"The Quarry and it's people inspire me so much, I have so many ideas here"
Dell Marie Pryor was born in 1963 and raised in rural Waikato, New Zealand. From her earliest memories she always had an affinity with clay modelling, leading to her successful career as a sculptor. Dell studied Art and Political Science at Waikato University. After graduation, Dell travelled extensively around Europe while working in London.
Her return marked a restless period of trying out different jobs, until her creative nature lead her back to study Design at Waikato Polytech, completing a Diploma in Design through Whitecliffe College of Art & Design.
It was during this time at Whitecliffe that Dell saw a film about the 18th Century Sculptress (Auguste Rodin’s lover), Camille Claudel. She was so moved by the film Camille Claudel that she was inspired to buy a bag of clay the very next day. Thus began Dell’s passionate love affair with sculpting the human form.
Mostly self-taught, portrait sculpture is Dell’s first love and she has created portraits of several famous people, including New Zealand’s ex-prime minister Sir Robert Muldoon, who sat for her shortly before he passed away.
Amongst her favourite portraits are Dame Whina Cooper, the Maori rights activist who led the first historic Maori land rights marches and maritime hero Sir Peter Blake. Dell donated her portrait of Sir Peter to The Maritime Education and Recreation Centre, of which Sir Peter was the founding trustee. The bronze casting of this piece was funded through The Sir Peter Blake Foundation. Her life-size ceramic figures and her luminous bronzes have been sold internationally. Dell’s sensuous and highly figurative style can be seen in some of her favourite creations, which have been bought by private collectors in New York, Texas and California.