Our featured artist for May is Carolyn Meador. This nearly new resident of SaddleBrooke joined the Gift Shop team in December 2020, after moving here in August 2020 from Orange County, California. “I fell in love with the desert,” she says, adding, “I love the charm of the homes in SaddleBrooke and found one that fit me perfectly.”

Carolyn’s schooling began in Bangkok, Thailand, and continued in Long Beach, California, leading to a bachelor’s in Zoology. She has master’s degrees in Divinity and in Counseling, and a Ph.D. in Psychology. Carolyn has served as an associate pastor, a counselor for addicted and abused individuals, and manager and director of a national behavioral health company, all in southern California.

Carolyn’s first craft work was crocheting, taught by an older woman with patience and love. Carolyn remembers that wonderful teacher each time that she picks up her hook and yarn. In school, her favorite class was art, and “the only reason I would go to camp was to do the crafts.” Her two daughters, following their mother, continue to practice their own arts.

Crocheting led to macrame, stained glass, batik, oil painting and bead weaving. At present, Carolyn focuses on amigurumi. This is a Japanese form of crocheted toy, with various forms of stuffing to give the piece shape. One translation is “small, happy, world,” and that fits Carolyn’s pieces. Some are creatures in pots, waiting to emerge; others are bulbs with whimsical touches, others are cacti. The photographs offer a clear explanation. Study the pictures and soon you will sense the playful animation. Whatever she is doing, Carolyn loves the creative process—even as much as the finished piece. She sometimes has “to leave the piece for a while before I can see it as a completed work rather than all the parts.”

Carolyn likes to work at a rustic wooden table in her living room, overlooking her backyard with its birds and the Catalinas, giving her natural light and inspiring beauty. In this workspace, she employs an arsenal of brushes, paints, beads, jewelry making tools, yarns and hooks. Her process? Whatever strikes her fancy. She likes to turn old materials, such as her mother’s beads, to new purposes. Her entire house is an artwork; everywhere one looks there is art, her own or others’, recent or old, beautifully displayed.

Come to the gift shop, look for Carolyn’s creatures, let them amuse and delight you. At this moment she is displaying the lovable amigurumi; she will also be bringing jewelry and bead work. In the gift shop, Carolyn has joined a group of creative people. This person of many interests enjoys seeing how other artists use their talents in varied ways.

The SaddleBrooke Gift Shop is located near the HOA-1 Fitness Center and Activity Center. It is open every day except Sunday. Stop by this loaded-with-riches space anytime to find an expected or a surprising gift.

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