Joslyn Tilson was born in Edinburgh in 1934 and from 1934 to 1951 she lived in Cumberland, Yorkshire and New Jersey. From 1951 to 1955 she studied sculpture at the Bath Academy of Art under Kenneth Armitage and Bernard Meadows. In 1955 she was awarded an Italian government traveling scholarship enabling her to study under Marino Marini at the Brera in Milan.
From 1956 to 1958 Tilson studied at the British School in Rome and then traveled throughout Spain and Italy. She lived and worked in London from 1958 until 1972 when she started AIR with Bridget Riley and Peter Sedgley. During this time she also edited and published the magazine, “Catalyst”.
In 1972 Tilson moved from London and began dividing her time between Wiltshire and Tuscany. In 1982 she began studying with the potter, Nino Caruso in Italy and in 1984 she taught ceramics to sculptors and painters at the Cheltenham School of Art. Since 1999 Tilson has been living and working in Italy.