Approved: 16.08.2006

Philippa Lawrence

Artist, Maker

Approved: 16.08.2006

I have a diverse practice which embraces land and environmental art, the use of textiles in a fine art context, and the relationship between art, craft and design. My philosophy is one of learning through making which sees me engaged with teaching as a Principal Lecturer on the BA (hons) Artist, Designer: Maker course at Cardiff School of Art & Design.

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Artist Statement

I have a diverse practice which embraces land and environmental art, the use of textiles in a fine art context, and the relationship between art, craft and design. My philosophy is one of learning through making which sees me engaged with teaching as a Principal Lecturer on the BA (hons) Artist, Designer: Maker course at Cardiff School of Art & Design.

Since 2003 my practice has been primarily site-responsive, concerned with issues related to mans’ relationship to land, nature and place. These issues revolve around boundaries, land use, land ownership and an increasing concern with imposed limitations, and an encroachment on our wild spaces - both the public and geographic and the private and internal. I am especially interested in the potential for the language of textiles to connect people to place.

Natural or wild spaces are aligned to our unconscious, and untamed, unknown parts of our minds and psyche and these ideas are key to my thinking and making.

Work pivots on material exploration, drawing out a material’s ability to carry metaphor and speak of human experience, and in a positioning of materials to assist an understanding of, or an analysis of site and a re-activation of space.

Recently maps have been cut and installed as a diagram of atoms around a nucleus – an exploration of the common sites we share and inhabit. An atlas has been cut into, to create a ‘book of tears’. Silver leafed bulbs are left to tarnish as ‘Spent Light’ and 100s of very fine mohair and silk pom poms take on the form of targets and wreaths.

Time is part of my practice; time spent in crafting - whether gilding, binding, sewing or branding, time imparts an energy into the work. I have a particular interest in the multiple, materials, process, techniques and time, site and placement and connection between ideas and people.

My work can be seen as my attempt to assuage some of the feeling of separateness that is part of the human condition. As an artist I feel responsible for sifting and sorting the world and its ‘stuff’ and try to distill a thought or a recognition into a piece that can draw and hold people long enough for them to engage and make their own associations. Work ranges from the monumental to the minute and I bring objects and materials together to draw out new possibilities. I am equally comfortable making work that is intimate and tiny employing similar repetitive action to render larger scale visualisations.

Materials and techniques are diverse. I have always worked in a cross-disciplinary manner and employ gold leaf, found objects, paper, yarn, neon, lava, sheepskin parchment, photography, cloth and glass. The First Law of the Conservation of Energy is something I often think about. In this law Einstein stated that energy is neither created nor destroyed but can only be changed from one state to another. I believe that making work is a transmission of energy, the time spent making a piece lends it a life force or anima.

A desire to take work out of a gallery environment into the public realm and to draw attention to the beauty within the everyday is illustrated most visibly in the project 'Bound', which draws upon key elements within my practice. Bound 2003-2006 Cotton wrapped ancient deceased trees across the 13 old counties of Wales. An ACW Creative Wales Award supported project to identify and wrap an ancient dead tree in each of the 13 old counties of Wales. I wanted to bring art into the natural environment and create something arresting and inspiring. ‘Revealing through Concealing’ this project effected a temporary and effective change in the landscape and drew communities together, bringing renewed awareness of the history of the object. I was interested in questioning boundaries, landmarks and man’s appropriation and use of the land. The project was also about time spent in the landscape - making a physical connection to place. On a personal level the project was very much about taking time to get to know the landscape and people in the local communities. The binding of the trees’ limbs with cloth took tenacity and care. The work became a meditation upon the past, present and future of our selves in relationship to changing landscapes and on the ‘life’ of these sentinel beings.

CV & Education


1991-1993           Royal College of Art               MA in Fine Art, Printmaking

1987-1990           Norwich School of Art            1st Class BA (Hons) Degree in Fine Art


2019                   Crafts Council Talent Development Associate

2003 -                 Principal Lecturer, Cardiff School of Art & Design

2012 - 2016         External Examiner, Drawing and Applied Arts, UWE, Bristol 

2001 - 2003         Freelance Project Manager for Wales Arts International and Artworks Wales

                            Working on [email protected] Biennale and Public Art Commissioning.


VISITING & ASSOCIATE LECTURER at many colleges most notably:

2004 - 2013        MA & BA Contemporary Art Practice, Plymouth University



o   2019                HEFCW SIP Digital Futures. Collaborative partnership project with Digital Agencies in Wales to explore AR, VR & MR technologies in designing shared environments. 

o   2018-19 Network for Creative Enterprise Grant. KWMC, Spike Island, Guild, Watershed, UWE

o   2018                Pulling Threads.  Artists’ book. Spike Studio fund supported

o   2018                Trace, new site-responsive commission for Hestercombe House

o   2017-18           Disclosures and Dialogues on im(materiality): Hestercombe Unfolds.

o   2016                CREATE award to facilitate a symposium for MA students Re:Activating Space

o   2015                Get Started Award, Cardiff Metropolitan University – to research the language of making of threatened Craft Industries,

o   2013 -14         AiRx, Artists Exchange Residency and exhibition between Singapore and UK

Collaborative project through Singapore International Foundation and British Council, working with architect Randy Chan on a work for Singapore Botanic Gardens.

o   2013               SEED funding to research the textile industry in Bradford and Saltaire

Research and exhibition in which I studied the lost language and dying textile trade in Bradford.

o   2013               ‘Darning the Land: Sewn’, Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury

Invitation to research the textile archive, design the carpet bed & a 470m planting of wild flowers.

o   2012               HEFCW SIP to develop links with Waddesdons Manor, Aylesbury

o   2011               ‘Bound V-57’, Nature Unframed, Morton Arboretum

o   2011               ‘Darning the Land: Seam’, re-place main commission for Derbyshire

o   2011               ‘Barcode FB814’, Mortimer Forest, ACE Rural Commissioning Programme

o   2009-10          ‘Bound, Croft’, Tell it to the Trees, Croft Castle, Meadow Arts Commission

o   2008               Welsh Artist of the Year. St Davids Hall, Cardiff

o   2006               Production Grant for Solo Exhibition, Arts Council of Wales

o   2003               Commission for Explorations, National Botanic Garden of Wales

o   2003               Creative Wales Award. Arts Council of Wales

o   2000               Individual Artists’ Bursary, Arts Council of Wales

o   1998               Oppenheim John-Downes Memorial Award

o   1993               IBM Art in Technology Award

o   1992               Henry Moore Foundation Scholarship, Royal College of Art


2013-14            Angles of Incidence          Singapore Botanic Garden & Inner Temple, London

2014                 A Million Trees for New York  Grand Central Station & High Line, New York, USA

2014                 Encounters at the Edge of the Forest  University of Illinois, Chicago, USA

2013                 Cloth & Memory {2}          Salts Mill, Saltaire             

2011 – 2012     Bite-Size: Miniature Textiles from Japan and the UK

Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, London; GalleryGallery, Kyoto, Japan; Nagoya University of Arts and Science, Japan

2011              Nature Unframed               Morton Arboretum, Chicago. USA

2006             Sense in Place                    Site-ations, Reykjavik, Iceland

2005             Anima                                  B312, Montreal, Canada

2005             Philippa Lawrence & Reiko Aoyagi     House of Art, Cseke Budejovice Czech Republic

2001             Glow                                     Artspace, Sydney, Australia

2000             In Our Hands                       5th International Soft Sculpture Exhibition, Kyoto

1996-8          Revelation                            Maidstone Gallery, Leighton House, Barbican & Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto, Japan


2006-7                     Philippa Lawrence    Oriel Davies, Newtown & Glynn Vivian, Swansea

2001                        Glow                          Glynn Vivian Museum & Art Gallery, Swansea


2019                   The Clearing                                    bo.lee, London

2018-19              Materiality: Provisional States       Hestercombe Gallery, Cheddon Fitzpaine

2018                   Whispering Colour                          bo.lee, London

2018                    250th Summer Exhibition               Royal Academy of Art

2018                    Out of Site                                         Spike Open, Bristol

2017-18               Nature’s Alchemy                             bo.lee, London

2017-18               A Darker Thread                                Oriel Myrddin, Ruthin Crafts Centre

2013                      Cloth and Memory 2                        Salts Mill, Saltaire

2012                       Sub-Woofer                                      Spike Island, Bristol

2010                       Celebrating Paper                            Royal West Academy, Bristol

2009-10                  Tell it to the Trees                              Meadow Arts, Croft Castle, Leominster

2008                        Land                                                   Wales Millennium Centre

2008                        Welsh Artist of the Year St Davids Hall, Cardiff (Winner)

2008                        Through the Lens                             Invited Artist, RWA, Bristol

2004                        Mostyn Open                                    Oriel Mostyn, Llandudno

2003                        Explorations                                     National Botanic Garden of Wales

2003                        Insiders                                             Oriel Davies and tour

2002                        Like Gold Dust                                 Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham

2002                        Ffresh 3                                            Chapter & G39, Cardiff

2000                        Purchase Prize                                University of Glamorgan

1996-8                    Art Textiles 1                                     Bury St Edmunds Art Gallery & tour


Lawrence, P (2019) Materiality: Disclosed symposium with Irish poet and academic Cherry Smyth who wrote the exhibition catalogue essay. Sarah Bennett, Megan Calver and Philippa Lawrence spoke about approaches to making work born from extensive research for the site-based exhibition Materiality: Provisional States. February 2019. Hestercombe House.

Lawrence, P (2018) BEING HERE & BEING THERE: PULLING THREADS presented as part of Dialogues and Disclosures onim(materiality): Hestercombe Unfolds. September 2018. Hestercombe House.

Lawrence, P (2016) Re:Activating Space.  Paper delivered at symposium conceived and organised by Philippa Lawrence and Dr. Natasha Mayo. A series of invited speakers, presentations and workshops for Masters Students to experience a creative maker space.  Sept 2016. Cardiff School of Art & Design.

Lawrence, P (2014) Looking at Lace: Another Kind of Border presented at the Lace Symposium at Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, September 2014. Waddesdon Manor

Lawrence, P (2012) ‘Bound; the use of cloth as interface; exploring boundaries and concepts in relation to site and place’ presented at Outside’:  Activating Cloth to Enhance the Way We Live, University of Huddersfield ,?23 January 2012. Published by Cambridge Scholars in 2014.


Craft Magazine                                                  Maker in Focus, May 2013

Cloth & Memory {2}                                           UCA, ISBN: 978-0-9516950-7-4

Bite-Size                                                            UCA, ISBN: 978-0-9564160-9-4.

Embroidery Magazine                                       Article by Dr Jessica Hemmings: June 2008

Breaking Ground                                               Cywaith Cymru & Seren, 2007. ISBN: 1854113410

Site-ations. Sense in Place                               UWIC, 2007. ISBN: 978-1-905617-53-1

Re-imaging Wales                                             WAI & Seren, 2006. ISBN: 1854114069

Philippa Lawrence                                            Oriel Davies, 2006. ISBN: 187079799

Reiko Aoyagi & Philippa Lawrence                   House of Art, Cseke Budejovice. Catalogue 2006

Anima                                                                G39, Cardiff, Wales & B312, Montreal, Canada 2005

14th Mostyn Open                                            Oriel Mostyn. Exhibition catalogue. 2004

Insiders                                                             Oriel Davies Touring Exhibition Catalogue. 2004

Made in Wales                                                  Object Magazine, Australia. Issue 43. 2003

Explorations                                                      Cywaith Cymru. Catalogue.2003

Imaging Wales                                                  WAI. Publication 2003. ISBN: 9781854113498

Like Gold Dust                                                  Angel Row Gallery. Catalogue. 2002 ISBN:0905634578

Artist’s Story                                                     Artists’ Newsletter. November 2001

Art Textiles                                                        Exhibition catalogue. 1996. ISBN: 0952825600

Revelation                                                        Maidstone Gallery Exhibition catalogue. 1996