Penny Simons

My work is fundamentally rooted in an exploration of materials in as direct a way as possible. I find that during this manipulation ideas gestate and eventually, usually, find a resolution. Iʼve learned to trust this process and allow the time it takes, but also to admit when an answer canʼt be found. In this way particular themes seem to evolve, over which I have control to a greater or lesser extent!

So, in brief, my practice is an organic process growing from the kernel of an idea which develops through the manipulation of (mainly 2D) materials. Unexpected pairings can produce visually and conceptually interesting results. I found watching the process of making silk (by the silkworm) unexpectedly triggered links with other repetitive actions which produce a gradual emergence of something new. This echoed an interest in the growth of limestone - literally the ground beneath our feet - and its beginning as a gradual erosion and accumulation of sediment; rubbish fixed by time (and heat and weight) into something new, stable and permanent. Investigating these thoughts led me to twisting silk fibres by hand until I had a line of 140 meters- ʻmeasuringʼ the age of the stone.

Making paper is another fixation: the transformation of threads which can fold, hold, support, and sometimes smother. My paper is not pretty. It contains remains: bones of small animals; hair; spiders. It encases. At the moment Iʼm working on using it as a collage element to investigate links between internal systems (rivers; arteries; sinews; energies) human and landscape. Still gestating, Iʼm not yet sure how this (tentatively called ʻBody of Work) will turn out.