Pam Merlo

Pam is an art educator and sculptor and received a double lung transplant in 2006.

Pam said her home and her friends are her inspiration. Her home is set among gum trees with lots of native birds and animals, and friends constantly drop in, so she has plenty of company.

These days Pam's health has deteriorated but this has not stopped her from getting things done. While visits to The Alfred are not something she looks forward to, when it is needed she hopes to gets that special room in 5E - the one with the lovely views - and where the reflections on the glass of the tall buildings are like paintings.

During the four wonderful years since transplant Pam has seen two of her children get married, a grandson born and another baby on the way.

Pam said that her three children and their partners have been wonderful in their care for her and particularly one daughter who has now taken on the main role of 'carer'.

Pam is still very much involved with her sculpture and 'Tin Artz' (birds and animals cut out in tin) which she and her long time friend Mel Hamilton have set up to raise money to assist the Margaret Pratt Foundation in its effort to fund research into transplantation rejection. Pam, with Mel's valued support, also organised two fundraising events for the Margaret Pratt Foundation. She also raises money from the sale of her work and has had exhibitions annually for many years. She has worked with many different media over the years such as clay, limestone and talc stone, bronze, silver, tin, wood. Her work has always had 'found objects' or recycled bits, but she now works with recycled materials which she has been able to find, such as old and vintage fabrics -some family heirlooms and over 100 years old! She makes handstitched dolls, called Heartfelt Dolls, each has a heart stitched on to it in a hidden place.

Pam is also currently working with poly clay and wire to create a series of miniatures of the Nursery Rhymes and stories we remember from our childhood.

Post transplant Pam had her 'list' - some done, some yet to do! One of the items on her list was to publish a book to raise money for research into transplant rejection. Through 'The Circulator' Pam asked transplant patients to contribute to the book. Pam would like to thank those who sent in their contribution and more importantly to send a belated apology that she did not get back to them personally to tell them the outcome.

On reflection she felt that she wanted the book to be an insight into emotions which could be inspirational to others on their journey rather than just a story of each person's journey. And so the book did not eventuate.

Pam grew up in Country Victoria moving around as her father worked for a Bank and it was his job to set up new Branches. Pam said she enjoyed the experience of moving to different country towns.

She went on to become an art teacher and taught at a number of secondary schools in Melbourne and has also worked with primary age children, in learning centres, with the elderly, in her private studio, at several centres for troubled youths and even at the Jika Jika Division of Pentridge Prison with a prisoner who wanted to learn spinning and weaving - he is now a published poet. Many of these appointments have been volunteer work. Until recently Pam was teaching art at an Adolescent Psychiatric unit in a public hospital, a job she really enjoyed, but sadly for her she has had to give this up, due to her health.

In the years since transplant Pam has also completed several major Artist In Residence commissions with students and teachers participating.

There is one other thing Pam is really missing - she has had to give up the African drumming classes which she loved.