Vale Peggy Lyon: Mt Helena woman remembered as rare and exceptional artist and unique soul


Peggy Lyon and her daughter Claire Rubery.
Peggy Lyon and her daughter Claire Rubery.

PEGGY Lyon will be remembered as a rare and exceptional artist, a dedicated community member and a unique soul.

Lyon, who died on June 24, was an educator who relished the opportunity to absorb whatever knowledge came her way and graciously share her insight through her art and words.

The Mt Helena resident used a diversity of mediums in her work which talk about connections to place, family and belonging; her love of the Perth Hills and her concern and affinity for the natural environment.

Born in 1945, the last year of the war, Lyon lived with her family in a tin shed in her grandparents’ East Perth backyard before moving to their family home in Como aged five.

At eight, they moved to live in the South Perth Zoo where her father worked, her mother working fulltime as a self-taught commercial artist in cinema advertising.

Lyon shared memories of her mother, who became an accomplished portrait artist, always drawing as was she.

She learned hand sewing at school and machine sewing from her mum, making shorts from an old dress at the age of 12.

Her career in education began teaching physical education and she taught at Presbyterian Ladies College for three years after having her first son.

She later had two more children, a son and a daughter, and stayed home with them until her youngest started school.

She enrolled in a course training primary school art specialists before working at Falls Road Primary School in Lesmurdie for 10 years and a final year at Mt Helena Primary.

She studied printmaking and ceramics part-time at Central Tafe, and then after 11 years of teaching, (and when her children had become adults), she immersed herself in arts study full-time.

When she joined the West Australian Fibre and Textiles Association, she was able to fully realise her love of cloth and conversation, using every unconventional textile method to create her vision.

This experimentation was expanded during her years at Swan Tafe, completing her Advanced Diploma in Environmental Art and Design.

During this time, she began regularly exhibiting her work and became an indispensable member of the Mundaring Arts Centre.

When talking about her studies, her focus was on the wonderful people she met and how they generously shared their expertise, rather than her own growth as an artist.

Her peers and friends remark on how she listened with love; questioned and slowed down the pace, reminding others to take the time necessary to create something worthwhile.

Her artworks are proudly hanging in the Shire of Mundaring Art Collection and private collections around the world for generations to admire.

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