I have been passionate about the Arts all my life. I originally trained as a graphic designer. I then gained a master’s degree in scenic design. As a young designer I was fortunate to start working for the BBC in White City on a number of programmes including Last of the Summer Wine, Come Dancing, Top of the Pops and Doctor Who. My love affair with clay began as a diversion from my television work and has continued ever since.

I am the third generation of my family to have worked in the theatre and so a love for the theatre and the arts runs deep. My great grandfather WS Penley, was the original Charlie’s Aunt in the play of that name, which was written especially for him by Brandon Thomas.

Having previously worked for a major London art gallery, I set up my own company to source innovative venue spaces in which to curate and manage art event exhibitions for corporate clients. I have extensive experience in marketing and charitable associations. I am involved with the Retreat Movement, The Jubilee Sailing Trust and Macmillan Cancer Support. In my work as Corporate Marketing and Events Manager for a Grade I listed City of London Wren Church, I set up the innovative venue space from scratch, and ran an Arts and Music programme, which included an international art exhibition featuring Damien Hirst.

Now based at Biscuit Studio, Hove, my fascination with, and love of clay continues. I am continually learning and stimulated by the range of possibilities and challenges this medium offers.

I produce both wheel thrown and hand built sculptural pieces for the Brighton and London market. I love working in earthenware using coloured slips, to produce fun vibrant pieces. I also enjoy the challenges of porcelain and seeing how far – and how thin – I can take this material! My fascination with texture and surface decoration, first explored as a graphic designer, is now characteristic of my work.

Increasingly since moving to Sussex, I am seeing my work change and develop, taking on a more sculptural nature as the seascape, and my faith in particular, influences my making.

I am a member of Hove Arts (, and my studio is open to the public during the Brighton and Hove Artists Open Houses (, but you are always welcome to visit at any time.

Mary Penley outside studio
Biscuit Studio2
Biscuit Studio1