Art is not only my passion; it’s in my genetic code. I come from a family of artists and by the age of 7, my mother had taken me to every major art museum in New York. I wanted to sculpt like Louise Nevelson, make magical boxes like Joseph Cornell and collage like Pablo Picasso. My light bulb moment was unconventional and came early: as I child I happened upon the classic cartoon “Grampy Comes to Christmas” This 1934 cartoon by talented animator Max Fleischer depicts Grampy transforming everyday objects into sensational toys for a group of orphans. It was then I learned to see that things are not just as they appear – and the art is everywhere.
Marching to my own beat, as a child I painted unusual shapes using masking tape and scraps of wood. Why would anyone want to use a coloring book? Where was the imagination? Drawing and creating on my own was so much more fun. On any given day, I’d be found picking through trash, hijacking cardboard from my father’s freshly laundered shirts and rummaging through my mother’s studio. These were treasure troves of objects just waiting to be re-purposed and seen through a new lens. It’s amazing what a pair of scissors and a dab of glue can do!
From my passion and genes, came my journey: graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Textile Arts from Moore College of Art & Design, Philadelphia, I fell in love with fiber and fashion, that it evoked both a visual and tactile response. I designed, silk screened and wove my own clothing as well as created one-of-a-kind woven wall hangings for homes, hospitals and churches
After 15 years as a weaver and fabric designer, it was a natural progression to start applying my formal fine arts training to the related world of interior decoration. Thus, Merle Hillary Interiors was born. My world of commissioned art projects for residential and commercial dwellings added up to a unique vision in creating functional spaces. With my ability to layer fabrics, textures and color within a 3 dimensional space, I was stimulated by this whole new means of artistic expression. Then and now, I apply my “art-is-everywhere” lens to each room I design. By combining clients’ cherished possessions with the fresh and new enhances the look of each, and creates rooms with individual personality.
Artist and art enthusiast, I am proud and privileged to be a docent at both the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum. Writing about great artists and giving tours (I enjoy the balance of the whimsical side of my work with the intellectual challenge of writing tours for both museums) ignites my passion and leads to great inspiration. Some artists take a serious approach to their work; I create as I live – with whimsy, a twist, and full of personality. Humor is essential and layered into all my pieces.
Over the last 8 years I have fallen in love with photography. I enjoy taking photos of just about everything.With a background in Textile arts, it is no surprise that I am attracted to textures, patterns and colors. I have just started to experiment with using my photos in my collage work.
My ISeeArtGallery on Etsy is a combination of collage and photographs that weave together all of my interests.
Please check out my monthly blog which will be a potpourri of DIY tips, art, architecture, design and fashion from around the world.
This site is about sharing ART and IDEAS! Look through the lens with me and let’s see art everywhere.
*If you’re in town, I’d love to give you a tour!
Gallery of my work
After receiving a BFA in Textile Arts from Moore College of Art and Design, Philadelphia, I wove tapestries for commercial and residential spaces. In addition to fashion fabric I expanded the business to include residential interior design. I also enjoy doing digital collage. I’m now a docent at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the Rodin Museum.
Woodmere Gallery, Philadelphia, PA
Second place winner, juried fiber arts exhibition, 1983
Lancaster Museum of Art, Lancaster, PA
First place winner, juried fiber arts exhibition 1984
Parade of Homes, Lancaster, PA
Best Interior (decoration) 1989
25th Year Juried Photographic Competition, Lancaster, PA – First place winner 2008
International Small Works Juried, Participant, New York University, sponsored by the
Allen Stone Gallery in New York City, 1985
Design in Weaving, Schiffer Publications, New York 1983
Fine Art America, Novartis, California 2002
Arts of Lettuce, photographic poster
Lancaster Newspaper/ New Era /articles
Lancaster Spinners and Weavers 1980. Lancaster, PA
Lancaster fiber art competition Steinman Center Franklin and Marshall