Thursday, March 17, 2016

Penny Berens' Daily Scratchings

 This post is about Penny Berens of Nova Scotia Canada and her amazing Daily Scratchings.
"The section above starts with the woodpecker stitched on October 2nd, 2012 and then the next day, a depiction of a trip up the Annapolis Valley to see the eye doctor.  For the 4th, I did that line of looped stitches, representing a day spent with the group of stitchers and hookers called 'Loose Threads'.  For October 5th I was thinking of things in the negative!  And the next section was for Thanksgiving weekend.  I was thinking of how days wrap themselves around one another.  Cotton threads stitched on damask."  Penny Berens
"In this image, the journal starts on Monday the 12 November 2012, when I stitched a flight of Canada geese that made me think of hieroglyphs. Then on Tuesday the 13th I watched a Murder of crows pestering an eagle on my morning walk.  They surrounded him in a tree and made a huge hullabaloo.  This was followed by a day of rain.  Cotton thread on hand dyed cotton."  Penny Berens
In Daily Scratchings, Penny Berens recorded the seasonal changes that she experienced while walking in the rural area near Annapolis Royal, Nova Scotia.   In the above image, Penny's work is shown installed in exhibition in the Yarmouth adjunct of the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia. 
Using hand stitched representational drawings and rows of abstract marks she documented the day that she had lived through.  
 
Penny’s visual and tactile witnessing of natural phenomena became a journal that holds four years of time. 
 On my most recent visit with Penny, she kindly brought out her journal and we went through the pages.  These photographs are from that time last October.
 
 Above, Penny's work as it appeared in the Inverness Art Centre on Cape Breton Island in Oct 2015.
Penny's love of the natural world and her close observation of it is communicated with joy, love and hours of time. After four years (2012 - 2015) of dedication, she stopped working on this journal.  

"On December 31, 2015 I completed the last stitched entry in my 'Daily Scratchings' journal.  I noticed towards the end of that four year project that my entries had become more and more exploratory rather than recording the small daily events in my rural life,  therefore the time had come to make a change.  Creating larger pieces of work through daily practice still fascinates me however, as well as setting myself small challenges."  Penny Berens

Visit Penny's blog to find out what happens next for this prolific artist.

21 comments:

Mo Crow said...

such a beautiful journey piece

Jenny M said...

I have followed Penny's blog for 2 or more years now, and it has been a joy to read about her daily walks with her Rusty pups, and then to see how Penny interprets what she sees into her creative stitches. Stunning Daily Scratchings, I wish I could see this piece in person!
Thank you for sharing the photos of Penny's work.

Ms. said...

Oh my, how fine, reminds me a bit of your paths. She is marvelous.

SheilasEmbroidery said...

The ultimate in stitch journaling. The dedication to detail is amazing and the installation is inspirational

magsramsay said...

Inspirational!

Penny Berens said...

Hey, Judy...what a lovely piece! You have been busy, I know, so thank you for spending even more time on the computer to prepare this post. See you in the Fall.

Alejandra Balanzario said...

Beautiful work, thanks for sharing.

Liz Ackert said...

I have undertaken my own daily practice and am so glad to know of this inspirational work. While Penny's blog is on my list of Kindred Spirits, I hadn't looked back. Now I certainly will.

Many thanks for sharing!

kat said...

I love Penny's work, good to see it's spirit encapsulated here. Thank you Judy

Judy Martin said...

Penny and I have made up a proposal to exhibit our two stitch journals together - Michelle is correct. They have a lot of similarities in that they document time day by day in stitch. Mine is very minimalist, inspired by the Finnish rag rug, and using the couching stitch over and over, using up an entire skein of embroidery floss each day and thus marking out the days with change of colour. Penny's is both abstract and representational, and documents more clearly her actual life story and the observations of birds, tides and seasonal change. I am so inspired by Penny's commitment to stitch and the joy that is communicated with her work.

I've been putting the proposal together this week - wish us luck. We want our work to be seen. x

grace Forrest~Maestas said...

this is so Fine...to have them Together....could not be more
perfect. Like Sisters

over the rainbow said...

I have never seen Penny's work before this and was holding my breath with anticipation of each entry as I looked and read her words….what an inspiration for a daily practice. Your work does belong together in an exhibition….wishing you the best of luck as you accomplish that!

Vicky aka Stichr said...

Judy what a fantastic idea, to put you two in the same room, so to speak. I have enjoyed both your works and Penny's, for years now. I will wish to be there, mayhaps I be careful what I wishes for, eh?

Jennifer said...

Thank you so much for sharing this and to Penny as well for allowing the photos. Exquisite.

kat said...

what a lovely thought, your two journals together. If only I lived across the sea, that would be a fine inspiration to visit

Cozy Knitting said...

Oh,my! This is such a wake up call. Stop and pay attention to the small things out there. I try so hard to notice one important thing-like the cardinals are eating suet today. Must be egg laying soon. But then Life intervenes and I forget to look. Thanks for the reminder to get back on track.

Blue Sky Dreaming said...

I've been following Penny Berens blog for sometime...pure pleasure...thank you for featuring her work so well here!

Nat Palaskas said...

Thanks Judy. This is so inspiring! I follow Penny too. You both are my inspirations. Thanks for sharing this and thanks Penny - Hugs Nat

Silvana said...

guardo questo post e mi innamoro sempre di più delle tue opere mi emozionano
ciao silvana

Penny Berens said...

Thank you all so much for your kind comments....some of you I know so well from our internet frienships. Some of you are being introduced to my work for the first time....thank you for reading Judy's post. Our two journals, though so different came about because of the very similar desire to record the passing of time. I think we both continue to be interested in exploring work that comes into being through simple daily accumulations of stitches. These pieces will make for a great show....so keep your fingers crossed for us!

Tina said...

I really love this piece of work, I, too have been following for a while now and just love the daily work! It is amazing!

Thanks for sharing