Miss Penny's Arty Stuff is a blog for artists. I aim to promote the many genres of the arts and share stories of interest and relevancy with an artistic community.

The photo above is of the Belabula River, Carcoar NSW where my family comes from.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

A "make you feel good' read

Dear Fellow Artists,

Please take a look at this link http://www.artshub.com.au/au/news-article/opinions/arts/10-reasons-to-be-an-artist-185503

I think you will enjoy the topic and may feel a renewed sense of empowerment.

Have a lovely day,

Miss Penny.  x

P.S. Thank you Arts Hub - for always having lots of educational and interesting snippets.  A Big Like!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Wear your Art & Carry your Stash

These lino print designs make the ultimate accessory.  Why not strut original art work? And it's practical too with enough space for all your goodies.

Each bag features a collage panel on the other side.  Inked, painted, stitched and stamped.  Truly unique and beautiful.

Wearable Art for Immanuel Arts Festival 2012

I'm very excited, after having attended the first committee meeting, for the Immanuel Arts Festival 2012.

There will be a Wearable Art Section.  Whooo Hoo!  I'm so excited to be involved.

So, fellow artisans get those fashion/art ideas going and you should, just about, have enough time to create some amazing and obscenely-time consuming garment.  I should know - remember the crocheted plastic bag dress? - A gazillion hours.

This is the absolute best Arts Festival on the Coast - so don't miss out.  Be ready when the entries open.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Oversized Organics

Check out the wonderful harvests I've had this week.  My hen, Daphne laid the massive egg weighing 90 grams and my little, potted lemon tree produced these stunning lemons, the largest is 10 cms long and weighs 550 grams.

My friend Anne suggested I make Lemon Butter!

This summer I intend to do some more organic gardening as part of my Creative Therapies.  It's so rewarding when the produce is......  well lets face it............ MAJESTIC!

I hope your week has been great too and your productive spirit has had a chance to fly.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Take time to read poetry.

For your pleasure and mine;

On the Night Train 
by Henry Lawson 1922

Have you seen the bush by moonlight, from the train, go running by?
Blackened log and stump and sapling, ghostly trees all dead and dry;
Here a patch of glassy water; there a glimpse of mystic sky?
Have you heard the still voice calling – yet so warm, and yet so cold:
"I'm the Mother-Bush that bore you! Come to me when you are old"?

Did you see the Bush below you sweeping darkly to the Range,
All unchanged and all unchanging, yet so very old and strange!
While you thought in softened anger of the things that did estrange?
(Did you hear the Bush a-calling, when your heart was young and bold:
"I'm the Mother-bush that nursed you; Come to me when you are old"?)

In the cutting or the tunnel, out of sight of stock or shed,
Did you hear the grey Bush calling from the pine-ridge overhead:
"You have seen the seas and cities – all is cold to you, or dead –
All seems done and all seems told, but the grey-light turns to gold!
I'm the Mother-Bush that loves you – come to me now you are old"?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mary Poppins musical sweeps awards

Mary Poppins musical sweeps the Helpmann Awards! Congratulations to the producers and cast.

We have such talent in this country and yet the ABC has just axed Arts Programming. What a terrible shame and a statement about the level of importance the Arts holds in Australia. Imagine a future without public programming about Arts. Are only those people who pay for television to have any Arts Programming? Won't this further divide the audiences into the 'die-hard Arts attendees' and make it even more difficult to engage the 'not-so-interested' group? I believe we don't want to just preach to the converted - we need art to be accessible, this decision isn't helping. Please have your say too.


Building an Audience

More than anything, I'm interested in promoting the Arts. Therefore I recommend the following site for some great tips on building an audience.


The website (provided by the Australia Council) helps you navigate your way around the unique and specific needs of 'Arts' Marketing.

The case studies provide some great examples too.

I thought it was a wonderful resource, I hope you find it useful too.

Omar Edwards

I sometimes tell the story of taking tap class with a cool dude in New York, who brought his puppy to class and had a lolly pop sticking out of his mouth while he muttered bee bop instructions.

Please enjoy Mr Omar Edwards who starred alongside Savion Glover in the Broadway production of 'Bring in the Noise, Bring in the Funk'.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Hybrid Dance Styles

There's been a bit of talk around about pole dancing especially since Australia played host to the Asia Pacific Championships recently. I thought I'd do some personal research and see just what my position was on this dance style. Well..... I can only say that some of it is fantastic. Generally it's pretty sexy (there can be no denying) and when tastefully and artistically performed I'd have to say, I'm a fan.

I always admire a performer who has clearly spent a great deal of time perfecting their art. I appreciate, strength, beauty, artistry and line, all of which you will see in the clip I've chosen for you from Elena Gibson. I enjoyed the melding of genres and cross cultivation can only be a good thing, expanding the audience for art and entertainment in the process. I found the work relevant and entertaining. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Follow a Career on the rise

In August last year I wrote about a young Sunshine Coast singer, Jane Magao.

Check out this link for the latest in Jane's amazing career development.


Jane is a fantastic person and very dedicated to her art form. I wish her well for a fantastic future.

What to give the 'new' mum?

A very dear friend of mine just had a baby. This got me thinking about gift options.

I've come to be known, amongst my friends, for hand-made gifts and I don't want this special friend to feel that I haven't 'gone to trouble'.

Now this is all lovely and sweet, but how relevant or indeed how appreciated is a hand-produced item these days? I truly hope there is still a place for something lovingly created.

I thought that new mums are unlikely to want knitted bootees anymore, citing 'way too much washing' as the reason. So I asked myself what could I make for my friend that would be useful, beautiful and likely to stand up to the hard yards of baby land? My answer came in a few moments - monogrammed face washers with crocheted edges. I still have some of these (made by my mother) after many years of use.

What do you think new mums would like these days? Perhaps a trip to Target is the preferred option. I'm not sure, I need your advice.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

We No Speak Americano ft. Cleary & Harding

If you are a tapper or Irish dancer you will appreciate this. Perhaps you will consider diversifying. Hahaha!! You gotta love it.

Latest Dance Experiences

In the last few weeks I’ve enjoyed two trips away to the Southern States to adjudicate dance competitions. The first was in Launceston where I was lucky enough to work in the 100 year old Princess Theatre. Housed in the theatre is a signed pair of Margot Fonteyn’s pointe shoes which, I must admit, made me feel very humble and excited to be in the spiritual presence of one of the world's most celebrated dancers.

The dancers of Launceston are wonderful. The group routines were spectacular, highlighting the dedication the dance teachers of the area devote to their work. I saw some kicking routines that would make the most robust athletes cringe. These dancers showed amazing ability and stamina in their capacity to make a strenuous workout look entertaining for an audience.

Next I went on to Wollongong Eisteddfod where the enormity of this competition required three adjudicators to manage it. I had a wonderful time, especially when it came to teaching the Jazz and Theatrical Scholarship. The young entrants where so delightful and deserving of the opportunity to dance for a prize of $1000. Only six made it through to the final and they courageously battled it out for the honour and prize. The winner was a beautiful dancer who showed off her versatility throughout the competition.

I’m always astounded by the hard work of the students and I hope to remain in a position to mentor and stimulate the minds of our youth. These people are the future and I feel very confidant that they are most capable of becoming fantastic adults and perhaps also inspiring performing artists.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Awesome Aussie Hip Hop

I love the song 360 - 'Throw It Away' feat. Josh Pyke firstly because it's an example of great Aussie Hip Hop and secondly because it resonates with me on a social and economic level. Take a look and see if you haven't felt like Josh Pike at some point.

We are over this GFC and we don't want to be continually worried about money!

Let's hope our leaders make better decisions in the future. We are all too bogged down in paying bills to be as politically, socially and emotionally connected as we would like to be.

Let me know what you think.

Recycling Arts

Thanks to my regular email from Lost at E Minor http://www.lostateminor.com/ I have discovered the work of Sayaka Ganz.

Now you know I'm always bagging on about using existing material in the creation of great artworks. Remember my trashion dress?

Well check out this website for real inspiration:


Monday, June 27, 2011

A Dose of Surrealism

Check out Greg Simkins "The Pearl Thief". I've just discovered this artist and I would have to say I'm very impressed. His website is "I'm Scared" well worth checking out if you like surrealism.

My imagination was ignited - thanks Greg!

Queen Celine

I wanted to introduce you to the new love of my life, Queen Celine Celesteene. She is a 7 month old Chincilla Silver shaded kitten. We have had her since Australia Day and she has really made a great addition to our family.

I think most artists have pets, to share the many lonely hours we spend in the art of creating. I'd love to here about your pets if they are your closest work buddies.

Celine is quite inspiring - though she makes a mess of my wool basket!

Friday, June 3, 2011

An Adorable 6-Year-Old Dancer

It's heartwarming to see a child with such natural ability. He's such a little sweetheart. Best of luck for the future Tanner. Keep Dancing - you bring joy to those around you.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Cast your vote against #LiveExport -

Cast your vote against #LiveExport -

I come from a farming background and I am totally, utterly disgusted by this. Please don't sit back and do nothing. Cast your vote against this terrible cruelty.

Our government and the beef industry should be ashamed. I cannot believe that keeping foreign importers happy comes before doing what is right. Where is the bush ethos of my father's years? What a disgraceful situation.

I'm ashamed to be an Australian right now.

Help to STOP THIS for the sake of these poor creatures!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Turbo Audition - Got to Dance

Take this in and enjoy. I admire the innovative and super cool style of this dude. Without appearing to try too hard, he has the judges fascinated. This is the key. Sometimes, (though it takes a lot of rehearsal) it's just better to look as if you are not busting yourself. A truly talented performer. BIG LIKE!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Immanuel Arts Festival

The Immanuel Arts Festival opens tomorrow night (Gala Evening) and runs until Sunday 22nd May.

I've really enjoyed being a committee member for this year's festival and I have been working along side the two chief installation experts, Rob and Heather. I've learnt a great deal about 'bumping in' a big arts festival and it has been extremely gratifying to see the art works go up onto the walls and panels. I've learnt that behind the scenes there is a great deal of thought put into placing each artwork in 'just the perfect position' to show it off to the best advantage.

I certainly hope there will be a big roll up to this wonderful exhibition to see all of the beautiful artworks, sculptures and creative pieces on offer. I remember going along last year to a very well attended Gala Evening, I hope it will be just as successful this year.

I might see you there!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Trashion Chic

I have further increased my interest in recycling, not only in my everyday attempts to make a smaller, more delicate mark on the earth but also in the use of materials (that are already in existence and generally a nuisance) in the creation of beautiful artworks. This has encouraged me to return to work on my creation "Trashion Chic" made from recycled supermarket shopping bags. I have further increased the use of tone, texture and design and (I believe) generally improved it.

The work involved in this piece is extremely labour intensive and therefore I cannot imagine creating many of this nature, however I would like to continue creating 'Trashion' and other wearable artworks from discarded materials. I would love to have a Trashion Exhibition one day!!

Trashion: a portmanteau of trash and fashion, coined in New Zealand in 2004 (source: Wikipedia)

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

The Garden of Cosmic Speculation

I stumbled upon this gorgeous garden and it's so very beautiful and magical I had to share.

As you can tell, I tend to be attracted to art which holds an element of Fairytale. This garden reminds me of "The Garden of Earthly Delights" by Hieronymus Bosch, it's just an association in my brain. What do you think?

Friday, April 29, 2011

The Les Griffith Tap Seminar

I've happily filled the lead up to Easter with the Les Griffith Tap Seminar. This event was an annual one for me for many years but I haven't been for a few now, so I guess this year it was a little bit of a reunion. I caught up with some old friends from the dancing world, saw some beloved ex-students, some recent favourite competitors (who I have adjudicated in other competitions and am watching eagerly to see how their careers are progressing) and just generally had a fantastic time.

One of the best parts was having the opportunity to take a Masterclass with former Tap Dog, Garron Michalitsis. I really got my grunge on and stamped and shuffled my heart out. There's no doubt my passion for tap doesn't diminish one bit with time - I LOVE IT!

For those of you who aren't aware the Les Griffith Tap Dancing Syllabus comes from Newcastle (the home of tap in Australia) and is really the bees knees when it comes to stylish and highly technically tap dancing. I've been teaching this syllabus for twenty five years and am deeply proud of my association with the organisation and the other teachers involved.

After the seminar, I stayed on in Newcastle to watch the L.G.T.D.A Eisteddfod where the best tap dancers burnt up the floor for two days. Wow! What fun. There is some great talent coming through.

Back to teaching now and I have some exciting guest teaching appointments and adjudicating opportunities coming up.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Lyn Donald Art Exhibition

Don't miss my friend Lyn's gorgeous exhibition. Her beautiful flower paintings are so breathtaking. Get some romance back into your life and be spell bound, maybe just for the afternoon or maybe forever if you buy one.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Inge Jacobsen: Hand stitched Vogue cover

Inge Jacobsen: Hand stitched Vogue cover

These hand stitched Vogue Covers will inspire the artistic crafter. I absolutely adore them. Congratulations Inge.

More please!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Immanuel Arts Festival 19-22 May 2011

As an artist, I highly recommend this exhibition, it's a friendly, encouraging environment to exhibit your work whether or not you are an emerging or established artist.

As an art lover, it is a high quality event where you can indulge your passion for a wide variety of artistic genres.

Don't miss the Sunshine Coast's largest community fine arts event.

Venue: Immanuel Lutheran College, Wises Road, Maroochydore.

Immanuel Arts Festival

Celebrating 30 years!

Entries are now open for
the Sunshine Coast's largest community fine arts event.

$5000 in prize money is available across open and student categories including painting, drawing, mixed media, printmaking, sculpture and photography. Creative arts including ceramics, glass, jewellery and woodwork are also invited.

Stop Press: Entries now include Wearable Art!

Entries close 8 April 2011

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Spring clean in Autumn!

I'm having a "life" Spring Clean. I've ditched some stuff I have no use for anymore - and I feel great.

This week marks the end of something for me. I'm moving on (theoretically).

I'm now free to create new circumstances and invent some new ideas. I have Ramtha’s words below to inspire me.

Follow your heart, your dreams, your desires.
Do what your soul calls you to do, whatever
it is, and allow it to be finished; then you will
go on to another adventure.

You will never be judged - unless you accept
the judgement of those around you.

And if you accept their judgement, it is only
your will to do so for the experience.


Sunday, March 20, 2011

Auslan Level One - Completed

I'm very pleased to have completed my Auslan Level One Course. I would now like to take on Level 2. My ambition is to work in the Deaf Community as a Dance Teacher. I have previously taught both Deaf students and a blind student to dance. These students were an absolute inspiration to me and made ME a better teacher - I have never forgotten them and hold them dear in my heart full of teacher memories.

If anyone out there knows of any opportunities in this field for me please let me know.

Enjoy this remarkable video clip of some Deaf Dancers from China - they are amazing and so precise.

Friday, March 18, 2011

"Midnight Sun" (Johan Troch)

As a person and an artist I search constantly for a means to be more interesting. I am constantly fraught with worry that my work and my person is no where near compelling or enthralling enough. My discontent with myself drives me onward and causes me to search ever more for new meaning and new means of expression.

I present here Miss Sylvie Guillem who should never be concerned of such mortal failings, she is after all sublime. Her performance commands attention and encourages thoughtful reflection.

Sylvie, you are one of my favourite contemporary dancers, thank you.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Social Media Marketing Multiplies your Message

The amazing success of the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Campaign is testament to the use of Social Media Marketing. I'm always trying to get artists and crafters to utilise this method of Communications Practice also. Activating the networks you have and sending your message out through friends and their friends multiplies your audience over and over.

Read about how my son Rhys, a Marketer working in a SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) Sales Firm - Reload Media in Brisbane - is using this Communications method as part of the Ben & Jerry's Campaign.

Read the Blog on Brio Daily


Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ben and Jerry's Flavour Election - Triple Caramel Chunk

Ben and Jerry's Flavour Election - Triple Caramel Chunk

Check out my son Rhys in the Ben and Jerry's Ice Cream Campaign. Please cast your vote for his flavour - TRIPLE CARAMEL CHUNK - you could win a nice prize and Rhys could win too.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Experiencing the world Visually

My first lesson in Auslan was just wonderful, I felt inspired and excited and as if I was definitely 'in the right place'. My tutor spoke of how people from the Deaf Community experience the world visually.

I too have always been incredibly visual. I'm a visual learner. I prefer to be shown things, not told. I struggle to learn languages that are aural. Yet dance and Auslan are a perfect fit for me, the languages of the body, where movement and expression can tell the story. I also love to read, the visual word is beautiful to me.

I love visual imagery, such as movies, visual art and video art.

I'm looking forward to becoming an efficient sign language user and increasing my abilities to communicate in a non-verbal way. I'll keep you informed of my progress.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Good Vibrations

I recently saw an article in the local Kids in the Coast Magazine that really caught my eye, it was about a course in Auslan (Australian Sign Language). I’ve had an affiliation with the deaf community for most of my life, it comes from having an almost deaf father. Those that know him would hardly know his disability, as he covers it well. He wears two hearing aids and is incredible good at communicating, however his hearing loss is 90%. Dad is a veteran of WW2 and his work on the Aircraft Guns is to blame for his devastating hearing loss.

As a 14 year old I was keen to learn signing, much more than dad was and I started learning the alphabet. I didn’t get to utilise this with him as he managed to communicate just fine with lip reading. Many years later, I had loads of fun teaching some deaf children tap dancing and the interest in signing grew deeper. I still didn’t have the opportunity to formalise my training at this point. Now I have found a place where I can learn to sign and I’m starting with a beginners course. I’m off to the Honey-bee Creations Studios this weekend.

In the future, I hope I will be able to teach more hearing impaired people to dance. I’ve found that tapping is a perfect art form as the vibrations transfer well through the floor and throughout the body.

The photo is of my new kitten Celine (now 3 months old), she is currently demanding my attention, so I must sign off. No pun intended!!!

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Queenslanders are Grieving

I think it’s fair to say, any Queenslander feels as if the stuffing has been knocked out of them. If they haven’t been directly hit by the flooding, they have felt in some way emotionally devastated. We are all grieving together.

I have personally been sorting and gathering. Dragging all the goods I could together. All the useful items I could donate and then sending grocery items off to Rockhampton, on the trucks, to help feed the isolated people.

We managed to fight off the waters (being in a lucky area), so we are now digging deep to help those less fortunate. But I have cried for my friends and work colleagues throughout the state.

I have adjudicated eisteddfods in Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Lockyer Valley, Ipswich and throughout Brisbane. The scenes of devastation have been too heart breaking for words. And yet, somehow these communities must find a way to go on.

These photos were taken by my son who lives in Windsor and works in Toowong. Both his home and office were spared - he was lucky.

Somehow talking of art and craft may seem a little trivial for a while. I’m hoping to find a way to bring the joy back in time when it seems more appropriate and it will, one day soon, as we start to rebuild.

The warmth of a granny square and the delight of a dance class will be just what the doctor ordered, until then, let’s just clean up.