Margaret Ashman read Physics at Oxford and had a brief career as a Physicist. While her children were still young she returned to studying first for a Fine Art degree at the University of Hertfordshire and then for a Printmaking MA at Brighton, graduating in 2005. She is currently Chairman of the Printmakers Council of Great Britain and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Painter Printmakers. She curates and project manages exhibitions such as the British International Mini Print and the RE Open.
Her art practice stems from the notion that sign language and gesture have a particular resonance because of their origins as the roots of language. Her photo etchings are derived from photographs of deaf models signing or performing sign dance.
She was artist in residence at the Guanlan Print Base, Shenzhen, China in 2009, where she later received an international art prize in 2011. Her work has been included in major exhibitions such as the International Print Triennial MTG Krakow (2009) and the Beijing International Art Biennale (2012). Her work is held in international collections including the Guandong Museum of Art, the Penang State Museum and the Ashmolean Museum.