Meghan Shimek’s woven wall hangings have an artistic edge to them. More like sculptures than wall hangings, her work—both delicate and textured—reveals the beauty of vulnerability. Rooted in the warm, earthy materials, Shimek’s weaving style allows the fibers to fall into indeterminate patterns. The result might remind of an abstract landscape, comprised of fiber.
Born and raised in Michigan, Shimek took to weaving later in life, after studying history and nutrition first. “I didn’t go to art school,” stressed the artist in an interview with Diary of a Smart Chick, where she describes her work experience as unique. “When my son was born, I had been working for a nonprofit. I decided to stay home with him because my salary wouldn’t cover the cost of childcare in the Bay Area. That’s when I began weaving. I would often stay up nights and wake up early to learn and pursue my craft.”
Since dedicating herself fully to fiber work, Shimek has studied tapestry and Navajo weaving, rigid heddle, and floor loom weaving. Over the years she has developed her own signature weaving style, which she now teaches others through weaving workshops across the world. “There is something so special about sharing your knowledge,” she admits, adding that the learning experience is mutual. “I learn more from my students than they learn from me. I find them to be constant sources of inspiration and I have formed close friendships with many of them.”
Apart from her workshops, Shimek also creates commissions, exhibits her more personal projects and sells her woven hangings on her online shop. “I think everyone who really connects to my work does so on an emotional level,” she admits, explaining that she puts a lot of herself into each piece. “I hope that my weavings can be healing and bring comfort to those who have them,” she notes.
With most of her pieces quite large, Shimek’s process requires her entire body, as she feels the roving through her hands. This makes the creative process much more personal and raw, reminding more of a performance than anything else. Using color, Shimek expresses her personal narrative of moments of comfort, discomfort, and uncertainty.
“I want to move my entire body while I work,” she says, adding that “it is so soothing to feel that every part of me has a role in making my work. When I sit still my back and knees ache, but when I can work on something big, my body feels free.”
Take a look at some of her recent projects in the gallery below: