Evelyn was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland in 1926. She married Jim Kelly, a newly graduated doctor in 1953. They emigrated to Aotearoa New Zealand in 1955, settling in Tawa just north of Whanganui-a-Tara Wellington city.
Evelyn had worked with clay briefly in Belfast, but her involvement with clay was really established many years later at Wellington Potters Association. She soon became seriously involved with the Association, taking on secretarial duties and finding herself helping to organize a national potters’ conference.
She learnt new techniques mainly through weekend workshops and summer schools. Her first foray into teaching was at Arahata Women’s Borstal. (which later became Arahata Women’s Prison).
In 1976, Evelyn and Jim moved to Whanganui where she later taught classes at the Whanganui Regional Community College. She also conducted several weekend workshops around the country and was the Whanganui-Manawatu delegate for the New Zealand Society of Potters and Vice-President for me as the NZSP President.
For almost 20 years Evelyn concentrated on crystalline glazes, continually developing techniques and recipes associated with these unpredictable glazes.
Evelyn’s work received merit awards at the 1992 and 1993 Royal Easter Show pottery awards. Between 1982 and 1998 her work was accepted eleven times in the NZSP National Exhibition, and between 1983 and 1992 her work was included in five Fletcher Brownbuilt/Challenge Ceramics Award exhibitions.
Evelyn died in 2000.