Anita Bell

Born and brought up in Portsmouth, I attended Portsmouth College of Art and Design and the University of Chichester, leaving in 1997.  Followed by a Post Graduate Certificate in Education at Greenwich University.

I am a Member of the Society of Designer Craftsmen and IAPMA, the International Association of Hand Paper Makers and Paper Artists.  My work has been exhibited widely throughout the UK, Europe and the USA and most recently in Shanghai, China as part of the Feasts of Paper Exhibition.

I regularly visit groups and Embroiderers’ Guilds giving talks, demonstrations and workshops and also one to one or small group tuition.

Past exhibitions include The Winter Exhibition of The Society of Designer Craftsmen at The Mall Galleries in London, The Contemporary Textile Fair in Teddington, the Contemporary Craft Fair at Bovey Tracey in Devon, The Thelma Hulbert Gallery, Honiton, Designer Crafts@Chelsea in Chelsea Old Town Hall, The Oxo Tower, London and Beverly Hills Art Show in Los Angeles, where I have twice won First Prize for 2D Mixed Media.

I create contemporary fine art textiles inspired by the sky, particularly at dawn and dusk.  Each paper work is a one-off piece, created using a variety of papers, often recycled or handmade, painted or dyed and then torn and layered and embellished with stitch.

The technique used evolved from a study of frescoes and wall paintings, trying to capture the effects of the natural pigments, faded imagery and the peeling paint.

I work by making quick sketches and watercolour studies to try to capture the atmosphere of a fleeting moment in time and reflect the constantly changing light, depicting the essence of something that is caught in an instant, yet in reality remains elusive and ever-changing.

Using thin thread as a medium, these ideas are transferred onto paper and details of an imaginary landscape are drawn out using dense lines of stitch that are overlaid like paint, to build up depths of colour.

Influenced by painters and the illusion of paint, my work is concerned with perceptions of colour.  Embroidery is used to make colour come alive, blending threads to make momentary memories more vivid.

Later work, inspired by a visit to Monet’s Garden, represents perceptive snapshots in abstract form, drawing influence from Japanese gardens and changing light to create imaginary landscapes, as in work by Ivon Hitchens or Howard Hodgkin, who worked with colour to create space.

Inspiration has also come from Ben Nicholson’s work, where he broke the landscape up into planes and the use of ‘objective chance’ as a way of working.

New work is based on the myth of Persephone and is about femininity, the fragility of nature and the eco sublime, exploring more sustainable ways of working.

Download this page as a PDF here