I am Penny and this is me in my workshop at Rosehill in Brighton which I share with 12 other makers.
I started out on my creative career after completing a B.A. in Designer Craftmanship at Newcastle Poly in the mid 80's, when I bought a wood-lathe and began to turn bowls and small artefacts from green wood that had blown down in the 1987 storm. The decorative possibilities of the wood I was using kept lending themselves to jewellery and so I embarked on an apprenticeship to a silversmith to learn the fundamentals of jewellery making to combine the wood with silver. I soon progressed from wood to copper and brass which I used to patinate in reds, blues and greens using heat and chemical processes. The effect was lovely but there was always an uncertainty about the permanence of the colour on the surface, and the range of colours seemed limited.
It was a joy then to discover a metal that I could apply colour to that would not come off after time and it seemed more versatile than enamel. The scope of options for applying colour and pattern to anodised aluminium are limitless and despite it's lightness, the metal is impressively robust. So it has become my medium of choice to express my creativity in jewellery and most importantly my love of colour!!
The way I work is very hands on and low tech. I start with a sheet of matt pre-anodised aluminium and then apply ink to its surface with either a paint brush in a wash effect or using various textured and patterned surfaces. Some pieces I then dip dye in another colour.
When the surface is dry, I seal the colour in by immersing the metal in boiling water so that the porous anodised surface closes up keeping the colour permanently trapped inside.
Then the metal is ready to make into jewellery. I use various techniques to cut out the shapes, either by hand with a piercing saw, or using stamps and disc cutting tools and then texturing the surface before forming the piece into a 3D shape either by doming or folding. Finally I polish the edges to give them a pleasing contrasting finish. Because aluminium will melt if it's soldered, I attach to silver by either riveting or just drilling a hole through and attaching loosely to silver wire. I love to combine the pieces with textured and polished/satinised/oxidised silver. Often I use the same textures that I print the aluminium pattern with.
My designs are usually developed in 3D; working with the metal to see what it is capable of and intuitively putting shapes together to get a pleasing balance. My influences come from textile design, nature, the urban environment, and the coastal region where I live.
I hope you enjoy browsing the collections and can find something you like there. I also sell my jewellery through many outlets across the UK; please check out the list of suppliers to see if there is somewhere near you and you can see it in the flesh!