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Merle trained as a nurse and then became a potter. In 1998 she started botanical illustration classes with Dianne Emery through the Friends of the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, specialising mainly in lichens, liverworts and mosses. The specimens are enlarged, using a microscope and hand lens, so that the viewer may see the detail of these tiny plants that are not visible with one’s naked eye. Merle has also painted some of the flowering native plants and fruits.