Mixed Media Collage and Clay
Merritt Ireland has been a mixed media artist for over 60 years, clay usually her first choice, expanded to other mediums such as papermaking, book arts, fabric design, monoprints, photography and painting. She taught the arts to all ages from children and college students to adults and the developmentally disabled. She has held teaching roles from Artist-in-Residence in public school to teaching college. Currently Merritt's focus is on a new series of work entitled "Paths not Taken," a mixed medium series more focused on climate change.
Petrillio Studio and Clay
As an artist I have done painting, drawing, printmaking, sculpture, papermaking, book arts, and photography in my studio. But the most exciting and grounding medium is clay, it has taken over thirty nine years of my over sixty years as a studio artist.
My pots and clay forms tend to be basic and simple, some almost primitive. They are the basic hand techniques of coil, slab, and pinch. Pinch is my absolute favorite. I had to mix and test my own glazes in graduate school and mixed my own for 20 years ,but now I prefer to use slips, stains and a few under glazes. Each pot I create is like a meditation about some natural spot on our earth. It could be a canyon, a boulder, a bluff or part of a riverbed. It could become a container to hold water for a chickadee to bathe in, or it could become an earth meditation vessel in itself. My latest pieces I have been piercing with holes to let light flow through the clay wall. They are lanterns or sun catchers.
I have a studio at the edge of the woods above Falling Water river. Each day I take a walk in the woods, along the river with two cats (I have 3 cats and they have become a fun part of my clay work) and Gracie my dog to be with seasonal wildflowers and birds, especially the Great Blue Heron, the Kingfisher, the Louisiana Water Thrush, and migrating ducks. We feed 15-20 species of wild birds in our backyard which creates a wildlife corridor filled with tree frogs, foxes, ground hogs, and deer and squirrels.
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