Philadelphia Artist joins Nipple Project

Philadelphia’s top crochet designer and multimedia artist Maria Merlino has joined forces with The Nipple Project. Maria has designed a crochet nipple pattern, called Anatomical Model 1.

The pattern was designed as a fund raiser for the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation. All proceeds from the sale of this pattern will be donated to the foundation.

“I’m thrilled to be on board with this endeavor,” Maria says. “Andrea and Jennifer have provided an opportunity for artists and creative types to submit three-dimensional interpretations of the human nipple. Their motive is to reclaim the nipple as a positive expression of femininity.”

These submissions will be joined together as a wall unit and unveiled in October 2006 in conjunction with Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Visit Maria’s site at The crochet pattern is available there under Signature Patterns, Anatomical Model 1.

From the Passenger Seat: Maria MERLINO

By Loretta Jackson | Editor

“I wish to give back to society. That’s why I started a children’s charity called: A Stocking Full of Love.”

Maria Merlino doesn’t drive. “Oh, I’ve had learner’s permits over the years and driving school courses, but for some reason I just can’t pass the test! I have to rely on public transportation to get around,” she said. PATCO became her chauffeur.

“I wouldn’t dream of imposing myself by asking my relatives and pals for rides back and forth. PATCO is a convenient alternative,” she added.

Maria, a South Philly resident, often utilizes her time on the train by brain-storming creative ideas. “When I was a student at Epiphany of Our Lord School, the Sisters of St. Joseph drilled into us that an idle mind was the devil’s workshop. My mind is always coming up with so many new projects, it’s hard to keep up,” she laughed.

Maybe that’s why Maria has had such a varied career. “I started out in the sciences, but I needed to develop the right side of my brain.” She has appeared live in music venues, mostly fronting her own blues Band. In addition, she is a Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Clown College graduate. Her antics made radio history on the Howard Stern Show and she was often the emcee at the famed but now defunct Comedy Factory Outlet in Philadelphia.

But entertainment is only the tip of the iceberg in Maria’s ocean. Active in local politics, Maria ran for Philadelphia City Council, tackling the issues of quality of life, fair wages and animal advocacy. “I refuse to stay home behind shuttered windows. I campaigned all over the city on public transportation. Although I didn’t win, my grass roots Movement netted me endorsements from the firefighters Local 22, the AFL-CIO and numerous animal rights activists.”

Maria also gets inspiration while engaging in the healing arts. As massage therapist to professional sports figures, her patients have included NBA star Dikembe Motombo, boxing diva Jackie Frazier and former Eagle Cecil Martin.

“Right now, my passion is needlework. My crochet patterns have appeared in numerous magazines and hard-backed books. One of my patriotic, political afghans was selected to be displayed at the Republican National Convention held in Philly.”

She feels very blessed in her life with her many God-given talents and gifts. “I wish to give back to society. That’s why I started a children’s charity called A Stocking Full of Love. Last year, with the help of IBEW Local 98, and friends on the Internet, I collected and distributed more than 200 hand-made Christmas stockings to children all over the Delaware Valley.” Looking back on the nun’s adage one can see that Maria certainly took it to heart. Instead of the devil’s workshop, her mind is Santa’s Workshop!