Collect catalogue 2017 sample - page 9

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What is it that makes Collect special? When the team at
Crafts sat down to plan the opening section of this year’s
catalogue, we were keen to try and distill the fair’s essence
and the four words we kept returning to were: collecting
(not exactly a leap I grant you), connoisseurship, materials
and beauty – which, happily enough, are exactly the topics
the next 20 pages will cover.
On page 8 we set curator and critic Glenn Adamson
the task of working out how the collector of the future
might behave. His response is bracingly post-capitalist
– envisaging a world where craft is thought of as a verb
rather than a noun and the traditional fair has morphed into
a ‘relational’ social project. Rather than designing pieces to
be put on people’s shelves, meanwhile, makers will become
ever more interested in creating immersive installations
– perhaps Collect Open can be seen as the start of this
process. He believes a new generation of collectors will be
vital to this evolution – not just via commissioning, but also,
if Sarah Elson’s Launch Pad initiative is any indicator, actually
living alongside artists, in order to develop bespoke works.
“Leading collectors of our field will indeed be those who find
ways to capture craft in motion – incorporating prototypes,
videos, installation art and bespoke environments of all kinds
into their lives,’ he concludes.”
If the way some collectors follow their passion may be
set to change then it might also be that in years to come
Collect will be full of objects made from a plethora of
different materials. On page 22 Caroline Till, co-founder
of the future research studio FranklinTill, charts a course
through a myriad of emerging materials and processes.
Some of them are new and the result of our recent industrial
history – Fordite, for instance, is made up of many layers
of automotive enamel paint slag from old car factories,
while Plastiglomerate is a mixture of molten plastic and
beach sediment. Others, such as human hair, dust or cow
excrement, have been with us forever, but their value
has only recently been reassessed by a group of young
designers and makers.
That said, some elements of the showwill never change.
The fair will always be paradise for the craft connoisseur.
But how do you become one? On page 18 the author and
academic Allen S. Weiss describes his own personal journey
from antique hunting road trips with his parents during the
1960s to a Damascene moment at the Utsuwaken pottery
gallery in Kyoto that lead to a life-long fascination with
Japanese ceramics.
Beauty, meanwhile, is a word that artists, designers and
architects have tended to eschew – possibly because it
was too subjective or perhaps owing to the fact it became
riddled with connotations of tradition during an era when
conceptual art was in its imperial phase. Recently however,
it has staged something of a comeback – even providing the
title to last year’s Cooper Hewitt Design Triennial in New
York. But defining it, as we all know, is a distinctly slippery
proposition. Undeterred, renowned design and architecture
commentator Hugh Pearman gives it a whirl on page 14,
taking an eclectic journey that encompasses Rubens and Le
Corbusier, via the Kinks and former deputy Prime Minister
John Prescott. It’s well worth a read.
I hope you enjoy the fair.
INTRODUCTION
GRANT GIBSON
Editor of
Crafts
magazine
Voided Vessel, by Eleanor Lakelin,
represented by Sarah Myerscough Gallery.
Photography by Angela Moore, styling by
Despina Curtis.
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