Born in Manchester in 1968. Studied silversmithing at Edinburgh College of Art (1985-91) and later sculpture at the Royal College of Art (1995-97). Her work defies neat categorization, as she straddles the fields of craft and sculpture, using any material, malleable or hard, found or created, that comes to her hand. The works she creates may be solitary figures, ironically idealized, scandalously parodied, transformed from animal to human or vice-versa, or interacting with another in some difficult-to-describe posture or activity, or yet taking part in some tableau setting of a familiar, puzzling or obscure-seeming ritual. Her work plays with definitions of art versus craft, with judgments of good or bad taste, with emotions of empathy or alienation, and all quite without any inhibition or restraint.
On graduating from Edinburgh College, she was awarded the first John Watson Prize for Art, with an exhibition at the City’s Gallery of Modern Art. After her sculpture studies at the Royal College she was awarded the Cheltenham Fine Art Fellowship to join the staff at the Cheltenham and Gloucester College of Art. She has held solo exhibitions at Manchester City Art Gallery (1999), the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2000), the Royal Academy, London (2002) and at the V & A Museum of Childhood, London (2012). She was elected a Royal Academician in 2014.