Do I design jewelry or sculpture? This is a weekly question and not too challenging because I am fortunately usually drawn to one or the other.
Today it is sculpture.
This is a recent excerpt from my notebook about two projects. “F is for….” is a wall piece. The umbrella represents dread. To experience it you pull the umbrella on a spring down from the ceiling and stand under it entangled in black curly sheep strands. The Wood Man…not sure where he is going…
Perhaps not the brightest day of designing? Thinking of how to recreate emotion through experience in art to teach teens to embrace or desensitize…random but very fulfilling.
Young Charlotte lived by the mountain side, A wild and lonely spot; No dwelling there, for three miles round, Except her father’s cot;
And yet on many a winter’s eve Young swains were gather’d there, For her father kept a social board, And she was very fair.
Her father loved to see her dress’d As prim as a city belle, For she was all the child he had, And he loved his daughter well…
I’m not quite sure when Charlotte first appeared for me. It may have been the one my mother-in-law gave me recently, or it may have started years ago, growing up in a house with an avid collector-of-all-things as a father. Dad collected penny dolls, doll castings, dolls with real hair, baby heads, maybe even Charlottes.
Frozen Charlotte, actually, a small, white porcelain doll, popular in the late Victorian era, roughly between 1850 and 1920, and forever linked through poem and song, to a ghost of a young girl frozen on her way to a ball in 1840.
From my life-long experience with ghosts and the heartbreaking tale of Charlotte, comes this series of sculptures involving Charlotte, her story reimagined for 21st century believers. Come see this new, haunting work during Bridgeport Open Studios, Friday, November 10 – Sunday, November 12.
There is a mystical sense to Kristin Merrill’s work, which comes from its connection to the earth and natural environment. “My passion is creating beautiful things out of natural materials,” she says. “ I am especially connected to the sea, in both a literal and a psychic sense. It gives my work meaning and a reason for being.”
Kristin’s sculptures incorporate pieces of driftwood indigenous to the Connecticut shoreline. To them, she adorns pearls, hand-cast sterling elements, copper and symbolic found objects.
“The driftwood,” Kristin explains, “was once a tree, vibrant with life and growing. It goes through a metamorphosis at the end of its life, falls into the sea, and finds its way to the shore. By resurrecting it in my sculptures, I create a new phase in its life. It is re-born and immortalized as art.”
That same transformation echoes in her jewelry, where individual elements — sterling silver, semiprecious stones, amber, pearls — join together to become something new and different.
From your first glance at her distinct pieces, you can tell that Kristin has an intrinsic sense of art and beauty. Which should come as no surprise. “I have been surrounded by art all of my life. My father is a potter and sculptor, and my mother was an avid gardener and writer.”
Not bound by her right-brain talents, Kristin is equally adept at managing the intricacies of the business side of creative work, which she has proven as a former CEO, Vice President and Business Manager for small and large companies over the past 18 years. The combination of these two skill-sets reveal themselves in the success of the Shoreline ArtsTrail, which she oversaw from 2009-2013, and her own company, Riverside Consulting, which provides bookkeeping services and support for artists and creative professionals.