by Greg Freeman

We at Woking Writers Circle know and value Carla Scarano D’Antonio as a poet, reviewer, and academic, mainly. But Carla has many other artistic skills – and is revealing them in an exhibition in her home village of Chobham this weekend and next. Her exhibition, Carla’s Favourite Things, at Chobham Community Centre, takes in paintings, needlework, bags, crochet work, and cards containing haiku. The exhibition is part of Surrey Artists Open Studios scheme, from 11-26 June. Carla is at Chobham community centre this weekend, 11-12 June, and next, 18-19 June, Saturday and Sunday, from 11am to 5pm, and also offers workshops for children and demonstrations.

Here is Carla, in her own words: “My artwork ranges in a variety of media, from oil painting to tempera, watercolours, acrylics and mixed media. It is mainly figurative, though some of my pieces can be abstractions of figurative forms. I work on objects, single items or still life, and landscapes. I do not mimic reality and look for a personal vision of shapes and colours sometimes disregarding proportions. Impressionistic views merge with a surrealist vision in my work and a poetic interpretation of reality. Sketching and drawing are always my first steps towards a finished work. Then I choose the media that best suits the composition. Sometimes I try different media for the same subject to see which one interprets the form and feeling I wish to convey. The picture needs to speak to the viewer, communicating multiple sensations and engaging them in the story. Then I choose the media that best suits the composition.

I am also a writer and my inspiration, both in writing and in painting, comes from where I live, what I do and the people I meet. It can be a view of the English landscape, flowers on a wall, working in my back garden, or an encounter. I am also very much inspired by travels, the changing of the seasons, exhibitions and memories. I think most of my work is a revisitation of memories of what I saw and experienced in the recent or distant past. I also produce craft work that ranges from crochet to needle work (embroidery, bags and clothes).”

Carla, who is already well known among her WWC friends for her energy and her tireless creative output, can often be spotted at Zoom meetings listening to fellow poets but also hard at work crocheting something at the same time. Her work fills the decent-sized room at Chobham community centre. She explained that a lot of it, but by no means all, was completed during lockdown. My wife Gillian and I came away with a painting of the North Sea coast, a pamphlet of Carla’s poems, some haiku cards, and a beautifully crocheted floral piece of work shaped like a wreath. Do go along to support Carla, and wonder at the range of her talent. More people need to see her work! You won’t be disappointed. You’ll be amazed.