Business: The Grove at 30th & Juniper TheGroveSanDiego.com
Featuring: Furniture Designs by Merijam Roelofs
Address: 3010 Juniper St., San Diego, CA 92104
Interview and Writing: Bonnie Nicholls of South Park Scribe
Merijam is an artist and designer who uses huipil (pronounced WEE-peel), traditional costumes worn by women in Mexico and Central America, to upholster the chairs.
"The chairs are unique, hand-crafted, and they are not just furnishings but works of art," says Anne Mery, co-owner of The Grove, the only retail store in San Diego to carry these one-of-a-kind pieces.
Anne discovered Merijam's work through a friend who had bought one for her new home, and she knew they would be a great fit for The Grove. She usually has about three at a time, including ottomans and pillows. She also refers customers to Merijam for custom work.
Originally from Germany, Merijam studied art history and anthropology in Paris and later fashion design. She has always been interested in indigenous cultures, materials and textiles, and has travelled all over the world.
She started her business, the Folk Project, about three years ago after a visit to Chiapas. She was living in Mexico at the time and started making chairs for her home there.
"The goal of the Folk Project is to honor those artists by bringing their work into our homes," Merijam said. "People that buy my pieces see something unique, almost magical, in them."
Someday, she would like to open a co-op in Chiapas where she could have a few of the women work and create and she could buy their whole production. She also hopes to travel in other directions – south, east or west – to start new folk projects inspired by other cultures.
Merijam lives in North County, and she will drive up to 60 miles to bring chairs to your house so you can see how they look before you buy. Peinture Studio in Costa Mesa also carries her work.
But if you're in San Diego and want to see these chairs up close, head to The Grove in South Park.