by Sara Khan
The world has woken up to the visionary creativity of contemporary craft with programmes like The Great Pottery Throw Down helping to bring a spotlight on the sector. This is further evidenced by the Crafts Council’s Measuring the Craft Economy report. Figures showed there were 11,620 craft businesses in the UK with 43,000 employees contributing £3.4bn to the British economy each year.
The market is on the up, and people are increasingly drawn towards the artisan skills and materials used to produce beautiful objects that tell a unique story. Riding the waves of the surge of interest within craft, Collect: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects returns to London Saatchi’s gallery on 22 – 25 February 2018 providing a snapshot of what craft means today, and giving a glimpse of what it might become in the future.
Here’s five things to look forward to seeing at Collect.
Showcasing 40 galleries and hundreds of artists
The fair will bring together 40 galleries and hundreds of artists from as far and wide as the USA, South Korea, Japan, Germany, and the UK for a celebration of making. Museum-quality works will include ceramics, furniture, jewellery, textiles, sculpture, and metalwork. The presentations and installations will offer visitors a multidisciplinary overview of the people, processes, materials and ideas defining international craft in 2018.
A range of artists will present innovative works that push and blur the boundaries of craft. From artists sustaining and enhancing historic craft techniques to experimental artists breaking material boundaries and pioneering new processes. This year’s fair will showcase work from the frontiers of material investigation, featuring fusions of fish leather and ancient oak from Kari Furre, and pewter and acrylic from Joel Parkes (both of Guilded); Harry Morgan’s pairings of concrete and glass (Craft Scotland); as well as South Africa’s 50 Golborne presenting the Ubuhle women’s collective interweaving of Czech glass beads into their black-fabric ndwangos.
Casting, blowing and firing masters
Belgium’s Spazio Nobile gallery presents the solo work of Piet Stockmans, who has spent the last 40 years exploring the versatility and vulnerability of porcelain. Cynthia Corbett showcases ceramic finalists and alumni from the Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, including the next generation of ceramic artists from the Royal College of Art.
Scottish North Lands Creative will be making its debut at Collect and is known as one of the world’s most prestigious centres for the study and development of glass as an art form. Long-standing Collect exhibitor London Glassblowing shows work by the exciting new artist Monette Larsen, winner of the Emerging Artist's Residency Prize at the 2017 British Glass Biennale.
Collect Open 2018 provides an opportunity for contemporary makers to challenge perceptions of art and craft and gives a platform to the fresh ideas, materials and concepts
14 artists were selected by acclaimed designer Jay Osgerby and the Crafts Council and presentations will include the bold abstract tapestries of Jilly Edwards, the figurative embroidered portraits of Emily Jo Gibbs and the site-specific work created by ceramicist Alison Cooke from historic clay excavated from London's building sites.
Experimental and immersive displays
Collect Spotlights returns to offer selected galleries the opportunity to present experiment-driven displays that make thoughtful interventions to the visitor’s journey around the galleries. Four galleries have been chosen for 2018. Designer Bookbinders presents works by artist-bookbinder Annette Friedrich whose work is inspired by the writings of Virgina Woolf; Jaggedart will showcase the work of porcelain installation artist Valeria Nascimento; Ting-Ying Gallery presents work from ceramic artist Jiang Yanze and Vessel Gallery presents work from glass sculptor Elliott Walker.