Merilyn Smith was born in Arbroath, Scotland in 1942. She was educated at Arbroath High School, where she first heard the story of Jenny Geddes and of the riot at St. Giles Cathedral: powerful images which were to stay with her. She trained at Edinburgh College of Art, graduating in 1965, and gaining a postgraduate scholarship. Two years' teaching in Northern Nigeria were curtailed by the outbreak of the Biafran War, and Smith returned to Edinburgh. In 1970 she founded the Ceramic Workshop in Edinburgh, which provided facilities, materials and technical advice for artists, potters and students. Smith managed the Workshop until it closed its studio and ceased retailing in 1974. The Workshop survives in the artwork '1512' After two years in Italy, she took up the post of Head of Ceramics at Liverpool School of Art. Smith is now Professor of Fine Arts at the John Moores University in Liverpool. She has exhibited in Yugoslavia, Hungary, Rumania, Italy, Scotland and England. In 1989 she was awarded the 30th Anniversary Prize at the Concorso Internazionale della Ceramica d'Arte in Gualdo Tadino, Italy.