About the Maker
Melanie Grace Mercer's fondness for wild places and nature started as a child in North Idaho where she could often be found gathering wildflowers or studying the tiniest details of the forest floor. Later that led to a BS in Conservation Science, a summer job in the the Sierras and Pennsylvania; and then field tech for Washington State Dept of Natural Resources. Some of her experience includes spotted owl survey work and taxonomic plant id studies in and near Sequoia King’s Canyon National Park; riparian and forest studies on the Olympic Peninsula as well as the Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest; and backpacking and canoeing in New Zealand for a study abroad program. Melanie earned a MA in Whole Systems Design and worked for more than 8 years doing fundraising and conservation program work with The Wilderness Society and Forterra. Meanwhile she studied photography and did freelance work taking photos of musicians; and was a contributing music photographer to Seattle’s weekly entertainment magazine, The Stranger. She also volunteered with Surfrider Foundation and the Pomegranate Center.
Then her boyfriend; a then music engineer, inherited a home in North Central Missouri and so they decided to leave the hustle and bustle of Seattle to move to the heart of the Midwest to a town with a population of 524. There they grey a huge garden and sold flowers and produce at local farmers markets. During this time, Melanie taught herself the craft of silversmithing. She soon discovered that many of the same plants she was growing she could make molds from and with the help of precious metal clay turned them into tiny silver botanical jewelry. She started the business Wild Grace in 2012 and has since exhibited in Kansas City; Eugene and Portland, OR; and Seattle and Spokane, WA. She has also been featured in Missouri magazine. Now returning to the roots that she began with near North Idaho; Melanie’s nature walks to collect botanical material are often accompanied by her four year old daughter. Her daughter knows the names of the same wildflowers that Melanie collected as a child.
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Wild relates to "a (of an animal or plant) living or growing in the natural environment; not domesticated or cultivated" and Grace comes from Melanie's middle name as well as the true definition of the word "simple elegance or refinement of movement."