Penelope Barnhill gained a Diploma in Visual Communications/Craft Design, with a double major: printmaking and 3D design. She has been producing work from her own studio for the past three decades.
Barnhill explains that the inspiration for her work is everywhere, particularly in nature and people. She particularly enjoys creating unique pieces for individuals to wear which represent sentiment, love and protection. Though she claims to have no particular favourite stones, she adores colour and pure materials and endeavours to achieve synergy between the stones she employs to realise her designs and of course their intended wearer. Barnhill has exhibited in Rarotonga, New Orleans, London, Paris, Munich, Sydney and New York. Both the Auckland Museum and Dowse Museum have purchased pieces for their collections.
"As a child and natural tom boy my happiest moments were spent in our beautiful Christchurch garden and at my uncles farm in Albury, South Canterbury. I was fascinated by plants and animals, loved foraging and always had the aim to make something. As an adult I have spent seven years studying Chinese martial arts, I free dive, spearfish, take macro photography, garden and I’m a paraglider pilot. The latter of my hobbies have taken me on many wonderful, remote adventures all over the world where my happy place is simply to be blown away by all the vistas of nature and the magnificence of the newly discovered. Flowers, hearts and crosses are recurring themes, though it is not about being a hopeless romantic! I like making something that looks old, that has a feeling of life in its own whimsical or enchanted way. When I make my head and heart is in a beautiful place, it is free and liberating."