Artist statement

My artwork explores nature and the theme of protection. It focuses on the small delicate details that I observe in the natural world that might sometimes be hidden or overlooked. I am inspired by the infinite complexity of microscopic patterns, the richness of natural textures and the composition of miniature habitats. These things fascinate me and fill me with a sense of awe.  I study this intricate beauty in forensic detail, sometimes magnifying the scale of those details through my work, to make them more visible. 

My work is both decorative and scientific, yet full of meaning which is intertwined with my own experiences. I am intrigued by museum collections and the process of ordering and storing specimens and motivated by my knowledge of how to care for, repair and prevent the decay of objects over time. These interests influence my choice of materials and the way in which I catalogue and display my work. My fragile plants are created from beeswax that lasts for hundreds of years and my delicate bees’ wings are etched from solid sheets of copper which oxidises to form its own protective surface. My works are named and numbered in sequences and housed in trays, boxes and domes to keep them in order and safe from harm.        

Through my artwork I aim to combine fragility and strength in a unique manner, to create beauty and communicate science, inspiring and encouraging others to observe and protect the natural world around them.    


Annette Marie Townsend is a Welsh artist, designer and maker from Cardiff.

After graduating with a BA (Hons) Design in 1995, she was employed by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales as a Scientific Artist. Her career at the museum extended over 20 years, during which time she produced illustrations for academic publications and three dimensional models and dioramas for gallery display. She also trained and qualified as a Natural Science Conservator, helping to preserve and care for the millions of botanical, geological and zoological specimens in the natural science collections.

Annette now works as a freelance artist from her urban garden studio in Cardiff, designing and making bespoke pieces inspired by the natural world. Her work expresses a fascination with intricate detail, beauty, pattern and textures and draws direct reference to her experience in preserving, documenting and storing scientific specimens in a museum context. She experiments with scale and uses her extensive knowledge of traditional and modern design materials to push boundaries, creating innovative new collections.

Her scientific drawings and sculptures are held in the collections of Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales and many of her models can been seen on permanent display in the public galleries at the National Museum Cardiff and Big Pit National Coal Museum. She is widely known for her expertise in wax botanical model making and has presented papers and demonstrations at the Royal College of Surgeons, Chelsea Physic Gardens and the Hay Festival.  She has produced commissioned work for many UK institutions including the National Botanic Garden of Wales, The Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, Manchester Museum, English Heritage and the BBC.

Mae Annette Marie Townsend yn artist, yn ddylunydd ac yn grefftwraig Gymreig sy’n byw yng Nghaerdydd.

Ar ôl graddio ym 1995 gyda gradd BA (Anrh.) Dylunio, aeth Annette i weithio i Amgueddfa Cymru fel Artist Gwyddonol. Dilynodd yrfa lwyddiannus yno am dros 20 mlynedd lle bu’n creu darluniau ar gyfer cyhoeddiadau academaidd yn ogystal â dioramâu a modelau tri dimensiwn i’w harddangos mewn orielau. Fe gymhwysodd hefyd yn Gadwraethydd y Gwyddorau Naturiol, gan gynorthwyo gyda’r gwaith o gadw a gofalu am y miliynau o sbesimenau botanegol, daearegol a sŵolegol sy’n perthyn i’r casgliadau gwyddorau naturiol.   

Mae Annette bellach yn gweithio fel artist llawrydd o’i stiwdio yng Nghaerdydd yn dylunio ac yn creu darnau unigryw sydd wedi’u hysbrydoli gan y byd naturiol. Mae ei gwaith yn dangos yn glir ei bod wedi’i swyno gan fanylion cywrain, gan harddwch a chan batrymau a gweadau. Wrth greu, aiff ati i dynnu ar ei phrofiadau uniongyrchol yn cadw, yn dogfennu ac yn storio sbesimenau gwyddonol yn yr amgueddfa. Mae’n mynd ati’n chwareus i arbrofi â deunyddiau o wahanol feintiau ac yn manteisio ar ei gwybodaeth arbenigol am ddeunyddiau dylunio traddodiadol a modern i wthio ffiniau er mwyn creu casgliadau newydd arloesol.  

Caiff ei darluniau a’i cherfluniau gwyddonol eu cadw yng nghasgliadau Amgueddfa Cymru ac mae nifer o’i modelau i’w gweld mewn arddangosfeydd parhaol yn orielau cyhoeddus Amgueddfa Genedlaethol Caerdydd ac yn Big Pit Amgueddfa Lofaol Cymru. Mae Annette yn adnabyddus am greu modelau botanegol cwyr ac mae hi wedi cyflwyno papurau ac wedi arddangos ei gwaith yng Ngholeg Brenhinol y Llawfeddygon, yng Ngherddi Chelsea Physic Gardens ac yng Ngŵyl Lenyddol y Gelli Gandryll . Mae hi hefyd wedi cael ei chomisiynu i greu darnau ar gyfer nifer o sefydliadau ledled y DU gan gynnwys Gardd Fotaneg Genedlaethol Cymru, Gerddi Botaneg Brenhinol Kew, Amgueddfa Manchester Museum, English Heritage a’r BBC.