I’m a landscape architect and gardener and I’ve been designing and making gardens for nearly twenty years. I’ve made urban gardens, rural gardens, roof gardens and green roofs. I’ve grown plants for as long as I can remember, including a collection of bonsai.
In bonsai, tree and container combine to form a living sculpture which is more than a plant in a pot. The bonsai expresses the unique character of the tree, and with the use of rocks, moss and small plants, locates it in a landscape. In nature too, plants are always integral to a specific place. They form and respond to its unique conditions and speak about its climate, geology and history, natural and human.
When I needed new pots for my bonsai, I had ideas for new and different forms of ceramic vessels. I started learning to make my own because I couldn’t find what I had in mind. Not long after that, I moved from London to Berlin. In Berlin I developed my hand-building ceramic skills further. Inspired by the ruined buildings, overgrown pavements and overgrown wastelands throughout the city, I started breaking the edges and corners of the perfect geometric forms I made. Built forms undergoing erosion and decay, weeds poking between cobblestones, trees growing out of the windows and roofs of abandoned houses – these things are rich in accidental beauty. For me, this industrial nature - visible all around us in vacant lots, weed-infested verges and forgotten corners of cities - is as full of inspiration as the timeless ‘unspoilt’ nature that classical bonsai evokes.
In 2017 I spent three months in Los Angeles as artist-in-residence at the Tom of Finland Foundation. Here amongst the endlessly inspiring cultural and botanical diversity of LA, I worked in an open-air studio to make a array of vessels for plants. This planted sculptural array represented the intersection of the natural and human histories of the city. I carved some of the vessels with forms and patterns I found exploring Los Angeles: cracks, erosion channels and the street grid.
I returned to the Tom of Finland Foundation in 2018 to make a monument as a permanent installation in the garden there.
I now live on the Mediterranean coast of Spain. I continue to explore and develop my ceramic work as well as the landscape design work I’ve been doing for many years. I want to fuse plants, sculpture and landscape to make new forms of planters for interior and exterior spaces. More than plants in pots, these ceramic landscape sculptures are a scaled down form of landscape design.
MA English Literature, Cambridge University
MA Garden Design, University of Wales
MA Landscape Architecture, University of Sheffield
Publications and awards
Landscape Institute Award for Student Dissertation 2010
Rowland Byass (2010): From public garden to corporate plaza: Piccadilly Gardens and the new civic landscape, Journal of Landscape Architecture, 5:1, 72-83
Wastelands and Weeds: Spontaneous Vegetation and the Experience of Place in Contemporary Berlin, in Heaney, Gwen (editor) (2017) The Post-Industrial Landscape as Site for Creative Practice, Newcastle
2017 Cracks in the Grid, 669 N Berendo St, Los Angeles, CA, USA
2018 Broken, 6 Calle de Sequia, Altea, Alicante, Spain