Rinalda and Arabella was developed in 2012 as the canopy name for a project that has been in the making for decades. In the beginning, artist Belle Carpenter spent years painting wall frescos with French pastels and gold leaf to create images which are abstract in nature, reminiscent of Klimt or the cave paintings of Lascaux. Carpenter works in layer upon layer of a dream like landscape, textured with intuitive markings and occasional references to trees, fish, horses and figures, that emerge for the viewer, adept at reading spirits lingering just long enough for others to perceive.
In 2011 these frescos were photographed by Tasha Ostrander. By the poetic direction of Carpenter, Ostrander then reinterpreted these images through a fractal process of liquid computer software to create a landscape of flowers, psychedelia, and geometrical botanicals. At this point there are over 70 pieces developed from the original frescos. A selection of the images have been printed with the light jet process. This medium has extraordinary vibrance, clarity and color.
In 2013 Belle Carpenter and Asif Shaikh entered into a collaborative project to interpret some of Rinalda & Arabella’s images onto elaborately hand embroidered tapestries and wearable art.
Asif Shaikh (from Ahmedabad, India) is a designer and master embroiderer with a passion for preserving the craft and reviving the art of embroidery……………
(Among many achievements of note,) In 2008, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London asked Asif to revive some of their Mughal embroidery pieces. Asif specializes in the 18th century aari embroidery that was produced by the royal courts. - Reviving a Dying Art-And Empowering Woman in the Process by Salma Hasan Ali, The Islamic Monthly
“It’s our duty to revive our ancient art and to pass it on to the next generation,” he says. So much has already been created in textiles and embroidery in the past 2,000 years in India that even if nothing new is created, it’s vital to preserve this rich heritage, he explains.
His goal, however, is not just to preserve but also to advance the art of embroidery and propel it to another level of craftsmanship and beauty. In the past two decades, he has revamped tools and techniques, developed new stitches and introduced miniature styles, blended traditional and contemporary designs and colors, supported and trained local artisans, and promoted education and appreciation for the art nationally and internationally. - Christa Obuchowski of the AromaBotanica Institute