Having lost her father at the age of three, Lin Emery enrolled at Columbia University when she was sixteen years old. She attended Syracuse University, the University of Mexico, the University of Chicago, and the Sorbonne before the end of her undergraduate tenure. While in Paris, Emery studied sculpture under Russian artist Ossip Zadkine and began to cultivate her passion in that department. On returning to the United States, she learned welding and casting at the New York Sculpture Center. She eventually settled in New Orleans, where she repurposed her living space as a fully-equipped studio.
Emery's early work was largely figurative-as she created many life-size religious figures on commission for Southern churches-but the artist gradually began to focus on the physical support systems and welded armatures that held those figures together. After her abstract work experienced success in New Orleans and New York, she began to experiment heavily with motion. Emery describes her work as a dance, the choreography of each piece influencing the kinetic response of the next.