Merran Esson – A Life in Clay

Last week the international ceramics community lost an absolutely inspiring, gifted and generous artist; Merran Esson. Based out of Australia, Merran’s work is recognized the world over for it’s luscious abstract representations of the natural world combined with the geometry and the sometimes organized chaos of the man made city. “Her artworks express the contrast between the extremes of country and city. Influences from her rural childhood combine with the urban confines of city life to produce large objects connecting in ways that explore mutual survival. Objects in outdoor spaces have for many years interested Esson, sitting as reminders of water tanks, silos and trees in the Australian rural landscape. Merran Esson investigates a range of cultural influences, reminding us of the influence of history and place.” (via

Her career spanned over 40 years, including the production of stand alone sculptural works and site specific ceramic sculpture interventions in the landscape. Below are two images of works from the 1980’s highlighting her dramatic and skilled approach to making.

Her recognizable style using bold lush colours garnered her recognition as a member of the International Academy of Ceramics, and in art collections internationally. Over her 20+ years of teaching she influenced and inspired countless other artists in our community. If you are one such artist, we’d love to hear from you in the comments about your stories and memories of Merran.

In the last few years of her life she worked alongside her children to create a beautiful book: A Life of Collecting. “This is the stories behind the private collection of Merran Esson. Collected over her life and coumented by Merran’s two children as she battles a brain tumour. Originally intended to simply document each piece with the collection it quickly became clear that for Merran collecting is as much, if not more, about community. This book documents a group of stories about Merran’s personal connections to the global ceramics community and how the pieces ended up in her collection.” (via

You can purchase this collection of stories and art online.

Find out more about Merran’s art and life through her website and instagram.

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