2014-01-31 / People

Art is found in discarded flowers

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer


Gerry Merriman presses discarded flowers for about seven days after she collects them from Blooms and Heirlooms. During that time she sketches a drawing on a small, card-size piece of paper. The flowers are then glued to the paper, delicately. Merriman gravitates toward pictures of hearts, portraits of women, mothers and sons, and occasionally words such as “hope” and “love anyway.” (Alex Acquisto photo) Gerry Merriman presses discarded flowers for about seven days after she collects them from Blooms and Heirlooms. During that time she sketches a drawing on a small, card-size piece of paper. The flowers are then glued to the paper, delicately. Merriman gravitates toward pictures of hearts, portraits of women, mothers and sons, and occasionally words such as “hope” and “love anyway.” (Alex Acquisto photo) KENNEBUNK — “It’s all about recycling,” said Gerry Merriman, who, for the past few years, has been collecting discarded flower bits from Kennebunk’s Blooms and Heirlooms to make her own pieces of art.

Only recently – in the past few months – has Merriman decided to sell her framed pictures and cards made of recycled material.

“Fifteen years ago I just started making images from flowers,” said Merriman, who lives in Kennebunk. “The flowers are the paint. It’s a dance between what looks like paint and what obviously looks like flowers. It’s the texture of it. And the original size is only card size.”


Hearts were the first shape Gerry Merriman created with the discarded flowers she began collecting from Blooms and Heirlooms a few years ago. A professional artist, Merriman describes her likening for flower art as a series. Cards displaying many of her designs are now on sale for $5.95 at the front counter of Blooms and Heirlooms in Kennebunk. 
(Alex Acquisto photo) Hearts were the first shape Gerry Merriman created with the discarded flowers she began collecting from Blooms and Heirlooms a few years ago. A professional artist, Merriman describes her likening for flower art as a series. Cards displaying many of her designs are now on sale for $5.95 at the front counter of Blooms and Heirlooms in Kennebunk. (Alex Acquisto photo) Merriman retrieves the flowers on Mondays, typically. “Jean gives me flowers they have in abundance, or they’re putting an arrangement together and maybe the flower stem breaks so they would then save those for me,” Merriman said of owner Jean Begin.

She then presses all the flowers for about a week before using them. “What I do is, I’ll get an idea and then I’ll sketch it. After the flowers are pressed, I’ll go through this stack of ideas I have and then I’ll figure out which one I want to work with. You’re bouncing back and forth between the ideas and the flowers that you have,” Merriman said.

Essentially, Merriman said, she will sketch on a piece of paper and then glue the flowers to the paper – a simple treatment for what appears to be elaborate pictures full of textured vibrancy and color. “It’s just basically a collage of different textures and colors that look like paint, but it’s a lifetime of art,” Merriman said.

Merriman, originally from South Portland, studied art at the Massachusetts Art Institute in Boston. Having been passionate at different times about painting with watercolors and pastels, Merriman believes anyone can access their artistic side: “You can do art wherever; it floors me because it’s really just amazing.”

At the inception of her blossoming love for flower art, Merriman was creating only heart-shaped pieces for Valentine’s Day. Since then she has created portraits of women and mothers and sons, and words such as “hope” and “love anyway, “which she pulled from a book of poems she discovered in the 1970s. “Basically if you’re trying to do good and people knock you down, do good anyway,” Merriman said in reference to the book “Anyway: The Paradoxical Commandments.”

“When you work with your hands it’s so therapeutic and it helps your brain — I learned that a long time ago. It’s a process for me,” Merriman said.

“I’m very fortunate now to have (access to) this florist shop,” she said of Blooms and Heirlooms. “To create it and then make cards from it. In a lot of ways the cards are a limited edition because I don’t save the original,” Merriman said.

Giving cards is a way of giving back and a way of recycling, Merriman said. “It’s all about recycling . . . it’s a celebration of the earth, and it’s about community. What someone can’t use, another person can, whether it’s flowers or anything. It’s all about what I can do for you,” Merriman said. “If I can help out through art, that’s great.”

Merriman’s cards and framed pictures can be found at Blooms and Heirlooms on Route 1 in Kennebunk.

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