I first saw artist, Anna-Wili Highfield‘s paper ravens whilst at Hermès, in Eric Matthews office. Immediately I was drawn to them, their drama fascinated me, even more so when I found out they were created using torn bits of paper, sculpted together. I was dying to meet Anna and within 24hrs she opened both her studio space and the beautiful home to me that she shares with fellow artist and husband Simon Cavanough and their children Claude and Matilda.
Artist, Anna-Wili Highfield with son, Claude.
A fox in progress in Anna’s studio.
“My first Raven. Mum gave me the blanket for christmas. At home I like the mix of colours and white, but if a colour is bright I like it along side something more neutral like brown or grey. I like the art in my home to be playful and lyrical.” AWH
“Those boots have been places! Claude, my son’s, “copter!!!” Simon was forced to buy this rug at 19 when he was gently abducted in Morrocco, taken to the middle of nowhere and made to stay with a family until he bought a portion of their wears. I do like it though.” AWH
Anna-Wili Highfield at home with son, Claude.
“The birdlike pipe sculpture is husband, Simon’s work. Anna and Simon’s wedding invitation. A photograph of my Wolf sculpture by Petrina Tinslay. We have collaborated on a series of prints of my work on beautiful paper. She is so talented! The two pictures are by our friend and my studio mate, Nick Strike. I love his work. The Ivory bangle was given to me by my Grandmother. The rose gold bangle I bought when I was eight to remember my great grandparents with the $200 they left me. The Perfume is a Gardenia scent.”AWH
“Life sized Kangaroos in the studio. These were made for a woman with an amazing home near Bell’s Beach in Victoria. She has floor to ceiling glass walls that look out over grey gumtrees. I think these paper Eastern Greys will work really well there.” AWH
‘I think about how they say the French look in the mirror and take one thing off. I probably take one too many, but I cant help it.’ AWH
“I have a goddaughter named Poppy, I think of her when I buy these. The resin sculpture is one of Simon’s works. The blue bottle holds the last drops of Je Reviens given to me by a my best friends mum, on my wedding day as ‘something blue’ . I’ve always loved this scent that she has worn since I can remember. The little ring box was Simons Grandmother’s and houses my engagement ring. Bangles were both given to me by my Grandmother, Rosemary.” AWH
Anna-Wili Highlfield in front of her studio in Erskineville with son, Claude.
One of Anna-Wili’s beautiful life size Kangaroo’s.
“A Hans Hartung lithograph given to me by my grandmother. I love this. My first Raven, which I gave to Simon, my husband. The little grey picture was made by Simon as were the wooden ‘towers’, The cloud sculpture is my very favourite piece, I love it for sculptural as well as sentimental reasons (Simon made it and gave it to me on our first or second date). The gardenia painting was painted by friend Tania Castaing. The family have all been collecting feathers to add to this lamp. The rug was given to me by my Grandmother. She’s been slowing giving me some of her things, over the years. I love her taste. My great grandfathers basket that he brought back from New Guinea, used as a toy basket. I should probably keep it safer than this!” AWH
“My style is minimal, neutral, classic somewhat of a uniform. Well made, old, burnt colours. High waists and leather shoes. If something suits my colour and shape I’ll wear it forever.” AWH
The majority Anna’s work is by commission, making animal sculptures out of archival cotton paper. She has been collaborating with Eric Mathews from Hermès over the past 3 years. Anna says, ‘it is such a fun process thinking of creatures and concepts for the Hermès Australia windows.’
Anna has just finished collaborating on an exciting new project with her husband creating two chandeliers for the soon to open Hotel Hotel in Canberra. Inspired by Burley Griffins one is a Bogong Moth light the other an Owl light made from Kangaroo skin (close in texture to cotton paper but non flammable) Anna’s husband, Simon transferred his fascination with flight into wonderful turbulent brass interiors to the lights.POSTED BY Romy