The irregularities of nature inspire Penny’s art using clay as a media. The markings and patterns in her work are usually formed using natural elements such as driftwood and shells from the Gulf of Mexico beaches or even leaves fallen from the trees in her North-Dallas back yard.
Penny does occasionally throw bowls on her clay wheel, but prefers to hand-form bowls.
It’s in the Family
Each piece Penny creates tells a meaningful story, unique to her African roots. For example, turn over one of her heritage collection bowls and you will see a beautiful, intricate pattern achieved by imprinting a cloth that was hand-crocheted in the early 1900’s by Mary Maclachlan, her maternal grandmother of Stutterheim, South Africa. Mary crocheted late into her life until her eyesight failed.
Penny’s love for everything coastal is probably inspired by her paternal grandfather, Montague who lived in Gonubie, South Africa close to the Indian Ocean where he painted on canvas with oil paints. An example of his work from the 1940’s is “Umbungi” the Rain-Dancer. Montague met Umbungi the Rain-Dancer in Umtata and was so inspired by Umbungi’s presence that he painted a canvas over 3’ in size of Umbungi. This painting has Umbungi’s story behind the frame and hangs proudly in Penny’s home.
Penny hails from King William’s Town, South Africa, a few miles from the birthplace of Nelson Mandela. From an early age, she loved working with clay and started taking evening art classes as a young working adult. Penny moved from Africa to the USA and is now a proud American citizen. Prior to living in the Dallas area, Penny lived in Corpus Christi where she was an active member of the Barry Brown Clay Studio. Penny feels fortunate to have been mentored by Mr. Brown prior to his passing. Penny also served as a children’s clay art teacher at the Corpus Christi Art Center.
Penny’s clay studio is laid back and is usually occupied by several cats who enjoy napping in her bowls under construction.
Come visit with Penny at an upcoming event and see for yourself how much of her personality she forms into each of her unique, one-of-a-kind hand-crafted pieces.