by giada giachino
Time is the ultimate luxury. It is a real commodity, and on it is based all our life as makers. In fact, one of the main features of making thing by hand is that, apart from the necessary skills involved, time and its use becomes crucial. Machines are fast, a factory is super-fast, socials are uber-fast; on the other side, a big category of artists recognises himself in a slower concept of art, of craft, of making.
I have met Anita Carnell during the opening of New Designers Part 2. Her panels looked to me the epitome of slow art. Her full leather pieces, with golden thread embroidery, shaped in circles, are decorated with different stitching techniques; Anita changes the texture of the material, that can be a full sun shining in a dark night or a textured, swarming beehive, were grains of gold fall as in an hourglass sand would do.
Her work has an extended background research, from Takeuchi Sehio’s works of a kneeling & dancing skeleton in golden threads to Cordovan leather panels of 9th Century. With studies at the Royal School of Needlework and an MA at Camberwell, she understood that before wallpaper, there were gilded leather wall panels. Only royalty and wealthy farm owners would decorate their walls with these panels of leather. These leather panels are very busy, lots of colours - different materials, sculptural forms. She exchanges this kind of horror vacui for empty, imaginative spaces.
Carnell plays with textures and surfaces, and her pieces are engaging and passionate, as her. Having the chance to look at her pieces, you are obliged to follow the thread circular lines, or the swarming grains and their dissolving on the leather surface. It is almost an invitation to contemplate and get rid of the sense of time.
Carnell threads everything together with meticulously executed hand-stitching in gilded wire on leather hide. She embroiders the wire into circles and spirals, the wire creating shadows that highlight its beauty, particularly as time passes and the wire matures.