The High Window’s Resident Artist: Spring 2023

Carla 3 cropped


With this new issue of The High Window we bid farewell to Rowena Sommerville, whom I would like to thank for the excellent contribution she made to the journal last year. However, I would also like to take the opportunity to welcome the poet and artist, Carla Scanaro D’Antonio, as our new Resident Artist for 2023. Carla’s poetry and reviews have appeared regularly in The High Window and her first full-length collection, Workwear, was published by The High Window Press in Winter 2022.



My relationship with art started at a very young age. I was only two and a half years old when I drew a human figure complete with a body, arms, legs and a face, one eye, a nose and a mouth. My mother was flabbergasted; she thought it was brilliant and encouraged and praised my artwork from then on. She also taught me to crochet and knit when I was a kid, a passion that developed over the years. At primary, middle and secondary school I had art sessions, and there was history of art at secondary school as well. I studied modern and contemporary art at university, but my degrees mainly focused on language and literature, English, Italian and French. I was an English teacher in Italy, and when I moved to England in 2007, I worked as an Italian teacher in adult education, secondary state schools and international schools. I am good at foreign languages and love travelling abroad. My main passion is literature and I am a voracious reader. [CSd’A]


Human figure


When I was young, I enjoyed visiting museums in Rome such as Galleria Borghese and Galleria d’Arte Contemporanea. I made sketches and studied modern and contemporary painters. In my university years, I travelled to Paris, London and Edinburgh several times and visited all the art museums there too. In Italy I attended life drawing sessions at the Accademia di Belle Arti in via di Ripetta with Giulio Turcato and workshops in the studios of Luciana Fortini and Mario Santini. I used to practise drawing in a traditional way and mainly used tempera and oil, painting still lives, trees and landscapes in a figurative style. Completing a picture took ages as I paid attention to minute details.


carla pic 2 cropped


When I moved to England, I had the opportunity to attend art classes organised by Lancaster University and Dallam School (their adult community courses) in south Cumbria, where I taught Italian too. My mind was opened up to new techniques and styles. I learned how to use watercolours and different media, mixed watercolour with ink, used oil pastels, Inktense blocks, soft pastels, Artbars, Brusho and all kinds of watercolour pencils, experimented with collage and composed art journals that mixed different media. Attending these classes was a revelation that unleashed my creativity and an exciting experience that is still going on. I am still in contact with Janette Phillips, who lives in Milnthorpe, and follow her courses online ( I also followed Shirley Trevena’s online tutorials ( ) and took part in craft and art trails and fairs in the north such as the Silverdale and Arnside Art and Craft Trail and I am currently part of the Surrey Artists Open Studios; my profile can be found here: I am also a member of Woking Art Society and take part in their demo workshops as well as exhibitions in Mercia Walk and at The Lightbox in Woking. I also follow Hannah Bruce’s activities ( Her studio is in Knaphill and she is involved in several projects in the area.


carla pic 3 (2) cropped


My writing developed too while I was attending workshops and readings and obtaining an MA in creative writing at Lancaster University in 2010-12. I have published two collections: Negotiating Caponata (Dempsey & Windle, 2020) and Workwear (The High Window, 2022). As Resident Artist for The High Window in 2023 I will explore textiles ranging from painting, to patchwork, crochet and embroidery and ekphrases in poetry. I will connect my work to different kinds of textiles from all over the world and will be inspired by other artists’ paintings. The theme of the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy this year is ‘Only Connect’, which can be ‘as simple or as complex as you like’, the co-ordinator David Remfry remarks; it fits well with my project! Clothes are so important in every culture and in everyday life that we cannot help expressing ourselves and our identity whilst wearing them.

*****Workwear cover 2


I am starting with Workwear, my latest book. The cover picture was created by my daughter, Irene D’Antonio; it encompasses the spirit and themes of the poems in the collection. The clothes hanging on a line are a typical image of Italian culture and the articles of clothing depicted reference some of the poems in the collection. Here are some examples:


Carla Scanaro D’Antonio: Three Poems from Workwear

Elizabeth I_phoenix portrait, Nicholas Hilliard

From The Phoenix portrait by Nicholas Hilliard

A gold and red enamel phoenix
is near her heart
with wide-spread wings,
its head stretched out towards the frame
resting a few seconds above the flames
before flying about the picture
and printing its sharp-edged shape
all over the indigo velvet gown
embroidered in gold and pearls
with precious stones
sleeves ending at a small wrist,
her thin fingers holding a red rose
with firm grip.

It glides along the transparent veil
hides under the collar
twirls around her face –
a Japanese Noh mask.

She secretly smiles
at such an explosion of life.


Rembrandt at Kenwood House, Self-portrait


You are there, unfinished
with everyday impasto garments,
the frankness of your gaze
facing us with an easy posture.
You aren’t wearing helmet, gorget,
turned-up collar,
gold chain or oriental attire.
Instead work clothes:
a white chemise and beret
of pronounced brushstrokes,
dark sketched coat.
You hold your palette,
brushes and mahlstick;
two circles are inscribed
on the wall behind you
like floating planets,
our unpinned beliefs.
There you are, unrelenting,
in the intensity of your chiaroscuro.


San Francesco, Cimabue

From a fresco by Cimabue

A tunic of coarse grey fabric
with patches sewn outside and inside,
a rope is knotted in the middle,
no red slippers or boots, or shoes
no sandals, flip flops, trainers, no socks
no stick or staff,
no money, no gold, silver or copper
no pack or bread, no sandwich or toast
no fruit, no drinks
no coat, no mantum, fur or faux-fur
no cassock or chasuble, no fanon or pallium
no scarf or snood, no stole, no sash
no hat or skullcap, no beanie or sun hat
no trilby, no tiara, no beret.
He prays near rocks in the forest,
loves birds and wolves.
His head rests on a stone.


I hope you enjoy my poetry and artwork during my year of working and experimenting with a connection with culture, with people around us, and with ordinary life and beauty. More information on my artwork, publications and blog is on my website:

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