Merle Axelrad

Merle Axelrad is an artist whose primary medium is fabric.  Her “groundbreaking style”, as described in the Sacramento Bee, “includes layering, piecing and sewing over tiny bits of fabric that she has often painted or dyed herself to fit the colors and textures of the subject”.  Comfortable with both realistic and abstract images, Ms. Axelrad has achieved much critical acclaim for her series of collages depicting California landscapes.


Prior to 1991, Ms. Axelrad lived in San Francisco and worked as an architect.  Always a “wannabe artist”, Merle was attracted to the field of architecture as a way of engaging in design while also earning a living.  The year 1991 brought many changes, including a move to Sacramento, a new baby, and making a baby quilt.  That quilt opened up the world of fabric for Merle.  Her quilts quickly became non-traditional and soon evolved into their current form – the fabric collage.


Most of Ms. Axelrad’s work is done on a commission basis, either as public art or for private or corporate clients.  She has been fortunate to receive some significant public art commissions, including an eight-piece series for the California Environmental Protection Agency’s headquarters building, a five-piece series for Sacramento’s City Hall and a three-piece series for San Francisco’s Laguna Honda Hospital.  She also completed a large-scale sculpture as a public art commission for LA County. That sculpture includes 10,000 suspended monarch butterflies.


Ms. Axelrad works out of her studio, a part of ARTHOUSE, at the corner of 10th and R Streets in Sacramento.  She has had her studio there since 1999.  On the Second Saturday of every month Merle hosts an “Open Studio” from 5-8pm as part of Sacramento’s monthly art walk.

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