Published On: Wed, Mar 5th, 2014

Breath and fire create ornaments

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Reverend David Merryman blows into a glass tube to create a one-of-a-kind Christmas ornament. Merryman uses a torch to heat the glass until it is the same consistency as chewing gum. Once the glass is at the right temperature, he is able to create shapes with tools and his breath. S. Stewart photo

Reverend David Merryman blows into a glass tube to create a one-of-a-kind Christmas ornament. Merryman uses a torch to heat the glass until it is the same consistency as chewing gum. Once the glass is at the right temperature, he is able to create shapes with tools and his breath. S. Stewart photo

Reverend David Merryman and his wife, Mary Alice, may have just moved to Pocahontas County last summer, but they have already made a name for themselves as generous and caring crafters.

In a simple conversation about locally made crafts, it’s possible Merrymans’ name will come up as a maker of glass ornaments. It has been a well kept secret mainly because he prefers to give the one-of-a-kind pieces away instead of putting a price on them.

“We set up at local craft shows but he spends most of his time showing kids how to blow glass,” Mary Alice said. “We have them on display but he doesn’t make them to make money.”
“I just enjoy making them,” David said. “It’s more of a hobby for me.”

The hobby began in the college town of Marshall, Minnesota. Mary Alice bought David a glass mouse and enrolled him in a glass blowing class at Southwest Minnesota State University.

“As luck would have it, the professor there, Edward Carberry, was a scientific glass blowing teacher,” David said. “Ninety percent of it was the paperwork, which I didn’t care for. The part I liked was the actual hands-on learning to manipulate glass and to actually blow glass.”

David sticks to making small pieces – like ornaments, angels and mice – opting out of learning how to blow glass like Fenton or Blenko glass.

A section of a room of the Merryman’s home has been transformed into a glass blowing station, with a torch mounted on a table where David makes his unique creations.

David makes it look as easy as breathing as he sits down, lights the flame and grabs a tube to turn into a glass bulb. His newest addition to his craft is the use of colored glass to add more character to the ornaments.

“He can make angels playing different instruments,” Mary Alice said, pointing at an angel playing a trumpet. “He can do harps, flutes, whatever you want. He also has an angel for teachers. It holds an apple.”

David was no stranger to working with glass when he enrolled in the class. He followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the workforce at glass factory PPG Industries in Clarksburg. The company moved him to Carlisle, Pennsylvania and then to Minnesota.

“They wanted to send me to Texas next and I decided it was time to move back to West Virginia,” David said.

The couple and their small children moved to a farm at Dorcus, on the Grant/ Pendleton county line. After the farm was ravaged by the 1985 flood, they moved to Summersville and most recently found their way to Marlinton.

Ten years ago, David answered the call to become a minister in the Methodist faith. He served several churches while holding down a full-time job. The Marlinton/Edray United Methodist charge is his first full-time pastorate.

“We love it here,” David said. “We serve about 180 people. They have welcomed us with open arms.”

Suzanne Stewart may be contacted at sastewart@pocahontastimes.com

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