Danielle Merzatta grew up in Morristown, before heading to Michigan to study metalsmithing at the Cranbrook Academy of Art. That is where she met her husband Chris, the other lead half of the Merzatta team.
Together they have worked abroad, and ultimately returned to New Jersey where their studio now perches in the top floor of a beautiful Victorian mansion in the Morristown business district. “Our art has always been intertwined with our lives. Where we live is the foundation of our work,” says Danielle. They were the recipients of the 2016 Outstanding Professionals in the Arts Award from Morris Arts, the arts council of Morris County.
Since they began working together nearly a decade ago, the Merzatta’s have shown their work in some of the most prestigious art shows in the country, and have collected a wall of ribbons and awards that is staged behind a door in their Morristown studio. Jurors have noted the complexity of their textures and their ability to unlock hidden patterns in nature and move those new forms seamlessly into jewelry.
Milestones, the new collection that will debut at J. Cacciola • Gallery W in December, represents a whole new era for the duo. In the Merzatta’s first chapter in jewelry, they developed a deep collection of jewelry known as ‘Merzatta Classics,’ carved from collected organic materials and cast in bronze, sterling, and gold. They simultaneously have been collecting semi-precious and precious gemstones from all over the world. “These are the gems we couldn’t resist,” Danielle says.
With their move to their new studio in Morristown, they’ve unveiled their gem collection to create a new series of one-of-a-kind pieces. Their studio tables are a design feast with jewelry drawings, pieces, and stones in chaotic organization. Slices of transparent stalactite, panes of mica, rose cut tourmalines, unusual diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, and rubies mix with castings of pinecones, corals and coconut bark.
Collectors around the country are eager to get a glimpse of Milestones, and some are already planning to come in from afar for the show’s debut. But because of the Merzatta’s hometown roots, they wanted to show the new collection to their own community, first. “We love this community,” says Danielle. “And we can’t wait to share the new work we’re making here.”