Greetje Penning (1973), visual artist, herbalist and writer; based in the Netherlands.

What makes people feel separate from nature, which they are ultimately part of? This is what I explore in my work. What intrigues me most is the power of nature on one hand and it's vulnerability (through exposure to people and it's industries) on the other, as well as the connection between wild wo/man - wild earth. The landscape I'm rooted in and her ancient myths and stories are my inspiration.

About my herbal practice
Although I can find words for anything without any problem, I always get kind of stuck when it comes to my herbal (medicine) work. Because how does one describe love? How does one tell about ones greatest passion?  I'm in love with wild plants, weeds and herbs. My garden looks messy, at least for the untrained eye. I know every plant by heart. I know where they like to grow, in what way they grow throughout the seasons. And I let her grow where they prefers. I do not have much patience with cultivated plants, exotic plants that require special treatment or weak plants that let themselves overgrow by others. I don't do a lot of weeding either.

I walk or bike miles and miles to find that one weed that only grows in that one particular place, because it wants to grow there. At the same time, I prefer the yarrow that grows on 'my' seaside, and the nettles from my own garden, rather than those from another county (or even another village), because I believe in local, around the corner, home. Because as humans we bond with these particular plants, energetically speaking.

For hours I listen, watch, taste, feel the plants. I draw and paint them. I make herbal medicine with fresh and dried herbs. Every now and then I teach herbal classes and I also write about them in columns and articles.

But my heart truly lies in helping people with my knowledge. Because we people have a close connection with plants, whether we realize it or not. And this is the magic, this is the love I spoke about earlier, and which I can't explain.

For commissions, collaborations and enquiries, contact me at info@greetjepenning.com

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