Lorna Johnson ― To earmark

Lorna Johnson is bringing this exhibition together as part of her practice-led PhD at the University of Leeds.

To earmark looks to bring together her practice-led PhD thinking and making process so far.

Lorna Johnson's research aims to unpick the relationship we have with collectively kept, hidden and lost objects discovered as hoards, focusing on hoards found in Yorkshire.

Her research practice starts with making small object pieces, in response to her hoard research. She terms these pieces her small makes, an ongoing production of work which are her visual markers and can be seen as preliminary drawings. Physically some of these objects are made and others are found.  Some feel finished in their own right; physically and the thinking behind these creations and other less so. Some will and have led to a bigger piece, a selection of which are included in this exhibition and others not, at least not yet. They are hanging loose threads waiting for their next connection, their next object to lead them into another visual marker or more substantial piece.

Johnson would like the viewer to take the time to think about the materiality of the objects and how and why they might have been chosen to be kept.  Through the exhibition, she will consider why and do we value certain materials and objects over others?


Lorna Johnson is an artist living and working in Leeds. She is currently undertaking a practice-led PhD in the School of Fine Art, History of Art and Cultural Studies at the University of Leeds.

Working predominantly to make artist-made objects, sculptural installations/assemblages and collage, Johnson’s work is inclusive and experimental. Whilst there is a respect for the traditions of the techniques, she strives to offer a refreshing open approach to the materials and methods that might be utilised.

Her instinct as an artist is to cherrypick and she sees this as part of her role as an artist. She is drawn to objects and materials where the monetary value is questionable: materials, objects, trades etc. that could be perceived as more disposable and non-precious i.e. it’s not made of gold, something else can replace it, not usually kept for long, there’s only a scrap left. 

Visually this is explored through the combinations of materials and quantities of items that she chooses to use and make, and the association's people may have with both material and object. This is currently taking a central role to the research she is conducting as part of her practice-led research Yorkshire Hoards – Understanding the objective/ subjective value of the objects we continue to earmark, lay, maintain, stow, put away through the artist’s edit.

Johnson exhibits both nationally and internationally.

Venue and opening hours

Project Space
School of Fine Art, HIstory of Art and Cultural Studies
University Road
University of Leeds
Leeds LS2 9JT

Private view: Thursday 11 July, 6-8pm
Open to the public Tuesday to Friday, 10am to 5pm


Natural State - silver ingots (a small make). Image courtesy of Lorna Johnson.