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Textiles (MA)

Joanne Lamb

Joanne Lamb is an Irish artist based in London specialising in woven textiles, often incorporating basketry techniques to create one off artworks. Driven by the desire to connect with and preserve the beauty of nature, by tuning into the cycles and seasons she hopes to communicate what the planet has given us, and inspire a deeper appreciation of the natural world.

Following a successful career of fifteen years in textile design, Joanne wanted to focus her efforts on hand-crafted objects. The convenience of consumerism has made everything too easy. The lack of attention to detail and little understanding of where things come from has made her want to refocus our attention back to nature.

Fascinated by the skill, imagination and knowledge of humans that have come before to make beautiful objects with plants, through weaving, twining, bending and dyeing, Joanne is in constant dialogue with the natural materials while she creates, allowing the work to develop organically, which will subtly change over time.

Her artworks are humble prompts for reconsidering sustainability and equity in our relations with the natural world. By viewing the world as a gift, and by giving people a moment to be in nature through art, it invites others to care for it and foster more community and reciprocity.

Joanne’s intention is that her work will point the way to a fairer and greener world, whilst providing a harmonious sense of place for rest and contemplation to take place. 

Degree Details

School of DesignTextiles (MA)RCA2023 at Battersea and Kensington

RCA Kensington, Darwin Building, Seventh floor

Joanne stands holding one her of handwoven baskets outside in a meadow. She is wearing a white top and has auburn hair.

Everybody needs beauty...places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike. JOHN MUIR

This quote is my personal mantra as I shift my artistic practice and establish myself as an artist. I believe that I, along with all living beings, deserve to enjoy the beauty of the natural world and that it has the power to heal and unite.

My work is based on my personal experiences but it is about all of us. I’m interested in who has access to nature spaces, in particular gardens within cities. Even though gardens are a human construct of the natural world, they allow for a breadth and depth of view which is a very different way of seeing when nature has otherwise been pushed to the edgelands.

Despite growing up on the beautiful island of Ireland, I didn’t have access to nature where I lived. I fell in love with nature in my teens - not through climbing trees but by discovering painters such as Monet, Van Gogh and Klimt who conjured up escapist worlds for me, and opened up my eyes to how magical gardens and flowers could be. I’m lucky to live close to Kew Gardens and I spend a lot of my time there, it fills my soul every time I go. 

I want to make art that invites others into the web of reciprocity. By viewing the world as a gift my intention is that it will motivate us to take better care of it. Conceiving of something as gift changes your relationship to it in a profound way even though the physical makeup of the thing has not changed. It makes you happy and it makes you accountable. Building and creating a sense of awe and wonder is key if we are to build respect and reverence for the living world.

A hand holds a small hand-woven vessel against a white background. The vessel is a mix of pink, green and brown threads.
A hand holds two small vessels side by side against a blue dress. The vessels are a mix of brown and green threads.

Imbolc collection : The seeds of spring are beginning to stir

Imbolc is an ancient Celtic holiday celebrating the very first stirrings of new life – the earliest breaths of spring. The celebrations historically honoured the goddess Brigid who represented womanhood, poetry, craft and prophecy. 

These delicate artworks have been inspired by my impressions and memories of spring rising, as energy is released from the Earth for us to enjoy and admire.

A group of five vessels are shown against a white background. The vessels are a mix of green, white, brown and purple tones.
A selection of handwoven vessels from the Imbolc collection
A tall green vessel is being stitched with yellow yarn. One of Joanne's hands hold the vessel whilst the other holds the needle
A hand holds a small vessel against a backdrop of an early evening meadow. The vessel is a mix of green and lilac threads.

I create from remembered landscapes which I carry with me - and remembered sensations of them, which of course become altered. I'm not trying to mirror nature but more convey the impression I've been left with.

Eight fabric swatches are tied with different coloured yarns and dried flower. The swatches are positioned in two rows of four.
An animated gif shows a selection of natural materials including fabrics and yarns in various colours derived from nature.
Spring's colours palette - fabrics and yarns naturally dyed with seasonal flowers
A group of five vessels are shown against a white background. The vessels are a mix of green, white, yellow and pink tones.
A group of five vessels are shown against a white background. The vessels are a mix of green, white, yellow and purple tones.

Even with the lengthening days spring feels like a fleeting season. This season like no other is greater than all of us. 

Joanne holds a white and green vessel outside in a spring meadow. She is wearing a white top and has auburn hair.
A hand holds a small pink and white vessel to the late evening golden hour sky.


Tatami paper yarn is hand-painted and woven with natural yarns including wool, silk, mohair and cotton dyed with nature's flora
A moodboard shows paintings, photographs and woven samples including an image of winter trees. The colours are shades of blue
A white and blue large vessel is photographed against a white background, highlighting the shadows its form creates.

After the winter

After months of turning inward, when winter offers hibernation and rest, the light begins to change with the promise and hope of spring to come. In a world filled with noise and chaos, the winter season can be a much needed opportunity to slow down and appreciate the beauty of the season in its quieter moments.

Whilst I watched the golden hour sky against the bare trees, I began exploring colour and structure in a series of vessels and off-loom making experiments. Fascinated by the ingenuity of humans in adapting plants to serve their needs, after grasping a few simple techniques I allowed the making in combination with the materials to lead the way.

Textile making is often taught through oral history in the same way as storytelling. We learn from each other and for as long as people have been making things by hand, they have been sharing stories through their handmade work.  Fellow makers have shared techniques and plant materials with me, demonstrating the generosity to be found as I embrace a more holistic way of making.

A selection of experimental samples are grouped together combining plants and yarns woven in a variety of techniques.
A selection of experiments exploring interlacing techniques; twining, looping, linking, random weave and braiding, combining textile & basketry materials together
A small basket woven with raffia and bundle dyed pink silk is photographed against a white backdrop.
A curved basket made from paper, wool and bundle dyed silks is photographed against a white backdrop.


Textiles and basketry materials are entwined together including bundle dyed silks, raffia, floristry wire and natural yarns
A long textured woven fabrics is draped in autumnal colours against a white background
Kew Gardens in autumn photograph - white flowers with green leaves are shown again an early evening sky

The beautiful changes : A portrait of place - Kew Gardens in autumn

In the autumn months, nature puts on a spectacular show as many trees and flowers have their final flourish before the dormant winter months. We are reminded that change is beautiful during this transitionary time and our perspective starts to shift. 

I spent many days observing the changes at Kew - imagining that I could be a bird flying above it all or a snail noticing the smaller details as Virginia Woolf explored in her short story 'Kew Gardens.' Kew is the perfect backdrop to provide moments of intermingling between human and natural worlds. 

Inspired by Impressionist painters such as Monet, many yarns are blended and dappled across the fabric to create an atmosphere of abundance and freedom. I also left space between the threads to let the light through and encourage contemplation. The threads dance around but they all come together to describe the landscape.

6 double pages of a sketchbook show fabric swatches which have been naturally dyed in green, blue, pink, yellow, purple and red
Pages from my natural dye colour library showing the range of colours and tones possible when dyeing with plants.
3 rows of bobbins are aligned showing different yarns in a variety of autumnal colours, against a white background
Six textured woven fabrics are suspended and layered together in autumnal colours against a white background


Natural fibre yarns including wool, mohair and silk are woven and manipulated to paint a portrait of Kew Gardens in autumn.

Coats Foundation Trust