Madeline did a one-year pottery course at the Otago Polytechnic when she left school. She was inspired by an exhibition of British ceramics that came to the Dunedin Public Art Gallery (works that were not domestic or earthy).
After twelve years in London – eight of them studying ceramics at Morley College, Camberwell School of Art, Royal College of Art and Central St Martins – she came back to Dunedin and started teaching at the Dunedin School of Art. She has had residencies in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. She is the mother of two boys and a dog.