PENNY BURNFIELD

Artist, Gardener, Writer

About

Formerly a Doctor, in the 1990s I took a degree in Textiles as Fine Art and I am now an artist working with a mixture of different media. I also have a long-standing interest in gardening, especially in design and planting. I enjoy writing articles about all my pursuits and these have been featured in various publicatiions.

There is always a thread of history that runs through my art work - though this is very varied. I have used fossils, museums (especially natural history and medical museums), the history of science (alchemy), personal and family histories, art history, archives . . . now I'm looking at geology and archaeology.

Currently I am interested in how the landscape has been changed by our ancestors, so I am reading up on archaeological practice and prehistory, visiting museums, looking at aerial photographs and maps, and watching Time Team. I go for walks, visit sites, take photographs, maybe I shall even do some digging. I don't know where it will lead - I prefer to 'travel hopefully".

At the same time I continue to experiment with materials and techniques - seeing how far I can push them or combine them - exciting things happen at the edges. This creative play is informed by the ideas at the back of my mind, so interesting things occur, and I can build on them. I don't draw much, but I write down my ideas - to achieve a focus.

I like to keep extending my practice - I have just started learning about pottery - it's central to archaeology - I was introduced to paper-clay on a recent course - now I am looking at current experimental ceramic practice, and having a go myself.

Real inspiration comes when several elements come together in a sudden, revelatory moment - when the various circles begin to overlap - current interests - past work - practical ways of making visible the ideas that are forming - the connections between things.

Gardening forms a useful counterpoint to Art, a time to meditate, to let ideas develop in the subconcious, as well as the benefits of exercise and fresh air! I find parallels between the two: my garden is quite structured, subverted by the randomness of planting, and both often use an element of repetition to make an impact.

If you would like to know more about how I became involved with art, click on the following link:
An Accidental Artist

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