Artist Statement and Biography
Textile artist and arts educator, Pamela Penney particularly enjoys assisting others discover and develop their own unique creative voice while continuing to express her own. Pam incorporates traditional needle work techniques and materials in contemporary and unexpected ways to express her unique energy into the world. By using these methods of fiber crafts that historically were considered “women’s work” in new and non-traditional ways, she gives them the respect and reverence of artwork, and thereby brings balance to the feminine and masculine energy within herself and her work. She also aspires to inspire her students to express this creative energy balance as well, learning traditional sewing, knitting, crocheting, felting, and dying techniques that can be both practical skills in life as well as a means to artistic expression. Pam has a desire to balance her solo studio time working on her artwork with the collaboration of fellow artists in the Oak Park Arts District and her time mentoring and sharing her skills with her students. Pam offers private lessons to adults as well as children and is the Director and an instructor for the Oak Park Arts District’s Children Art Camp Program as well as working with the Oak Park Education Foundations Art Start Program and other outside teaching opportunities. Pam feels her most important skill in teaching is her unlimited patience. She has created a peaceful respite for her students giving them the opportunity to follow their own interests as she guides them through the creative process, where every mistake is looked upon as either a good learning opportunity or a chance to develop creative problem solving skills.
Pam’s own artwork includes one of a kind art to wear created with salvaged cashmere, woolens and hand-dyed yarns used with knitting and crochet techniques and unique embellishments. She also creates textile wall hangings that combine mixed media and fiber art techniques. Pam is currently working with using embroidery, needle-lace and felting techniques on the surface of her acrylic painted canvases to create pieces with the texture, softness and feminine aspects of fiber in conjunction with the masculine foundation and structure of a traditional painting. In the future she hopes to have developed a body of work that includes a series of large scale canvases that would express the balance of her feminine and masculine energies. For Pam, life is her work of art and her art is her work of life.
B.A. Interior Design, Michigan State University 1985
A.A.S. Architectural Technology, Ferris State University 1982
Pamela Penney worked in the field of architecture for many years but gravitated back to her love of fiber in the early 1990’s as she strived to balance career with motherhood. She has taught knitting, sewing, crocheting and felting for over 25 years to both adults and children. As an active member of her community, Pam works out of her studio in the Oak Park Arts District where she is currently a board member of the Arts Districts Business Association. She has been a member of the Visit Oak Park board and served as the Vice Chair from January 2012 – December 2013. Pamela is also a juried member of the Illinois Artisan Program and the Textile and Fiber Art List (Tafalist.com) and is a member of the Surface Design Association. Her blog shares her experiences in the studio with her students, her artistic process and her life as a mother, wife and world explorer. She shares her expression of life as a work of art at www.pamelapenney.wordpress.com.