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Meredith Hadaway

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Since I was very young I’ve always been drawn to textiles— the colors and textures. I started collecting fabric when I was eight years old, mostly unique and imperfect scraps, trims, laces, old tattered quilts and quilt squares; I was a bit of a packrat. Some of my earliest memories growing up incorporate textiles in some way—a red velvet sofa and the pink and brown barkcloth curtains in my grandparents’ house, a rustic loomed woollen rug from the 1800s that my Mom and I found on an antiquing trip. My Mom and grandmother were expert seamstresses. I remember just sitting and watching them for hours as they created amazing garments, often from their own patterns.

Meredith Hadaway Portrait

When I got older I started choosing my own fabrics and would design my own outfits. I pieced them together and they would sew them up. I believe it’s here that fabrics and making things with them have created a bond between me and the women of my family…stitched us together if you will.

It’s impossible for me not to be awestruck by my surroundings.

Armed with a glue gun and other adhesives, I started covering things with fabric— belts, jeans, shoes, anything I could get my hands on. When I was 15 I even covered a wall in my bedroom with fabric scraps, kind of like a big crazy quilt. Back then I never dreamed that I would be doing this as a vocation. My parents were both in the medical field and I followed in their footsteps and became a registered nurse. But I always found ways to exercise my creativity. I was constantly taking some kind of art class, even during my RN training.

Meredith Hadaway Supplies

The idea to cover animals with fabric took shape after a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I discovered these amazing Oaxacan handcarved and brightly painted animals; some were recognizable, like rabbits or birds, but others were fantasy creatures. Folk art and exotic, they truly inspired me. This trip, along with the fact that I’m quite the animal lover, sparked the desire to create and combine the things I love. I started to experiment with fantasy-type animals first using small squirrel and rabbit taxidermy forms. I called them fantasy mounts, covering them with pieces of treasured fabrics like velvet ikat, French trims, paper butterflies and vintage brooches. These creatures were definitely on a much smaller scale than what I am doing now. Later I was introduced to the work of Frederique Morrel, Chase Holland and Helley Powell, among other incredible artists. They are magicians really that continue to inspire and instruct the work I’m doing now. I have now moved on to larger forms: cows, bulls, horses and dogs, and really found a niche creating these whimsical domestic animals.

The process for me starts with deciding if the piece will be high-contrast colors or something more subdued. I start with several swatches of fabric and then I pick a color palette. I cut several different fabrics and place them loosely over the form to decide placement and if something needs to be moved around. Once I’ve decided that the color palette works well with the form, I use a high quality adhesive that is fabric friendly and that gives me ample time to arrange and move fabrics around. I miter cut each piece and fit onto the form; once the body is covered I then affix embellishments with small straight pins, deciding where things go. For example, a pom trim, velvet flower or tassel…once satisfied with the overall look I will then permanently glue into place and re-pin while these little details dry. I let the form set for about 24 hours in the studio and decide if there are any adjustments or tweaking that needs to be done. Lastly, I hand paint the eyes of the animals…I believe the eyes bring life and personality to each creature that I create…some are very soft and some a bit more serious.

Meredith Hadaway rabbit

Each thread has had a previous life and the fabrics seem to find the forms they work best on.

My process is very relaxed. I don’t have much of a diligent work ethic. I work when I’m inspired, either by a new taxidermy form or a beautiful piece of fabric. I tend to start with a color story and go from there. Using vintage all-natural fabrics is very important to me. Turkish Suzanis, French tapestries, hundred-year-old velvets. Each fabric seems to find its own life. I’ve learned that I can’t force the process. Each animal I create births itself slowly and develops its own personality, either in the unique expression of the form or just in the color and texture of the fabrics.

Meredith Hadaway Process

I’m so fortunate to be a part of such a gifted artistic community here in Round Top. There is literally inspiration around every corner. This is beautiful country. Horses grazing, rolling green pastures, goats, llamas. My favorites are the jackrabbits. My surroundings truly inspire my work. My studio is definitely a hodgepodge of many things, constantly adapting to the moment. My husband and daughter are both painters and we all share the workspace.

I loved being a nurse and found it very rewarding, but it’s a new season in my life and I’m thrilled with the creative work I’m doing now—when one of my creations finds a new home and adds beauty to someone else’s surroundings or becomes a part of their art collection I am humbled and satisfied beyond words.

Meredith Hadaway Office

But I have to say that my biggest accomplishment in life has been raising my daughter Natalie. She is an amazing, talented artist. She works in and is curious about a multitude of different mediums. She attends the University of Texas School of Fine Arts in Austin and will graduate in 2021. She’s an exceptional artist, but more importantly, she is kind and compassionate and has a patient spirit that surprises me. One of my favorite quotes by Van Gogh is, “I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” I instantly thought of Natalie when I read that. She makes me proud every day.

You and everyone have the ability to create.

Meredith Hadaway Cow

As my artistic career progresses, I’ve learned to set things aside. In my creative process one challenge I have is taking on too many projects at once and trying to rush through or force things into completion. This never works for me and really dampens my momentum. Just stop and either get outside or find a beautiful, peaceful place. Visit with friends, have some good conversation. Breathe. Those creative juices will start flowing again.

After reading this it’s my wish that it would encourage you to find that thing that inspires and brings you joy and fulfillment. Start with something that you love, that speaks to you. For me, it was textiles, the color and the feel of the fabrics. I tried a lot of things and failed a lot but finally found a way to express myself. I believe that art should be attainable and relatable and that it shouldn’t be pretentious. And more often than not it’s the imperfections in the work that will speak to people. Find that thing you love and go for it.

Since I was very young I’ve always been drawn to textiles— the colors and textures. I started collecting fabric when I was eight years old, mostly unique and imperfect scraps, trims, laces, old tattered quilts and quilt squares; I was a bit of a packrat. Some of my earliest memories growing up incorporate textiles in some way—a red velvet sofa and the pink and brown barkcloth curtains in my grandparents’ house, a rustic loomed woollen rug from the 1800s that my Mom and I found on an antiquing trip. My Mom and grandmother were expert seamstresses. I remember just sitting and watching them for hours as they created amazing garments, often from their own patterns.

Meredith Hadaway Portrait

When I got older I started choosing my own fabrics and would design my own outfits. I pieced them together and they would sew them up. I believe it’s here that fabrics and making things with them have created a bond between me and the women of my family…stitched us together if you will.

It’s impossible for me not to be awestruck by my surroundings.

Armed with a glue gun and other adhesives, I started covering things with fabric— belts, jeans, shoes, anything I could get my hands on. When I was 15 I even covered a wall in my bedroom with fabric scraps, kind of like a big crazy quilt. Back then I never dreamed that I would be doing this as a vocation. My parents were both in the medical field and I followed in their footsteps and became a registered nurse. But I always found ways to exercise my creativity. I was constantly taking some kind of art class, even during my RN training.

Meredith Hadaway Supplies

The idea to cover animals with fabric took shape after a trip to Santa Fe, New Mexico. I discovered these amazing Oaxacan handcarved and brightly painted animals; some were recognizable, like rabbits or birds, but others were fantasy creatures. Folk art and exotic, they truly inspired me. This trip, along with the fact that I’m quite the animal lover, sparked the desire to create and combine the things I love. I started to experiment with fantasy-type animals first using small squirrel and rabbit taxidermy forms. I called them fantasy mounts, covering them with pieces of treasured fabrics like velvet ikat, French trims, paper butterflies and vintage brooches. These creatures were definitely on a much smaller scale than what I am doing now. Later I was introduced to the work of Frederique Morrel, Chase Holland and Helley Powell, among other incredible artists. They are magicians really that continue to inspire and instruct the work I’m doing now. I have now moved on to larger forms: cows, bulls, horses and dogs, and really found a niche creating these whimsical domestic animals.

The process for me starts with deciding if the piece will be high-contrast colors or something more subdued. I start with several swatches of fabric and then I pick a color palette. I cut several different fabrics and place them loosely over the form to decide placement and if something needs to be moved around. Once I’ve decided that the color palette works well with the form, I use a high quality adhesive that is fabric friendly and that gives me ample time to arrange and move fabrics around. I miter cut each piece and fit onto the form; once the body is covered I then affix embellishments with small straight pins, deciding where things go. For example, a pom trim, velvet flower or tassel…once satisfied with the overall look I will then permanently glue into place and re-pin while these little details dry. I let the form set for about 24 hours in the studio and decide if there are any adjustments or tweaking that needs to be done. Lastly, I hand paint the eyes of the animals…I believe the eyes bring life and personality to each creature that I create…some are very soft and some a bit more serious.

Meredith Hadaway rabbit

Each thread has had a previous life and the fabrics seem to find the forms they work best on.

My process is very relaxed. I don’t have much of a diligent work ethic. I work when I’m inspired, either by a new taxidermy form or a beautiful piece of fabric. I tend to start with a color story and go from there. Using vintage all-natural fabrics is very important to me. Turkish Suzanis, French tapestries, hundred-year-old velvets. Each fabric seems to find its own life. I’ve learned that I can’t force the process. Each animal I create births itself slowly and develops its own personality, either in the unique expression of the form or just in the color and texture of the fabrics.

Meredith Hadaway Process

I’m so fortunate to be a part of such a gifted artistic community here in Round Top. There is literally inspiration around every corner. This is beautiful country. Horses grazing, rolling green pastures, goats, llamas. My favorites are the jackrabbits. My surroundings truly inspire my work. My studio is definitely a hodgepodge of many things, constantly adapting to the moment. My husband and daughter are both painters and we all share the workspace.

I loved being a nurse and found it very rewarding, but it’s a new season in my life and I’m thrilled with the creative work I’m doing now—when one of my creations finds a new home and adds beauty to someone else’s surroundings or becomes a part of their art collection I am humbled and satisfied beyond words.

Meredith Hadaway Office

But I have to say that my biggest accomplishment in life has been raising my daughter Natalie. She is an amazing, talented artist. She works in and is curious about a multitude of different mediums. She attends the University of Texas School of Fine Arts in Austin and will graduate in 2021. She’s an exceptional artist, but more importantly, she is kind and compassionate and has a patient spirit that surprises me. One of my favorite quotes by Van Gogh is, “I feel that there is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” I instantly thought of Natalie when I read that. She makes me proud every day.

You and everyone have the ability to create.

Meredith Hadaway Cow

As my artistic career progresses, I’ve learned to set things aside. In my creative process one challenge I have is taking on too many projects at once and trying to rush through or force things into completion. This never works for me and really dampens my momentum. Just stop and either get outside or find a beautiful, peaceful place. Visit with friends, have some good conversation. Breathe. Those creative juices will start flowing again.

After reading this it’s my wish that it would encourage you to find that thing that inspires and brings you joy and fulfillment. Start with something that you love, that speaks to you. For me, it was textiles, the color and the feel of the fabrics. I tried a lot of things and failed a lot but finally found a way to express myself. I believe that art should be attainable and relatable and that it shouldn’t be pretentious. And more often than not it’s the imperfections in the work that will speak to people. Find that thing you love and go for it.