Anita Carnell is an emerging London-based artist. Her new collection of hand-stitched leather wall art engages British historical material, in particular the golden wire used by Royalty, Livery Companies and Guilds for over three centuries. She presents in contemporary form traditional embroidery techniques such as back stitching and couching to explore the concept of ‘Ma’ (a Japanese word, meaning negative space) through leather panels hand-stitched in gold.
Carnell’s use of leather is inspired by ninth century Cordovan moulded and decorated leather wall hangings which were used to adorn the palaces of Europe. She threads this inspiration with her expertise, hand-stitching forms in gold thread, exploring the visible and invisible, and the passing of time.
Time is Carnell’s underlying theme. Her leather wall art retains the marks and organic shape of the hides. ‘Cycle of Time’ perhaps initially reads as a circle, though it is in fact an irregular spiral, as is the human experience of time. ‘Revealing Something New’ is about being connected and disconnected.
We create shadows which disperse, we live in moments that pass and clear, and time begins again. The very process of hand-stitching is itself meditative and records the passing of time, things that we can or cannot see which are part of the human experience.
The natural patina of gold and leather matures over time and this acquires an even greater beauty over the years.