Artist to feature work at posAbilities annual inclusion art show
Michelle Strutzenberger


One could say Penny is on somewhat of a new life journey since she discovered her talent for pottery-making about 18 months ago. 

Simone Brandl, who works with Penny through posAbilities, recalls the first time Penny sat down at the pottery wheel. She had just joined a pottery program offered through the Burnaby-based Community Living Society.

Penny displays one of her Bonaparte community-inspired pottery works.

As the wheel whirred into motion and Penny slipped her hands around the smooth clay, it was clear she was a natural.

The program instructor noted her hand-size was perfect for doing pottery work. Penny also showed an ability to feel and shape the clay in an artistic way that was “quite wonderful.”

Penny started attending the pottery class once a week, then moved up to twice.

As her gift yielded plates, bowls and vases of all kinds, the idea came up to bring in her First Nations heritage and depict some of her community’s distinctive artwork on the pottery.

Another posAbilities staff-member Sonya Anand researched with Penny some of the common symbols of her community, Bonaparte, and since then she’s been drawing these onto the work she’s created.

Penny says she’s been enjoying making her pottery with the added native theme, noting her current favourite is a small bowl with two butterflies on it.

Not only has Penny discovered a new talent, but she’s connected to her past and is now sharing that with others.

Perhaps most exciting for her is how her new skill is also rewarding her monetarily.

Through connections Community Living Society pottery program facilitator, Dee Blackmore, has been able to make, Penny is showing her work in a number of galleries across Vancouver.

Her art will also be featured at the upcoming posAbilities inclusion art show — another significant opportunity for Penny to make sales and talk about her work.

“I like when people buy my pottery and I feel proud to show my pottery to the community; it makes me happy,” Penny tells posAbilities Today.

Simone adds she sees these new opportunities for Penny certainly helping to foster community inclusion.

“She’s out there side by side with other artists, making money just like the others,” says Simone, adding she wouldn’t be surprised if Penny’s good work and honest enthusiasm for it is yielding her better returns than a lot of other artists in the same field.

The posAbilities inclusion art show takes place Oct. 25, and features hundreds of artists and creations for sale. A wide variety of media is included in the show: paintings, glassworks, pottery, photography, illustrations, jewelery and textiles.

To learn more, click here.

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