Penny dress takes a lot of cents

Peterborough arist Heidi den Hartog works on a dress she made of pennies Monday, Feb. 4 at her home in Peterborough.

Credits: ROB McCORMICK Examiner


PETERBOROUGH, Ont. -- For local artist Heidi den Hartog, the penny dropped about six weeks ago.

That's when she decided what she wanted to make for Saturday's third annual Wearable Art Show, a fundraiser for Public Energy, a non-profit organization that promotes dance, art and artists in the community.

"I went to last year's show and had friends who were part of it," she said. "It was a great show ... interesting, over the top and creative, so as an artist, it was right up my alley."

The penny dress was a natural fit for den Hartog, a copper-and-enamel artist.

"I work with copper anyway, so I thought it was a good marriage," she said.

About 2,000 pennies went into the creation, which will be modelled by den Hartog's daughter, Sophia Darling, 21, at Saturday's show.

Den Hartog doesn't know how much the dress weighs, "but it's really heavy," Darling said.

"After a while it feels like I'm wearing a corset. And when you take it off, it feels like a huge weight has been lifted."

Den Hartog's dress is not a memorial to the penny: It is mere coincidence that the ensemble will make its debut in the same week that the Canadian Mint stopped distributing the one-cent coin, which it did Monday.

Still, she confesses to having some affection for the lowly tender.

"I know there are people out there who are penny haters," she said. "They are anti-penny and they throw them away. I'm not one of those."

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