Wilding's early works are multi-media installations, but she is best known for her later abstract sculptures which use a wide variety of materials: as well as traditional materials such as wood, stone and bronze, she has used steel, wax, silk and other materials. These are often used in unusual combinations: Stormy Weather (1987), for example, is made from pigment, beeswax and oil rubbed into galvanised steel.
In 1991, a major retrospective of Wilding's work, Alison Wilding: Immersion – Sculpture from Ten Years, was held at Tate Liverpool. She was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1992, and made a Royal Academician in 1999. Her only large-scale public artwork "Ambit" was installed in the River Wear at Sunderland in 1999, taking the form of a necklace of stainless-steel tubes floting in the river, and lit up from underwater at night. It was subsequently exhibited in the Manchester Ship Canal and is now in storage.