After having drawn and painted all her life, majoring in art at school and teachers’ college with distinction, Marilyn (nee Houghton) undertook a City and Guilds embroidery course at Bournville school of art, Birmingham, England. This gave her a whole new concept of incorporating fabrics and stitching into her artworks.
In 1978 she gained the advanced C&G embroidery diploma with distinction and came to Australia with her family. Her designs at that time concentrated on machine embroidery on clothing and furnishings but over the years she has streamlined her work to textural acrylic paint on canvas with added fabric and stitching in freehand machining. She has taken part in exhibitions in Adelaide, Sydney and Melbourne, won several awards, written two books and featured on video demonstrating creative machine embroidery and her work is held in collections in England, France, South Africa and Australia.
Her love of Australian natural surroundings is evident in pieces of work inspired by 4-wheel drive camping trips in the Outback where even the most vividly coloured depictions did little to prepare for the intensity of the real thing. Latterly, snorkelling in Port Phillip and Westernport Bays has resulted in attempts to capture the diversity and colour of marine life as precious as any on the Great Barrier Reef. She seeks to invoke the light and shade around plants, fish, seahorses and dragons which inhabit these waters while they may still be enjoyed and to increase appreciation of this wonderful world.