We visited the studio of Anna-Rose Carpenter, a designer and visual artist whose practice ranges from weaving, textile design to sculptural objects. As part of our ongoing series on artist’s studios, we wanted to take a look at what goes into making Anna-Rose’s beautiful objects…
Is your studio near to or far from where you live?
My studio is based in Parnell, which is a 20 or so minute bike ride from my flat in Kingsland.
I try to make my way straight there after a day at work in Newmarket or Britomart – as that cuts my travel time in half. Cycling is an invigorating way to get around, but being at the mercy of the weather does mean I sometimes arrive at the studio drenched to the bone. I counteract this by doing some star jumps to warm up and finding myself a warm piece of fabric to wrap around me.
How much time do you spend there during an average week?
My rhythms with studio time are pretty erratic, one evening after work is often all I can seem to fit in – ideally I would also spend 4 or 5 hours there on one of my days off. Weaving is not a fast process, and it is the set-up time before you begin weaving that takes the longest. My weaving mentor who has the equipment needed to prepare the yarn is based in Thames, so a full day is required to get there and do the preparation of the warp. This is so worth it, Paul is a retired surgeon and a self-taught and highly skilled craftsman. He has much wisdom to impart and he is also prone to playing a great ‘cool jazz’ playlist while we work.
When is your most productive time of day?
I usually find evenings particularly productive, although with the slow and steady nature of weaving as long as I am well fed and watered I can make good progress at any time – as long as I have planned beforehand an idea of the colours and proportions I am aiming for.
What do you need in your studio/workshop in order to make your work?
My loom ! A beautiful object, handed on to me from my sister-in-law’s grandmother. Shuttles – these are what the yarn is wound around to weave. And a table, for drawing and piling books and yarns on.
Do you let other people/artists/dealers into your work space or do you prefer privacy?
I share the space with three others. Our time there does not often cross over but when it does we have some good chats, someone will have music on and we get about whatever we are needing to do. I do enjoy time there alone also, it provides a rare chance to think and reflect on whatever has been going on in life while I work away.
Do you make better work when the studio is tidy or chaotic?
I like my space to be fairly tidy when I begin, so that I have everything I need in arms reach. I am definitely not a tidy person by nature so the state of this quickly deteriorates as I work. Weaving is a pretty clean process , if I am doing jewellery or sculpture type work I just embrace the mess – I feel that is a healthy thing to do.
Do you play music while you work? (If so – what’s on your playlist?)
Yes, definitely music. Lately I have been having a bit of a throwback and listening to Neil Young and James Taylor, also NZ musicians Marlon Williams and Nadia Reid. I have also just jumped onto the podcast train. I have been listening to the 99% Invisible podcasts – which are interesting snippets of education on all sorts from creative psychology to modern history to how Taiwan deals with its recycling and waste (impressive!)
What are the three essential elements for your ideal studio?
Natural light, speakers, a huge table.
You can follow Anna-Rose’s progress on her Instagram @annarosecarpenter and see a wider range of her work on her website www.annarosecarpenter.com. Please feel free to contact Anna through either of these avenues if you are interested in a made to order bag or to see her current stock.