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Nov 2, 2018
Jan 19, 2019
141 N. 3rd Street
10:00 am  - 5:00 pm

Merryll Saylan: This Is Your Life

November 2, 2018 – January 19, 2019


Curated by Glenn Adamson


The Center for Art in Wood is pleased to present the work of renowned wood artist Merryll Saylan in an exhibition celebrating the timeline of her career. When she began turning in the 1970s, Saylan was one of few women in the craft field. While her contemporaries gravitated toward furniture-making and the use of exotic woods, Saylan—who came from a background in modern and contemporary design—focused on surface, using wood as a blank canvas for compositions in color and texture. Her experiments with stains, pigments, texture, and auto body finishes represented a new approach in the field, with connections to abstract painting.


Guest Curator Glenn Adamson writes that Saylan’s work draws “sometimes humorously, sometimes poignantly—from the world of everyday things….her objects dwell right in that interesting space between unremarkable normalcy and aesthetic transcendence, which we all inhabit all the time.”



CraftNOW Symposium | Nov 2 | 11 AM – 7 PM | University of the Arts Gershman Hall, 401 S. Broad St. Free and open to the public. Lecture by Merryll Saylan and Glenn Adamson at 1 PM

First Fridays | Nov 2, Dec 9, Jan 4 | 5 – 8 PM. Opening reception on Nov 2 | 6 – 8 PM

Gallery talk with Merryll Saylan and Artistic Director Jennifer-Navva Milliken | Nov 3 | 2 – 4 PM

Workshop with Alan Adler, An Introduction to Color on Wood | Sat, Dec 1 | 2 – 4:30 PM at the Center

Workshop with Merryll Saylan, Woodturning and Surface Treatment | Jan 17 & 18 | 10 AM – 4 PM each day | Dovetail Wood Arts at MaKen North, 3525 I Street, Philadelphia

Closing event and gallery talk with viewing of finished pieces from the workshop.

| Sat, Jan 19 | 2 – 4 PM at the Center


To RSVP for the workshops and for more information please contact Katie Sorenson, at 215-923-8000 or Interested in bringing a school group? Please contact Lori Reece at

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  • st ives swimming upstream 002 bresler coll
    Merryll Saylan, Swimming Upstream, 2012. Collection of Fleur Bresler. Photo by Kim Harrington.