Gold Thread to Gold Leaf – Carne Griffiths
Carne Griffiths’ fascinating style is the product of a classical training followed by the twelve years he spent working at the longest-established gold wire embroidery firm in the world. There, after graduating from Maidstone college in 1995, he worked his way up from apprentice to chief creative director and his work was featured on catwalk collections for famous couturiers and theatre designers.
But then he decided to go it alone and in the last ten years has achieved a style of his own and has a growing international reputation. Since establishing his own studio in 2010 he has exhibited at the Royal Academy and New Orleans and this will be his third exhibition at the London Art Fair. Later this year he will be exhibiting in Hong Kong, Italy and the US, but not before a visit to Forest Row, East Sussex where he is showing original works as well as a new exhibition of limited edition prints.
Asked how he manages to produced such detailed work in an unheated London studio this winter he replies: “I think if you immerse yourself enough in the work you forget about these things! I have been known to use the fan heater and a good set of thermals too.”
His transition from embroidery designer to solo artist proves that the talented can reinvent themselves as many times as they want. He is fascinated by the power of the calligrapher’s pen and the manipulation of the drawn line. Perhaps as a result of his unconventional entry into the world of exhibition, he works in unusual media like tea, brandy and vodka, alongside calligraphy ink and occasionally gold leaf.
Like the images here, many of his works revolve around the human form in a combination of both literal and abstract translation. Sometimes the work is very straightforward, a girl’s face or a child on all fours. At other times the work becomes almost fanciful, involving garlands and abstract geometric designs that are interlaced with the more classical poses.
Carne’s previous experience in the film and theatre has given him unparalleled opportunities to explore other worlds where dreams and escapism transcend physical boundaries. During his time as a gold thread artist he was deeply involved in designing costumes for films such as Valkyrie and the Phantom of the Opera.
He is also supporting the Joss Searchlight charity which supports the families of children with brain tumours, and recently donated the a piece called ‘Unique’ for auction : “I think as an artist you are in a unique position to help charities by producing something emotive which will also contribute financially to a cause….having become a father to twins and having our little girl spend a while at Great Ormond Street, I felt a connection to this charity. The Auction takes place in central london at the same time as my exhibition with Ashdown Gallery and I hope that it can help to raise awareness and funds for such a worthwhile cause.”
Ashdown Gallery: Forest Row, East Sussex from 23rd February to 13th March 2013
London Art Fair: Business Design Centre Islington from 16-20 January 2013