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Lisa Cole

Lisa Cole’s research and practice revolves around making intangible things into solid objects. She captures the movement of nature in line and translates this into ceramic forms. Sound played through a drawing machine converts to 3 dimensional shapes so that songs or secrets can be held in the hand.

As a multi skilled designer and maker Lisa often prefers to work in collaboration with other artists and agencies. Recent collabs include a dementia engagement ArtBox with Bristol City Museums, a campaign to reduce litter on a major Bristol street and workshops for IKEA based around sustainability. Lockdown collaborations with poets resulted in Poetry Pots;  functional vessels that are made from the shapes of sound.

Lisa is currently running a commercial art gallery from a cardboard box and developing drawing machines to record moments in time as layers in form.


Rocket Pots

One of a kind, totally unique stoneware pots decorated by birds and the wind in my tiny Bristol garden.

The pot was hand thrown from white stoneware clay and colours were chosen to represent the temperature at the time of decoration. Blues are cooler, yellow warm and oranges and red the warmest.

The shape comes from the audiobooks I was listening to at the time of throwing. I have a love of 50’s and 60’s sci fi and I was working my way through Dimension X (Adventures in time and space told in future tense).

I have a series of lines, levers and sails in my garden that are connected to trees and bird feeders. If a bird lands or the wind blows this moves a found feather that is suspended over the pots. It is only through chance that the feather lands in the coloured glazes and oxides and it takes more luck for that to get transferred to the pots.

Each line and shape is a direct record of the movement of nature in a moment.

Visible and Tactile Sound

Visualising Sound often provides inspiration within art and design practice, however the potential of recording sound from a tactile as well as an aesthetic perspective is rarely investigated.

The Visible and Tactile Sound project turns sounds into patterns and objects which can be felt or held. Lisa Cole has invented and developed a machine as a tool to translate sound onto surfaces. The primary material used is clay although the project could be altered to draw with ink, paint or wet concrete.

Sound is spoken into or played via a mobile phone that acts as a microphone and amplifier. Using an Arduino as a graphic equaliser, different frequencies of sound make motors react instead of light. The motors control the speed and direction of a turntable (which holds the target object) and the height of a pendulum, which is fitted to deliver clay slip.

The shape the pendulum draws is altered by the rotation of the turntable. The resulting “record” of the sound can include raised lines and braille like dots.


Scientific breakthroughs are based on facts, precisely measured and analysed. Major philosophical theories are born from concepts and thought experiments. I suspect art lies somewhere in between.

I bake bread weekly and observed that the rising and falling of the sourdough starter echoed my creative thought process; a constant, respiratory movement that was eternal as long as it was fed with new ideas. This repetitive cycling happens in philosophy too. In The Divine Comedy, Dante travels down through Hell and upwards to Heaven passing through Purgatory on the way. This spiralling, rising and falling storyline is analogous to both the baking of bread and my personal design process. This cyclic movement was the starting point for investigation into the topic.

Ev'ry Bird

The Ev’ry Bird series of drawings capture moments in time through lines created by wildlife and weather.

Each original drawing takes 12 hours. They are made by a drawing machine that comprises a swinging platform with pens attached to a bird feeder. Every movement of birds and winds creates a movement, either of the paper or the pen.

In the daytime temperature changes of more than 2 degrees centigrade are celebrated with a change of colour. Windy days create stronger lines, calm days make for blots and intense ink work in particular areas.

At night the drawing machine is loaded up with a dark pen.

Tiny Cat Gallery

The Tiny Cat Gallery is a lockdown project inspired by a collaborative art exchange.

Playing with the idea of scale and accessibility, Lisa Cole has created a gallery in a cardboard box. To give a sense of perspective it is staffed and visited by small plastic cats.

The Tiny Cat Gallery has a season of events with a different artist every week scheduled until September.



  • Design MA, UWE Bristol  (2018 – PRESENT)
  • NVQ Assessor Award D32/33, City and Guilds. (2002)
  • 7307 Certificate in Adult Education, Workers Education Authority. (1997)
  • Design BA– Fashion and Textiles, UWE Bristol. (1993 – 1996)

  • Interdisciplinary collaboration as a catalyst for innovation 2019

  • Summer Scholarship, UWE Bristol. (2019)

  • Design Thinking for Innovation – University of Virginia School of Business (2019)
  • Enterprise Design Thinking Practitioner – IBM (2018)
  • Search Engine Optimization Fundamentals – University of California, Davis (2017)
  • Introduction to Search Engine Optimization – University of California, Davis (2017)
  • Strategy of Content Marketing – University of California, Davis (2016)
  • Viral Marketing and How to Craft Contagious Content – Coursera (2016)
  • Advertising and Society – Coursera (2015)
  • Permaculture Design Course – Bristol Permaculture Group (2003)