"Ceramics has its own language and inherent laws, requiring a mastery of form and surface treatment and the welding of many elements into a unified whole. It is an art with a science affliction. Unlike most materials clay is hands-on stuff, hands-in stuff, a deceptively simple material with its own subtle ways of resisting mishandling. New ideas grow out of past work and from experimentation with ceramic materials.The unique structural and textural qualities of these materials, in combination, are infinite, and for me remain a constant source of fascination"

Merilyn was born in Auckland in 1941. She completed a Preliminary Diploma at the Elam School of Art in 1959 and continued her studies at Goldsmiths School of Art, University of London, graduating in 1963 with the National Diploma of Design, and  in 1964 with the Art Specialist Teachers Diploma. However, while on a working holiday in a small country pottery in Ireland, she became more and more interested in working with clay. Merilyn said "I'd spent  three years at Goldsmiths specializing in painting....and then I watched someone throwing pots on a wheel ..amorphous lumps of clay, two hands, a little water, and a slowly turning wheel....It was like watching a dance in slow motion....I was hooked"

Merilyn returned to New Zealand and in 1976 built a two chambered wood kiln at her home near Albany. She has worked as a professional ceramicist since that date. She was selected to participate in the National ceramic symposium held in Dunedin in 1989, and in the  First International Ceramics Symposium at the Canberra School of Art in 1989. She has received several QE11 Arts Council grants, and her work has been recognised with many awards, including the Fletcher Challenge Pottery Award, and the Premiere Portage Ceramic Award in 2005 for Arctic Rim. In 2002 Merilyn's Pacific Rim, a white earthenware clay piece, was featured on a special edition of stamps issued by New Zealand Post and Sweden Post called ‘Art Meets Craft.'

 
 Arctic Rim, 1120mmx480mmx300mm 

 

Merilyn received an Arts Foundation Laureate Award in 2007.  The Award money went toward the development of a new studio space in Auckland.

Merilyn's works are held in many national collections.  She gradually moved away from the Anglo Oriental influenced style that dominated ceramics early in the contemporary craft movement in New Zealand, developing her own personal approach which has come to demonstrate a strong sense of place.

 
Echo Vases

 

1941
    Born, Auckland, New Zealand
1959 
   Preliminary Diploma, Elam School of Art, Auckland
1960-63
           National Diploma of Design, Goldsmiths School of Art, London
1964 
  Art Specialist Teachers Diploma, Goldsmiths College, London
1976
Built a two chambered wood kiln at her homenear Albany
1984
   Premier Award, Fletcher Challenge Pottery Award, Auckland
1986
   Merit Award, Fletcher Challenge Pottery Award, Auckland
1988
   Merit Award, Fletcher Challenge Pottery Award, Auckland
1989
    QEII Arts Council Major Creative Development Grant;Merit Award, Fletcher Challenge Pottery Award, Auckland; participated in the National Ceramics Symposium, Dunedin and in the first International Ceramics Symposium, Canberra School of Arts. 
1994 
   QEII Arts Council, Major Creative Development Grant
1998
   Premier Award, Birkenhead Licensing Trust, Auckland
1990
    QEII Arts Council Workshop Development Grant
1992
   Premier Award, Royal Easter Show Pottery Award, Auckland
2001
    Premier Award, Royal Easter Show Pottery Award, Auckland
2005
   Premier Award, Portage Ceramic Award, Auckland
2007
   Arts Foundation Laureate Award