A proud Jersey Girl, Merle was born in Camden and got her AB at Rutgers University.
Having worked in libraries since elementary school, it was not a hard decision for Merle to go for her masters in Library Science from Drexel University School of Library and Information Science. Following that, she had a 45 year career as a law librarian and retired about a year and a half ago, giving her more time to make pottery.
Merle got started making pottery about 30 years ago when her son wanted to take clay as an after school activity and then continued to Saturday classes. She had always liked pottery, so she signed up for a class while he was in his children’s class. He stopped because he didn’t like cleaning the wheel, which made sense to Merle, given the constant state of his room growing up! Despite his being very good at throwing, he took his creativity in other directions and she continued with clay. The bulk of her pottery education comes from community clay classes and workshops with potters including Simon Leech, Bill VanGilder, John Britt and many others.
Merle describes her work as “minimalist in design, often enhanced with texture and glaze work and with an eye towards ergonomics of use.” She continues, “All of my work is minimalist in style but it does include different types of design… it may not all look identical but it follows a main design aesthetic. I create my glazes from the raw materials with a focus on earth-tone with the occasional splash of deep blue. But exploring glazes is a fun part of pottery so I never know what color I may add to my palette.”
My personal philosophy is ‘Chalk it up to experience’ (good or bad everything has meaning in your life). My pottery philosophy is “Make what you like, not what people demand.”
Merle has been a member of the Guild for many years. She participates in juried fine craft arts festivals in the Delaware Valley area of Pennsylvania and shows in NJ and Delaware. In keeping with her minimalist designs she keeps her displays simplistic and clean. Her piece “Trees” won an award at the Cheltenham Center for the Arts Member Show. She also has work in stores and galleries, including the Pennsylvania Guild of Craftsmen Shop.