Anita Carnell specialises in sculpted leather wall coverings, hand stitched with gilded wire and brushed gold. Each piece is created meticulously by hand over weeks, engaging techniques acquired during her time at the Royal School of Needlework.
However, her work goes far beyond skilled craft alone. It is her conceptual approach to her work as an artist (she was awarded an MA from Camberwell School of Arts) that makes her outstanding. When viewing her work we first read it as arresting contemporary artwork and as we get closer we then appreciate her skill in realising it, engaging as she does materials of significance to British heritage (in particular the golden wire with which she embroiders, this being used by Royalty, Livery Companies and Guilds for over three centuries) and traditional techniques (such as couching).
A visit to an exhibition of Japanese art at the Ashmolean “Threads of Silk and Gold” proved seminal to the development of her work. She was struck by two panels which incorporated a technique known as blank space or margin (there is no direct translation from the word ‘Ma’). It is the necessity of a void or space for all things to exist (such as the necessity of pause between words or space between objects). In Japanese art it is the exercise in restraint and minimalism to allow freedom for contemplation of what does exist, and this idea became central in the development of Anita’s work.
Interwoven is the process of stitching and forming which, being a rhythmical action, creates a meditative state in the artist, in turn leading her and us to an understanding of the symbiotic connections in the world, of the visible and invisible, of time and our experience of it, of the notion of chance.
The result is that each work is like a painting, because each stitch is a brushstroke that amounts to an exploration of a concept. Even her choice of material is in relationship, both leather and gold develop their beauty of time.
I am delighted to present Anita for the first time at Collect, the prestigious international fair for contemporary objects, February 22-25 2018. The curated stand invites each artist to explore the notion of Transfiguration (n) a complete change of form or appearance in a more beautiful or spiritual state. The aim is to engage the the viewer beyond appreciation of skill and beauty, to the extent of experiencing transfiguration in their own state of mind.
- Collect at Saatchi: Guilded
- One Year On: New Designers, Clerkenwell Design Week (Crafts Central)
- Design Days, Dubai
- Selected for Crafts Council’s Hothouse – Gold standard professional development programme
- Camberwell College of Arts: Graduated MA, Designer Maker
- Certificate and Diploma: Technical Hand Embroidery, Royal School of Needlework