Meghan ShimekFounder & Weaver for Native TextileSAN ANSELMO, CAPhotography by Lauri LevenfeldStory by Lauri Levenfeld
I look back on my pregnancy as one of my most profound and creative moments. And so, I am in awe and love the fact that Meghan Shimek of Native Textile found her life’s work when her little boy was just a toddler. This was only a year and a half ago, and already Meghan has developed a keen eye for her designs, made a name for herself in a community of artisans and with her fans, and has dedicated herself to sourcing and supporting local farmers and producers. Meghan shares her story, a DIY lesson on Style Me Pretty today, and a giveaway of an amazing weaving just for TMP viewers this week. Contest details posted below. Good luck! xo, TMP
I am Meghan Shimek, a weaver living in San Anselmo, CA. I am originally from Flint, Michigan, and have lived in Washington, DC, San Francisco, CA and Tempe, AZ. I am a mother to my wonderful three-year-old son, Grey. I am a bit of a wanderer and am always seeking out adventure while at the same time I consider myself a homebody. I love traveling, but I often love just staying home and working in my studio.
Weaving has definitely become my life’s work. I started weaving in February 2013 when I was visiting my family in Michigan. I took a scarf weaving class and was completely hooked. Ever since I have been taking as many weaving classes as I can and reading books and trying out different techniques. Before weaving, I taught nutrition classes and ran farmers’ markets. I became more and more interested in agriculture and sourcing local food and supporting our local economy.
My inspiration comes from…
Nature: I am extremely inspired by nature. My studio is set up in my garage so that I am always partially outside. I love to hear the birds chirping, the squirrels running through the trees, and I keep carrots in my studio for the family of deer that visit daily. Being surrounded by trees and beautiful sky influences my work. In the winter we have a seasonal creek that runs under our house- it is my favorite time of year as I love hearing the stream. When I get stuck or need to stretch I love that I can just go for a short walk and be energized to keep going.
Fibershed: When I began weaving I wanted to remain true to my passion and use fiber that was grown and raised locally. The Fibershed Project started here in Marin county and I feel extremely grateful that I have access to such an amazing amount of local wool and cotton. I started with the name Native Textile because I wanted it to reflect my use of native fiber and dyes used in my weaving. The fibershed has really made a huge impact on the country and I see more and more local fibersheds popping up. It is also really wonderful to meet the farmers and producers that make this lovely yarn. I feel like I am continually meeting people who inspire and have such passion for the work that they are in, and that inspires me!
The weaving community: Since I began weaving I have met so many incredibly talented artists, both weavers and in other disciplines. I wasn’t an artist before I started weaving and honestly felt pretty intimidated to jump in and meet all these people who have been working in these fields for years! The weaving community especially has been amazing. All these wonderful people sharing their work and explaining techniques, it really resonates with me.
“AS A PERSON WHO DID DO SOME TEACHING AND WHO REALLY FINDS THE SENSE OF COMMUNITY IMPORTANT, IT HAS FELT LIKE COMING HOME.”
Child – Grey Shimek- age 3 years
The best advice I was ever given was when my son was still very young and I had trouble with my milk supply. I felt really guilty and was doing literally everything I could to get my supply up. A friend said to me, “the only thing that really matters is that you give your children love and attention.” That has always stuck with me, especially when I am feeling guilty about something. The other piece of advice I was given was that the only constant is change. Never get too comfortable or too frustrated with what is happening with your child because it will change! I take this advice and apply it to the rest of my life as well. I try not to get too attached to feelings, successes or failures because tomorrow everything can change.
Grey has taught me patience. I have never been a patient person, and I am still learning, but having a child you realize that everything cannot be done on a strict schedule. I have definitely learned to slow down and be open to plans changing and things not always going as I thought they would. I have also learned that sometimes letting go of expectations makes each moment so much more enjoyable.
Grey’s Favorites List:
1. Trucks and cars: Grey loves vehicles of any sort. We recently purchased an old Land Cruiser for when we go camping and Grey cannot get enough of our “monster truck”. It came with a CV radio and he loves to pretend to call his Grandpa on the radio.
2. Magnatiles: Magnatiles are magnetic plastic tiles in different shapes that stick together and you can build with them. Grey loves to build rockets, castles, cars, and garages for his cars.
3. Legos: Yes, at 3 it has already started. He had been using Duplos but on a recent trip to Michigan my dad pulled out my brother’s old Legos and Grey was hooked.
He especially loves building vehicles and he often requests that the finished products be allowed to sleep with him.
4. Cats: We have three cats and Grey loves them. They were all rescues and they each have unique personalities. One cat had lived with a hoarder before us, so he hides all the time. There is often a lump in our bed where Warner is laying under the blankets. Grey loves to sit next to the lump, lay his head on Warner and “read” to him.
My style… Basically everything that Laura Schoorl is making is my favorite thing. She made me a custom pair of sandals a few months ago and I have been wearing them all summer, they still look brand new. I wear her underwear line, Pansy, and am counting down the days until the new colors are released and I just ordered some clothes from her fall line. Everything she makes is well thought-out, and designed with comfort and style in mind. I am crazy for Martha McQuade’s clothing line. Her pieces are impeccable and a dream to wear.
And I have also spent the last several weeks living in the overalls made by Hackwith Design House. I love relaxed and easy clothing that is conscious and unique.
My support system has grown tremendously since becoming a mom and weaver. My friend Ama Wertz has been this amazing person in my life for years. More and more I appreciate who she is and all that she does. She has endless patience, she is an amazing teacher and without her I never would have started weaving. She is the person I go to when I am feeling excited, nervous, anxious (a common thing for me), and happy. She encourages everyone around her to live the life they want and to follow their dreams. Conversations with Ama always leave me thoughtful. She may not be a famous person icon, but she has inspired me endlessly and I will forever feel grateful to have her in my life.