Hawaii has made me a lot more fanciful and imaginative in my art! I think making them into pendants was a natural conclusion for me. I don’t make all of my glass pieces into pendants, some are simply art pieces, miniature treasures to be set on a shelf.

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Castle Logo: It’s so cool that you gather all of the sea glass yourself! How long do you normally spend looking for it and how do you choose what is the perfect piece to use?

iusb_760x100.15359782_auk1: I spend about an hour, 4 mornings a week when my glass stores are low, searching for new pieces. I have my favorite beaches to go to. I watch the tides and the phases of the moon and let the ocean dictate the best days to go searching. It’s amazing how different each day on the same beach can be! My favorite pieces are white because they allow me to achieve this very atmospheric, 3D effect.

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Castle Logo: The paintings are so small and intricate! What are some of the challenges of painting on such a tiny scale?

iusb_760x100.15359782_auk1: Brushes and paint are my best friends and also my greatest challenge. I’ve finally gotten down to about three brushes that will consistently behave themselves and let me get my very tiny details the way I want them. I also figured out early that I needed to invest in a table top magnifying glass. The biggest challenge I haven’t quite figured out how to navigate is that painting gives me quite a stiff shoulders and neck after a while!

working in my stuido

Castle Logo: You stick to a ocean/sealife theme for all of your pieces and must be on the beach all the time! What about the ocean inspires you and what do you like to paint the most?

iusb_760x100.15359782_auk1: I like to think of my pieces as little reflections of where they’ve been. It takes over 30 years in the ocean for glass to become well frosted, so these little glass pieces have seen quite a lot in their time under the water. Of course, mermaids might not have been their regular companions, but sea turtles and other ocean creatures surely were! If you spend much time in Hawaii, you quickly see how the water is the main focus of life here. Surfing, diving, spear fishing, swimming, paddle boarding, you name it, its constantly happening! When I go to collect my sea glass I’m surrounded by so much interaction between the ocean and people, its infectious! Imagining the colorful life going on under the waves as well as on top is absolutely what LuaLette is about.

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Castle Logo: How have people reacted to your pieces? Best compliment?

iusb_760x100.15359782_auk1: I’ve been completely blown away by the strength of the positive reaction I’ve gotten for LuaLette! Everyone has been so kind and welcoming and responded to my pieces with the exact joy and warmth with which every artist hopes to be received. I’d have to say that the best compliment I’ve gotten is the fact that so many Hawaiians have embraced my little paintings. Hawaii is such a unique and beautiful place and the people who live here take such pride in their islands. To have them embrace my attempt at capturing some of the magic of Hawaii is the best compliment I could hope for!

tiny seahorse

Castle Logo: What is the most fun part about the whole process?

iusb_760x100.15359782_auk1: I really love how colorful these pieces can be, so getting to use such bright pure pigment is super fun for me. I also love all the different requests I get and getting to work with people all over the world on their own pieces is an amazing opportunity!

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Castle Logo: Your packaging is so cute and original! Describe to our readers what they would get if they bought a piece from you.

iusb_760x100.15359782_auk1: Your piece will arrive in its own little woven grass box. Inside the box I layer cotton to protect the piece. I also include a selection of small shells which I found along with your piece of glass, a little note describing a bit about LuaLette and, if requested, the name of your mermaid!

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Castle Logo: What are your future goals and plans for LuaLette Jewelry?

iusb_760x100.15359782_auk1: I would like to go into whole selling with a line of some of pieces in local art galleries or boutiques. That would be a dream for me! Also, I plan on attending some open air markets in Oahu with my pieces once I have enough inventory built up. Currently I’ve got a waiting list and can’t keep pieces in stock! This is so amazing and touching! It might be a while until I have the back stock for markets.

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Castle Logo: Do you have any advice for those pursuing art or jewelry making?

iusb_760x100.15359782_auk1: Never stop experimenting and growing. Don’t be afraid to try something new, like a different technique or maybe even an entirely different set of materials. I started with traditional portraiture and landscapes and ended up having the most success painting tiny mermaids on sea glass… you never know where your passions will take you! Also, if you don’t already have one, get an Instagram account and start networking! Social media is an awesome, awesome opportunity for artisans to connect with business owners, writers, bloggers, ect. You have to believe in what you do and promote yourself with passion!


You can find more of Meredith’s work here:

LuaLette Jewelry Instagram: https://instagram.com/lualette_jewelry/

MTalianArt Instagram: https://instagram.com/mtalianart/

Meredith Talian Art Etsy: https://www.etsy.com/shop/meredithtalianart

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