Merridee Joan Smith

Artist
Auburn
34B
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I love fiber arts –the history, beauty, tactile quality, variety, and the common thread that links my hands to those of so many in the past. Currently, I am once again focusing on silk painting, this time combining it with my other interests of botanical printing and natural dyeing. Botanical printing allows me to walk outside to collect leaves, bark, roots, and flowers, process them on my silk and obtain lovely prints. I literally bring the outdoors inside. I can then use these prints as a background for paintings of flowers, birds, dragonflies and others.

Silk painting is an excellent medium for capturing the colors, patterns and iridescence of flowers and birds. While I strive to accurately render the line and structure of the subject, I do not attempt to make a copy. The joy and challenge is to use the dyes and silk to interpret the subject’s complexity and beauty. I apply colors using liquid dyes that flow across the silk. Brilliant colors move and blend in ways that can be unexpected and beautiful. It feels as though the dyes, silk and I are collaborating on the final painting. The process, which requires relinquishing some control and allowing the unexpected, can be an exhilarating experience. My hope is that those viewing my paintings can experience some of this exhilaration as well.

After a career as a forensic scientist, Merridee studied silk painting, rozome, batik, botanical printing and felt making from artists as far away as Japan, Indonesia, Israel and Germany. Her work has been shown in galleries in Northern California and Kauai, and is in collections on the West and East coasts as well as in Hawaii and Mexico. She was thrilled to have had her silk paintings displayed twice in shows sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution. Examples of her work can be seen in Susan Louise Moyer’s book, Silk Painting for Fine Art and Fashion. She is honored to to have been designated a Master Silk Painter by her peers in Silk Painters International.

Textiles: fiber, silk, cloth, wearable art, silk painting, botanical Printing, felt Making