How this Jewelry Designer Overcame a Brain Disorder

How this jewelry designer overcame a brain disorder

I founded Woodland Metalsmith (formerly Metta Weaving) in 2013 following a pretty horrific car collision I was in.

chiari malformation surgery
This is me and Dr. Ellenbogen. He's a neurosurgeon at Harborview Medical Center that specializes in Chiari Malformations.
Following the wreck, I was no longer able to work my regular job and so I began to create as a means to pay for groceries and smaller bills... Not knowing it would one day fully replace my income! 

Why I began

Seven years ago I was driving home, going about 45 mph down a main road. I was half a mile away from my house, when another vehicle approaching a stop sign along the road, didn’t look my way and flew across the intersection. 
Driving along in my little Hyundai Accent, I saw the car dash out and had almost no time to stop, I T-boned the huge suburban at almost 45 mph. For whatever reason, my airbag didn’t deploy and I smashed my head hard on my steering wheel.
The collision happened so fast that I almost didn’t know what had happened. I had a giant goose egg on my forehead and could not see out of my right eye for hours after the collision, I remember feeling very disoriented after being pulled from my car. I sat on the side of the road wondering if I would make it.
I was in a lot of pain, and my car was totaled. The impact caused excruciating migraines, and chronic tension in my head, neck, shoulders, and back, and most days afterward I struggled to get out of bed.
I began to see tons of doctors to determine the cause of my pain. After multiple MRI scans and testing, I was diagnosed with Chiari Malformation a year later. Chiari Malformation is a condition that occurs when the lower portion of the brain is forced out of position from the skull.
This meant that some of my brain tissue was protruding outside of my lower skull, compressing part of my brainstem and spinal cord. This condition was the cause of my symptoms and a result of the whiplash injury from the collision.
Years later, in 2018, I decided to take the plunge and go in for doctor-recommended brain surgery. I was so afraid of going under and having part of my brain tissue surgically removed.
But I knew that nothing could be worse than the constant pain and depression this condition caused me.
chiari malformation
It was after the crash that I founded Woodland MetalsmithI started to create. I found solace in designing and creating for myself and others. Back then my business was named “Evergreen Bohemian,” and I specialized mostly in weaving macramé jewelry and decor, my signature product then, was a beautiful Tree of Life Dream Catcher that ranged in size from 2” to 18”. 
My journey into business began with Etsy, I built a strong community of long-lasting friendships with a lot of my customers. With over 4,000 transactions on Etsy and countless reviews, my business continued to grow! 
Sadly, post-surgery in 2018, weaving macramé began to take a huge toll on my physical health, it slowed my recovery post-op and caused existing pain to worsen. With that, towards the end of 2019, is when I refocused my products to offer more wire wrapped and metalsmith jewelry.
Craftsmanship is a constant adventure of learning and trying new things, I LOVE METALSMITHING with a passion. The process of hammering and blow-torching metals is so ancient and feeds my creative spirit.
Fast forward to now and things aren't 100% better, however my life is good! The back of my head is healed, and I've mostly recovered from the collision and surgery.
I’m living my best life with A LOT less pain.
Health and wellness are so important to me, I make self-care, my number one priority, yoga and meditation are part of my daily practice in keeping my mind and body healthy and happy.
Since these experiences, I am an advocate for self-care and self-love. After all, if you don't take care of yourself, how can you care for others? – I put the energy of this philosophy into every piece as I make it, with the intent to manifest a little self-care ritual for you in each piece that you wear.
Thank you for getting to know me a little better, and for learning how Woodland Metalsmith was born.
Interested to learn about my school bus workshop?


Learn More about Woodland Metalsmith

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