Andy Goldsworthy was born in Cheshire in 1956 and was brought up in Yorkshire. He studied at Bradford College of Art (1974-75) and Preston Polytechnic (1975-78).
After leaving college Goldsworthy lived in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria. He moved over the border to Langholm, Dumfriesshire, in 1985 and to Penpont one year later. This gradual drift northwards was due to a way of life over which he did not have complete control. However, contributing factors were opportunities and desires to work in these areas and reasons of economy.
Throughout his career most of Goldsworthy's work has been made in the open air, in places as diverse as the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District, Grize Fiord in the Northern Territories of Canada, the North Pole, Japan, the Australian outback, St Louis, Missouri and Dumfriesshire. The materials he uses are those to hand in the remote locations he visits: twigs, leaves, stones, snow and ice, reeds and thorns. Most works are ephemeral but demonstrate, in their short life, Goldsworthy's extraordinary sense of play and of place. The works are recorded as photographs. Book publication is an important aspect of Andy Goldsworthy's work: showing all aspects of the production of a given work, each publication is a work of art in its own right.
Some recent sculpture has a more permanent nature, being made in stone and placed in locations far from its point of origin, as for example chalk Arches made at Sculpture at Goodwood in 1995 are semi-permanent, given the fragility of the material, and are now sited indoors at Goldsworthy's studio in Dumfriesshire, to extend their life.