On a beautifully crisp September morning in Cumberland, Maine, we had the pleasure of visiting the studio of married couple Linda Wary and John Meyers. These superbly talented artists are more widely known by their company name, Wary Meyers, makers of impeccably designed soaps and candles. As we stepped into the sun-filled foyer of their mid-century ranch, we knew we were in for a treat. The house is a finely tuned collection of iconic designs of the ‘60s and ‘70s, from the matching Peacock chairs gracing the entryway to the Saarinen tulip table in the dining room. “We’re most influenced by the 1970’s design, although not the kitschy, orange shag/wood panelling 70’s,” says Wary. It is a carefully curated home with a deep appreciation for high style from an era that was defined by breaking with convention; a theme that is not lost on these artists.
Growing up, both Wary and Meyers spent their family summers in Maine and share a profound appreciation for its beauty and pacing. After college they each ventured to New York City, where they met. “I used to take the Chinatown bus up to Maine from New York,” Wary remembers fondly. In New York, they engaged in separate successful careers; Wary as a graphic designer for a myriad of acclaimed advertising agencies, and Meyers as a marketing designer for a national chain. However, the stress of the city was a constant weight and they knew they needed to make a change. “We just wanted to be in Maine,” Wary explains.
But making a living in Maine as an artist can be tricky. Under the moniker Wary Meyers, they were assigned a recurring article in Time Out New York, featuring do-it-yourself re-furbishing of found furniture. They then complemented that effort with a book on the same subject entitled, Wary Meyers’ Tossed & Found. They also worked in interiors together, creating the innovative installations in the Baxter building for The Via Agency, an advertising firm based in Portland, Maine. “We’d love to do more design work like that, but those jobs are few and far between,” says Wary, “So we thought, what do people want? Candles! They’re a little luxury that people love.” A few years later, they expanded into another simple pleasure: soaps.
Tantamount to the process for creating both candles and soaps is getting the fragrance and the color right for each specific design. “For the candles,” Wary explains, “we mix scents and experiment. It can work as a candle but when you burn it, it can smell like fuel. It’s difficult to get right.” And soaps are easier with scent, but more difficult with color. “Soap colors are limited. It’s very rare that the color comes out of the bottle and looks good. The yellow I worked on forever. It’s all about experimentation,” states Wary.
One thing that unites the creation of both the soaps and candles is Wary Meyers’ commitment to the environment. “We use super high quality ingredients – no parabens, no phthalates, no sodium laurel sulfate, etc…” says Wary. Down to the process by which they print their logo on each box and candle holder, designed by Meyers. “Our process is the most environmentally friendly way of printing. It’s very clean and not wasteful, and all done by hand right here.” Meyers adds.
Wary Meyers’ cleanly designed candles and soaps are an impeccable mixture of a passion for high design and the grace of easy collaboration. “What we care about is interior design. You could totally change your bathroom with a well designed soap,” says Meyers. As a couple, they appreciate the same aesthetic, but their differences also complement each other. “There are things that we do separately, but we always come together and collaborate on the end result,” says Wary.
Comments will be approved before showing up.