2023 In Review- 1st Quarter

We are well into the month of January 2024 and as I plan and set intentions for my year ahead I can't help but look back on the previous year. Well actually it isn't in my nature to look back, but I am making an effort to this year. It is more my tendency to forget what I accomplished and only strive to do more, or to tell myself that I didn't do enough. But as I look back I realize that 2023 was a pretty productive year and I am proud of the work I did. So, in order to appreciate it myself and to put it out for others to see I am going to be posting a review of 2023- three months at a time. This is my January through March 2023 installment.

January 2023

The start of a new tapestry (c) pamela penney 2023

I began the year by warping a loom for a tapestry I titled "Sunset on Rush Lake". I was inspired by a photo I took in Michigan in the summer of 2022. Stay tuned for the completed images of this tapestry coming in the August 2023 review.

My pup Stormy loves to oversee my work and keep me company on cold January days at the loom!

January always brings plenty of time at the spinning wheel and I completed several custom orders for art yarn that I sold through my Etsy Shop.  I also experimented with using the salvaged greens from leeks left over from a warm winter soup. This little tapestry utilized leeks with my hand-spun flax yarns. It ended up being very fragile so I later added encaustic wax to preserve the leek fibers. I also stitched up a few lap blankets with salvaged cashmere saved from old sweaters. These are currently for sale at Local Goods Chicago where I have an ongoing display of my work.  And I wrapped up the month of January by hanging several of my tapestries on display at Kettlestrings Restaurant in Oak Park, IL. along side the work of Karen Schuman.


I continued to weave on the Sunset Tapestry through February. I made good progress. February was also the perfect time to repair my Crispina ffrench sweater that I have owned for about 20 years. I loved playing with the little darning tool and giving this sweater that has inspired my work in salvaged textiles.

The last seven days of February were the start of the 100 Day Project, an annual global art project that challenges participants to create for 100 days and post their progress and process on social media. I chose for 2023 to "Weave Wonder" and created 100 daily weavings. These are the first seven weavings.


I started the Month of March celebrating my birthday and woke up the following morning sick with covid. It slowed me down a little bit, but I was able to keep up with the 100 day project. I completed 31 more weavings through the month and they can be seen better here on Instagram.


I also started and completed a weaving that utilized my hand-spun paper yarn. It was finished with a coat of encaustic wax. This was my statement regarding "There Must Be Some Way Outta Here".

We as a community will only be able to overcome our systemic issues when we address and correct the historic practices that influence our neighborhoods today. The practice of redlining from decades ago is a prime example. Redlining was the practice of banks marking with a red line the “hazardous” neighborhoods and determining them not worthy of loans. This led to Black communities missing out on owning property and accruing generational wealth after they were forced to stay in the hazardous neighborhoods, reinforcing segregation. The shadows of red-lining continue to influence and affect our blighted neighborhoods. There must be some way we can come back together to co-create and manifest an authentic community that benefits ALL.

I also had time to spin several more skeins of art yarn for use in my weavings and for sale on my Etsy Shop. And I wove a "Vessel" utilizing my hand-spun paper and wool with wire core art yarns. I have been exploring basketry techniques, so this vessel was a foray into a new direction for me!


That finishes off the first three months of 2023. I've enjoyed looking back on what I was working on a year ago and I hope you have too. It has helped to remind me of ideas I had that I still want to pursue as well as some of the inspirations from the 100 Days of Weaving Wonder that I want to explore further. Keep following along as I will be sharing the rest of 2023 in the days to come!



1 Comment

  1. Fran on January 23, 2024 at 7:33 pm

    I really enjoyed reading Pamela.

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