Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Penny Berens In The Middle Of The World

Whispering Cairns
plant dyes on silk, wool, cotton, linen
 hand stitched  35 x 49 inches 2019

Chasing the Moon
plant dyes on damask, silk, cotton
hand stitched 40 x 50 inches 2020

Penny's artist statement for this new body of work begins with these words:  "For many years now I have taken to heart the words of Peter London in his book ‘Drawing Closer to Nature"

Resting Between Tides
  plant dyes and discharge on silk, wool, cotton, linen
hand stitched  43 x 42.5 inches 2019

“Find a portion of the world that is close at hand and adopt it. Become acquainted with it. Draw closer to it by staying with it over a long course of time. In all seasons, all times of the day, all weathers, all circumstances of your own life. The more often you return to this chosen portion of Nature, the more finely you will be able to perceive its more delicate features, as well the slow-to-emerge pattern and rhythms.”    Peter London

Resting Between Night and Day
plant dyes and discharge on silk, cotton, linen, wool,
hand stitched 2019 43 x 49 inches

Holding Deep Memory
hand stitch and shibori on reclaimed denim dress and old table linen
 44.5 x 39.5 inches 2021

Woodland Berries
plant dyes on silk, wool, cotton 
hand stitched 43 x 42 inches 2019

My process starts with daily wanderings in the wooded coastal landscape of Nova Scotia,  slowly becoming more and more familiar with those seasonal rhythms and changing patterns.  Penny Berens

from left to right 
A Stream Runs Through It, The Edge of the Woods, Woodpeckers Live Here
Plant dyes on cotton, silk, wool, hand stitched.
various sizes, approximately 21 x 15 or 20 inches 2015

When Autumn Leaves Fall 
plant dyes on silk, linen, cotton
hand stitched,  30 x 24 inches 2017

During the warmer months these walks become foraging expeditions for dye stuff with which to colour the fabrics I use. This plant dyed cloth is then hand stitched and embroidered in response to these walks.
Penny Berens

Walking on Stoney Ground
plant dye and rust on linen, cotton, silk, wool
hand stitched 29.9 x 24 inches 2019

Stoney Island Memories 
plant dye on linen, cotton, silk, wool
hand stitched  42.9 x 31.5 inches 2019

Working by hand is a slow and tactile practice spread over long periods of time which deepens and clarifies my understanding of the story the piece wishes to tell.   Penny Berens

Beaver Moon Dreaming
plant dye and discharge on cotton and linen
hand stitched  43.3 x 43.3 inches 2020

I would hope that my process and the final embroideries inspire others to slow down and become inspired by daily observations in their own chosen landscapes. (Penny Berens)

Chasing The Moon
hand stitch on silk, cotton, damask
40 x 50 inches 2020

Dancing In The Wind 
plant dyes on linen, silk velvet, cotton, wool
hand stitched 41.5 x 31 inches  2020

Walking With Dogs
plant dyes on silk, cotton, wool
hand stitched 53 x 12 inches x 2 panels, 2021

Currently on display until December 18, 2021, the venue for this exhibition is a unique heritage building.  The Mississippi Valley Textile Museum used to be a woolen mill, located in the small Ontario town of Almonte and the waterfall that powered the old mill still flows through this town.  Please note that the walls behind many of Penny's wall pieces are original to this mill.   Like most textile art, it is nice to see details.  Please visit oPenny's Tanglewoods Thread blog or instagram to see close ups of Penny's work.  

In The Middle Of The World is a two person exhibition with Judy Martin, guest curated by our dedicated young freelance curator, Miranda Bouchard.    A post about Judy's work in the exhibition is on Judy's Updates, click here