Ceramicist Penny Hoskins harks back to a country upbringing to create her highly acclaimed farmyard motifs.

Story & photos by Trisha Dixon

Frogs play the fiddle, dogs chase chooks and men round-up spotted cows while hanging on to wild horses. These are some of the fanciful figures that feature on Penny Hoskins’ ceramics, with their mad sense of fun reflecting her joie de vivre. “I find myself thinking of friends and funny experiences and translating this onto the surface of my work,” she says with a laugh. “Frogs sitting in a circle singing and fooling around was inspired by a night camping when the frogs made a hell of a din and kept us awake all night. I often find myself having a laugh and hope whoever buys my pieces will have a similar reaction.”
This distinctive ‘farmyard’ style is a testament to Penny’s upbringing on a property in the Moree district of NSW. It was a time when dogs, cows, horses and chickens were a part of her everyday life. “Now I see them racing around my bowls and on my plates,” Penny says. “If I want a pig or a dog, I just doodle until I get something that looks like a pig or a dog – which is why you never see a pig because I can’t get a pig to look like a pig. Chooks and dogs feature as these are the easiest and are my favourites, although I love doing the frogs and playing around with them.”

This story excerpt is from Issue #49

Outback Magazine: Oct/Nov 2006