As a working-class girl, receiving free school dinners, I studied art history. Having never had the chance to visit art galleries, I devoured the knowledge, and it has served me well as a practising artist.
I was involved in a serious accident driving in torrential rain at midnight in Cardiff. I was only doing five miles an hour, but because I couldn't see very well, I crossed a junction and collided with another car that was driving very fast. I ended up in hospital for six weeks with a shattered pelvis.
A lot of my work has been about stuff I've been frightened of: cliffs, explosions, meteorites, that kind of stuff. I would have been this trembling blob of fear if I hadn't got into making art, which is a good way of deferring it.
I think design means, for me, almost when man, back in time, decided to do something conscious. You know... to shape something and make something different from just using things that were lying around. So whoever designed the wheel were onto a good thing.
My mother became mentally unwell with schizophrenia when I was in my teens... We couldn't watch television because she thought the people on TV were sending her messages. She thought there were hidden cameras everywhere, so we had to have the curtains drawn.
There's only a couple of coffee cups I'll use, because I like the way they feel in my hand. I realise I've got lots of others, but I won't use them because I just don't like... the thickness of the ceramic is too much, or the glaze isn't right.
I didn't really know what I was looking at when I first came across Man Ray's 'Dust Breeding,' his photograph of a work by Marcel Duchamp called 'Large Glass.' It looked like an aerial photograph or a view through a microscope.
I started doing sculpture rather than painting. I was halfway through my degree, and I hadn't really done any introduction courses in sculpture... I'd missed all the technical stuff. I didn't really know how to weld or forge or carve or model. I'd sort of evaded all those technique classes, so I had no technique.
Maybe it's my Catholic upbringing - I grew up thinking that Armageddon was just around the corner - now I know it is, with global warming and all. I can keep it at bay by doing the work. It's a sort of reverse sympathetic magic. I'm always doing it so it doesn't happen to me.
Artists and scientists are very close. They always have been, but I think we've just been divided out over the last few centuries into specialisms. Leonardo da Vinci was drawing helicopters and all kinds of things. We're artificially divided. I think we're closer than we think we are.
Who thought it would be a good idea to undermine art in the school curriculum? Who thought studying the history of our visual culture was a waste of time? Who thought that only private schools should have that privilege? Was it someone who said we don't need experts?
Our cultural industries are our biggest export, our biggest manufacturing base. Every pound spent on art education brings disproportionately large returns. It's the biggest bang for our buck. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. In fact, the more you put in, the greater the successes for the U.K. economy.
What was the most important thing I learned from Chomsky? That capitalism compels us to work ourselves to death in order to stuff our houses with things we don't need. Perhaps this is one thing art can do: create a new aesthetic, one of austerity.
Being a sculptor who uses found objects, all the objects I use in my work have been designed by other people. So I'm tweaking them in some way by squashing them or throwing them off cliffs! Then I formalise my damage by suspending them or arranging them in some kind of way. So I'm using other people's design in a way, so I'm an 'un-maker.'
I think my work is like a spiral: you keep coming back on yourself, but you're at a different place. It's like reading 'Nineteen Eighty-Four' every five years. You realise that some things have caught up.
I do think there is a link between the accidental art the sciences produce and the deliberate art the artist creates, but I can't help feeling that the innocence of the accidental art of science has a power and curious beauty that artists are hard-pressed to match.