Tapestry Topics Online
A Quarterly Review of Tapestry Art Today

page 8
Fall 2006, Vol 32 No 3

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Mary Merrill, 1921-1999

by Nell Znamierowski

– TT p.16-18

Color and the delight of submerging one's senses in the vitality of bright hues was one of the important factors that drew the late Mary Merrill to tapestry. . . Not being a trained artist, and not trusting her own design sense, her first tapestries were adaptations of paintings she loved., modifying the original and adding her own color ideas.

below: Mary Merrill, Jackson's Red Maple, 21" x 30", 1977 Inspired by A.Y. Jackson's painting, Red Maple at the National Gallery, Ottawa, Ontario Canada
below: Mary Merrill, Spencer in Richmond, 38" x 46", 1981 Inspired by Spencer Gore's From a Window in Cambrian Road

In the summer of 1983 she went to study traditional tapestry techniques with Michele Mesnage in Boisson-Allegre in the south of France. . . . Shortly after the lessons in France, Mary bought a large tapestry loom from Quebec and ventured into her own designs. Merging her love of architecture and nature, travel was her big inspiration, with Latin America being the chief source of her designs.

below: Mary Merrill, South IV - Dos Chicas, 66" x 48", 1992
below: Mary Merrill, South III – High Country, 66" x 48", 1991
below: Mary Merrill, Kilauea, 42" x 40"
below: Mary Merrill, Future Fruits, 1986

Her output was small, 17 completed tapestries with, perhaps, one or two unaccounted early pieces.  The size range was from approximately 21" x 31" for the early works to 70" x 58" for the very last piece.  Each completed piece was cut off with her husband present, followed by a champagne toast.

below: Mary Merrill, Primary North, 60" x 79", 1996, inspired by Norway
below: Mary Merrill, Glaciers – Chile, 60" x 68", 1998
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