Artist of the Month 2016

November: Jo Lathwood

Image: Iron Moon, Iron Diamond and Lava Plug, 2016. (Cast Iron, Acrylic glass, Volcanic glass, Blacken plaster, Valchromat). Photo courtesy of Paul Blakemore.

Our Artist of the Month feature aims to promote artists' work and raise issues in a quick, informal way. November's Artist of the Month is Jo Lathwood.


Hello Jo, what do you do?

I’m a sculptor and installation artist with a curiosity about process, materials and play. My work ranges from large wooden installations to objects made from lava.

Where are you based?

I’m based in the sculpture studios at Spike Island in Bristol and have been there for about two years. I think I might spend more time in my studio than I do in my house. Studio spaces have always been really important to me and I spend a lot of time designing and building mezzanine and storage units so I can use the space in a variety of ways. I also co-run a bronze foundry called Ore and Ingot which is half based in Fishponds and half travelling, so I end up working in many different places.

What’s the best thing about your work space?

For the first time in my career I’m close to having all the types of environment I need to work in one place. I.e. a warm place to do computer admin and applications / wood and metal workshops / a space to draw / a space to experiment. If I had to choose one thing it would be the height of my studio. Tall spaces create a spaciousness that I find inspiring and it means I can build interesting structures - I love a good mezzanine!

What does 'success' mean to you?

Success means happiness. When I’m making a work I really believe in a sensation a bit like an adrenaline rush takes over. A moment of clarity appears and something you have done serendipitously works and communicates to somebody without the need for words.

Do you earn a living from making art?

Depends… being an artist is definitely my full time job but the financial side fluctuates depending on what projects I’m working on. I’m at a stage in my career now where I can survive without a part-time job. I also work as a freelance fabricator and on projects with Ore and Ingot. Also as a note, I am pretty frugal. I spend most of my money on facilitating creative activity rather than material objects.

What makes a good artwork?

One that provides a platform for an emotion, discussion, or reaction.

What have you been up to recently?

I just finished an exhibition called A Solid Above at the Hardwick Gallery at Gloucester University, with Solveig Settemsdal. It explored different materials and processes, and was the first exhibition with Settemsdal. We both enjoyed working together as our practices really compliment each other. It was also the culmination of a year of my research into using lava as a sculptural material in an ongoing project called Is It Magma?

What have you got coming up?

On 5 November I’ll be part of a free public open day at the Institute of Making at UCL, which focuses on geology, and I’ll be talking about the Is It Magma? project. Later in the year I’ll also be showing some of the lava sculptures in Bristol University's Wills Memorial building. 

I have also started a new off-shoot business with David Snoo Wilson (Ore and Ingot’s other director) called Bespoke Wedding Bells where we will cast unique bells for newly weds at their ceremony.

I also want to get to a volcano, so currently quite busy working out how I could do that!



Jo Lathwood is a sculptor and installation artist, born in 1984, and based in Bristol. She studied at the University of Brighton, gaining a First Class Degree in Fine Art Sculpture. She has shown work in galleries around the UK and internationally, and taken part in numerous residency programmes and biennials in the USA, Canada, France, Belgium and Austria. In 2012, she became the co-director of Ore and Ingot, an artist-led fine art bronze foundry in Bristol. Process, materials and environment are a regular inspiration for her practice.

Twitter: @jolathwood

Facebook: Jo Lathwood


What's On

The Artizan Garden Salon Open Show

7 Lucius Street

Friday 02 February 2018 – Sunday 23 December 2018

Portrait Art Sessions

The Old School, Newent Road, Highnam, Gloucester, GL2 8DG

Wednesday 25 April 2018 – Wednesday 19 December 2018

Workshops at The Guild at 51

The Guild at 51, 51 Clarence Street, Cheltenham, GL50 3JT

Thursday 03 May 2018 – Monday 31 December 2018

Visual Arts South West

Working towards a South West where talented artists thrive, and a resilient and connected visual arts ecology that inspires more engaged and diverse audiences to value and advocate for its work.

Part of the Contemporary Visual Arts Network

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