After leaving college, Goldsworthy lived in Yorkshire, Lancashire and Cumbria. In 1985, he moved to Langholm in Dumfries and Galloway, Dumfriesshire, Scotland, and a year later to Penpont. It has been said that his gradual drift northwards was "due to a way of life over which he did not have complete control", but that contributing factors were opportunities and desires to work in these areas and "reasons of economy".
In 1993, he received an honorary degree from the University of Bradford. He is currently an A.D. White Professor-At-Large at Cornell University.
Andy Goldsworthy is the subject of a 2001 documentary feature film called Rivers and Tides, directed by Thomas Riedelsheimer.
Photography plays a crucial role in his art due to its often ephemeral and transient state. According to Goldsworthy, "Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its heights, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit."
Goldsworthy produced a commissioned work for the entry courtyard of San Francisco's De Young Museum called "Drawn Stone", which echoes San Francisco's frequent earthquakes and their effects. His installation included a giant crack in the pavement that broke off into smaller cracks, and broken limestone, which could be used for benches. The smaller cracks were made with a hammer adding unpredictability to the work as he created it.
The materials used in Andy Goldsworthy's art often include brightly coloured flowers, icicles, leaves, mud, pinecones, snow, stone, twigs, and thorns. He has been quoted as saying, "I think it's incredibly brave to be working with flowers and leaves and petals. But I have to: I can't edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole." Goldsworthy is generally considered the founder of modern rock balancing. For his ephemeral works, Goldsworthy often uses only his bare hands, teeth, and found tools to prepare and arrange the materials; however, for his permanent sculptures like Roof, Stone River and Three Cairns, Moonlit Path (Petworth, West Sussex, 2002) and Chalk Stones in the South Downs, near West Dean, West Sussex, he has also employed the use of machine tools. To create Roof, Goldsworthy worked with his assistant and five British dry-stone wallers, who were used to make sure the structure could withstand time and nature.
I like the Goldsworthy's idea of using metals directly from the nature. It seems as if he is part of the nature, but aren't we all? Despite the principle limiting him from using artificial products, the works he produced have a quality of calmness and really fits in the wild, which I think is quite poetic in a way.