Material World press release



In a new exhibition at Slimbridge WWT, running 13th July 2008 to 1st September 2008, Penny Leaver Green explores the place birds have in our consciousness. From the way we anthropomorphise them in traditional children’s stories to the ways in which we both exploit them and try to protect them.The exhibition comprises 22 pictures combining hand and machine stitches with reclaimed fabrics and hand dyed linens. Penny’s designs are never drawn or planned beforehand, her pictures evolve as fabric is placed and words are stitched. The styles of individual pictures or series are markedly different to reflect the differing attitudes we have towards birds.

A series of pictures of birds and plants inspired by a visit to Japan marked the starting point of the work shown at Slimbridge. For these she has used scraps of kimono silks to reinterpret nineteenth century Japanese wood block prints.

There then follows a series of six common British birds and their eggs. These explore the changing population of our native species. An additional picture of an Avocet highlights its threatened history and vulnerability to egg theft.

Juxtaposed are bold stylised images of flocks of birds in fairy tales and more subtle illustrative moments from traditional tales such as The Happy Prince and The Emperor and the Nightingale.

In Penny’s words, “I want the ideas raised in the exhibition to encourage the viewer to reconsider our relationship with birds; the stitched facts about the birds are brief and incomplete, they are not intended to make any statement but offered as a starting point. My technique is equally important, I want the form to be ambiguous, often only offering colour in places and allowing the viewer’s imagination to complete the picture”.

At the centre to her exhibition is a large quilt, showing a stylised A-Z of British birds or visitors to our shores. The work took nearly a year to complete in the build up to the Material World exhibition and is made from fabrics all previously used for other purposes, from bed sheets to table cloths.

Material World -

Exhibition at Slimbridge WWT - 13th July 2008 to 1st September 2008A group exhibition, other artists featured are Teresa Poole and Ira Wood. For more information contact:

Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust
Slimbridge, Gloucestershire GL2 7BT