The papers of woodworker, turner, and educator Merryll Saylan measure 4.7 linear feet and date from 1975 to 2008. The collection documents Saylan's career through biographical materials; personal and professional correspondence including with artists Connie Mississippi, Betty Scarpino, Kay Sekimachi, and Susan Working; writings including notebooks with diary entries and sketches for projects; gallery files including inventory and sales records; files documenting a variety of Saylan's professional activities; and printed materials recording Saylan's career.
Scope and Contents:
The papers of woodworker, turner, and educator Merryll Saylan measure 4.7 linear feet and date from 1975 to 2008. The collection documents Saylan's career through biographical material including certificates, appointment books, curriculum vitae, and photocopies of diplomas and student records; correspondence with collectors, woodworking organizations and publications, family, friends, and artists Connie Mississippi, Betty Scarpino, Kay Sekimachi, and Susan Working; writings consisting of drafts, typescripts, and notes for articles and lectures, and including 18 notebooks containing diary entries and sketches for projects; gallery files that include inventory and sales records, printed materials, and correspondence documenting Saylan's activities with numerous galleries; files documenting a variety of Saylan's professional activities including memberships, teaching, workshops and private classes, auctions, financial records, grants and artist residencies, and drawings for projects; and printed materials such as clippings, exhibition announcements, press releases, and miscellaneous items.
The collection is arranged as six series.
Series 1: Biographical Material, 1980-2005 (0.2 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 2: Correspondence, 1985-2008 (0.4 linear feet; Box 1)
Series 3: Writings, 1987-2007 (0.5 linear feet; Boxes 1-2)
Series 4: Gallery Files, 1984-2008 (0.4 linear feet; Box 2)
Series 5: Professional Files, 1975-2008 (2.7 linear feet; Boxes 2-4, OVs 5-6, RD 7)
Series 6: Printed Materials, 1980-2008 (0.5 linear feet; Box 4, RD 7)
Biographical / Historical:
Merryll Saylan (1936-) is a woodworker, turner, and educator based in California. She helped to pioneer the popularization of the woodturning field and the application of color in wood art.
Saylan was born in the Bronx, New York City, in 1936 but settled in California after moving there in her youth. She received a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA in 1973 and a Master of Arts degree from California State University Northridge in 1979.
Saylan began turning wood in the 1970s, becoming one of few women in the field. Her use of modern lines and textures was inspired by the simplicity of Japanese design. Saylan was an active member of the Wood Turning Center, American Association of Woodturners, and Collectors of Wood Art. She was artist-in-resident at the Grizedale Sculpture Park, Cumbria, England, from 1990 to 1991, and visiting artist at the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. She was also a visiting artist and taught at the California College of the Arts, San Francisco.
Saylan's works are in the collections of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Detroit Institute of Arts, Renwick Gallery, and the Mint Museum of Craft and Design which houses one of her most well-known works, Jelly Donut.
Also found in the Archives of American Art is an interview of Merryll Saylan conducted on May 20-June 5, 2006 by Glenn Adamson for the Archives of American Art's Nanette L. Laitman Documentation Project for Craft and Decorative Arts in America at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England.
The collection was donated in 2008 by Merryll Saylan.
This collection is open for research. Access to original papers requires an appointment and is limited to the Archives' Washington, D.C. Research Center. Researchers interested in accessing audiovisual recordings in this collection must use access copies. Contact References Services for more information.