portrait photo, Carla Pennie McBride

Carla Pennie uses a combination of both traditional and contemporary techniques to create one-of-kind jewellery from precious and non-precious materials. For Carla, “the earth stirs the imagination.” Both a collector of natural artifacts and a keen observer of the natural world, she is inspired by the delicate hand of Mother Nature.

Carla Pennie incorporates methods of etching, drawing, fusing, inlay and granulation into her jewellery making. She is stirred by the artist’s hand in defining a distinct path, one that is as unique as the movement of the stars. Her most recent work includes the ancient technique of scrimshaw: scoring into material with a fine instrument then laying down inks into the scored lines. She uses a variety of traditional and non-traditional materials such as fossilised ivory, bone, resin and nut when using scrimshaw technique in her own work.

Born outside of Belfast, Northern Ireland, Carla Pennie grew up experiencing both the majestic beauty and social challenges of a country under strife. Pennie attended the University of Ulster receiving a BA with honours in fine and applied art. After spending the majority of her life in Northern Ireland, Carla decided to travel, tutoring young people at a camp in New York state, working on a barge on the Seine river in France, and as a museum technician at Pecos National Historical Park in New Mexico. She returned to the U.K. in 2001 completing an MA in Gallery Studies from the University of Essex, in England.

Carla Pennie set up home and studio in Santa Fe, New Mexico. So drawn to her roots in Northern Ireland, she will always return, and now shares her time between both places.