Sunday, 5 December 2021

When Beavers Live Close By


It amuses me that the beaver sticks have gathered in their own little corner of the show.

"Chasing the Moon"
Memories of daily walks down to the marshlands
Watching as the landscape changed when beavers moved in.

When they moved in and built oh so many dams
what was a meandering stream became a lake
covering all the grass you see here.

They would greet me and the Rusty Pups
with noses just above water
and sharp black eyes watching....
....then with a noisy slap of the tail on the water's surface
they would casually get on with their business.
I imagined that slap to be a greeting 
but of course it must have been a claim to territory where we were not welcome

My work is a bringing together of snippets of memory
Trees stripped of bark and marked by strong beaver teeth
Cold dark waters of winter
Marshland grasses that flourished so well in that watery environment
But turned golden yellow in the long wintery months.

On winter mornings after a good snowfall
the beaver tracks were easy to find 
 revealing nighttime activity and favourite pathways
 leading from water's edge towards the woods and back again

The black velvet water so uninviting on a cold winter's day
yet a refuge, a place of safety where beavers can thrive.

And of course a moon on a windy, winter's night
whilst I am warm and safe in my bed
the beaver were busy as beavers tend to be
fixing leaky dams
and storing edible trees underwater.
Such fascinating creatures who can change a landscape with two strong front teeth!

 I hope you too find joy in observing nature at work.

So many thanks to Susan Purney Mark and Miranda Bouchard for their photos of the show.


  1. Penny, this piece is a poem. It is a short stir. No, wait, it is a novel. No, that’s not right either. It is a connection to a larger power, to something that we don’t understand but yes, we do, there they are with their eyes and tails and there is the moon and there is the velvet. OMG you are an amazing artist. You are one in a million xxx

  2. A wonderful description, and what a delight for you!

    1. Thanks Rachel 🙏🏻
      I spied your jacket! Wow that must be such a pleasure to wear. Beautiful.

  3. love your beaver moon ... and your land, your wondrous, beautiful land that inspires equally wondrous art

  4. Love to hear all about the making, and thoughts before and during making, Penny, it makes the work even more interesting !!!

  5. It's lovely that Beavers are being reintroduced to areas in the UK, hopefully to restore the environment to something more sustainable. I love your photographs and interpretations. xx

  6. Your stitching, always so evocative, is enriched by your description of the inspiration, an explication in words, fabric and thread. Thank you for their beauty

  7. Not only is the stitched piece a story in itself, but the accompanying words in this post tell a story all their own. It would be special if those words could be displayed along with the quilt.


Thank you for taking the time to comment, your thoughts are most welcome.