Today we’d like to introduce you to Merrill Morrison.
Hi Merrill, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
I’m originally from New York and I have lived most of my life in Los Angeles. I studied graphic design in college, and I have been a graphic designer, a weaver, a papermaker and a fiber artist. My fiber work is in museum collections throughout the U.S., as well as in private collections. About five years ago, I reconnected with an art teacher from college and started exploring new materials. Currently, I am working with India ink on watercolor paper; cut, torn, colored with pastels, and layered, sometimes using foam core to give the layers more dimension. I’ve even started embroidering on some of the paper. I’m loving the process of manipulating all the paper to make the final compositions.
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
My first job out of college was with VOGUE Magazine in New York, and I continued to work for years with some high-profile graphic art studios. I had always loved hand-crafts and was taught a technique called ‘knotting’, which started me on a long journey of creating fiber vessels. Through a friend, I was introduced to collectors and galleries, and my life as a fiber artist took off. I loved the process, which was time-intensive and meditative. I had a family and also worked full time, and it took hundreds of hours to make one piece. I never made as much work as I would have liked, but it made each piece more special because there were only a few produced each year. If there were any struggles with the fiber, it was working within the limitations of the medium while trying to incorporate my graphic designs. Now that I am working with an entirely new medium there are new challenges. I have many new paper collaged pieces that are receiving wonderful comments on social media, and I’d love to find a gallery to display them.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I’ve had different stages with my art and I’m still experimenting with different mediums. When I was making paper, I had a small greeting card company and my cards were sold in the US and Europe. With my fiber vessels, my pieces were published in books and magazines and collected by art collectors and museums. With any art medium I’ve ever used, there is always a strong sense of my graphic art background. I’m all about black and white and then I add colors for detail. I’m proud that I’m continuing to make art. Especially during COVID, it keeps me focused and engaged, and I’m enjoying all the possibilities that are ahead for me.
Where we are in life is often partly because of others. Who/what else deserves credit for how your story turned out?
Of course, my teachers are responsible for not only teaching me but guiding me in new directions. My husband, who was a writer, always loved my work and was responsible for naming all my pieces. When I was in a fiber group, we all were cheerleaders for each other. We met every three weeks to work on our art and have pizza dinners, talked about movies and books and art shows and traveled to our gallery shows together. It was a wonderful community of like-minded fiber artists who also became life-long friends.
- Website: www.merrillmorrison.com
- Instagram: @Merrillmorrisonart
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/merrillmorrisonart/
Jim Zver, photographer