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  • Lichen-effect glazes on porcelain by Linda Bloomfield

Collect Open: New Materials

Collect Open, supported by Sanlam UK, offers a unique opportunity to individual artists or collaborations to exhibit alongside world-class galleries at Collect. In the run up to the fair we’ll be taking a look the themes explored by the artists and collectives who are producing 12 new ambitious craft-led installations for this year’s Collect Open.

This week we delve into the range of new materials to feature in Collect Open from Lichen glazes to beeswax. Read on to find out more.

Linda Bloomfield - Lichen-effect glazes on porcelain

For Collect Open, Linda Bloomfield is creating an installation to bring attention the effect of global warming and pollution on lichens. A lichen is a composite organism consisting of a fungus and an alga functioning in a symbiotic relationship.

The artist has been involved with pottery since 1973, although her career path led her to train as a materials scientist, receiving a BSc in Engineering Science and a PhD in Materials Science from Warwick University and going on to set up her own studio in 2001.

Lichens are indicators of clean air. They are sensitive to pollutants including sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide and ozone. Air pollution causes a gradual decrease in the diversity of lichens.

Developing her work on lichen effect glazes, the installation of closed, organic forms in porcelain and stoneware, loosely represent granite boulders and stromatolites, which are covered with lichen-shaped patchworks of matt, textured and coloured glazes; ochre yellows, matt greys and chalk whites.

The splashes of ochre will be at first abundant but gradually decrease, representing the effects of gradually increasing air pollution over time, particularly in cities.

 

Annette Marie Townsend - Beeswax

Annette Marie Townsend brings an impressive selection of delicate wildflower sculptures handmade using traditional beeswax flower making techniques presented in a custom made

A Welsh artist, designer and maker from Cardiff, Annette graduated with a BA (Hons) Design in 1995 then went on to be employed by Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales as a Scientific Artist. Her career at the museum extended over 20 years, during which time she produced illustrations for academic publications and three dimensional models and dioramas for gallery display.

The translucency and life-like quality of beeswax has enabled artists to create realistic and beautiful representations of plants for gallery displays in order to engage visitors with scientific discovery, especially during the advent of the public museum in the 19th century.

The honeybee wax provided by Dr. Scott McArt, Assistant Professor at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University, New York. The wax which has been collected from bee colonies in New York State, has been analysed and found to contain pesticide residues. As the wildflower sculptures will contain traces of these agricultural chemicals, they will be clearly listed as artists materials.

The artwork aims to raise awareness of the widespread use of agricultural chemicals and the transfer of chemicals from agricultural crops to wildflowers and pollinators, and encourages discussion on the man-made issues which have contributed to the global decline of pollinating insects.

 

Lucie Gledhill and Kasia Wozniak - Silver, nitric acid and photography

SWAP started in January 2019. It is a unique collaboration between Kasia Wozniak, a photographer known for wet plate collodion photography and Lucie Gledhill, a jeweller known for chain making.

By introducing the use of nitric acid they have enabled the swapping on silver from chain to photograph. Through two previous collaborations, they realised that predicting an outcome is impossible. The result - they now embrace chance and respond instinctively working together and with the material that surprises in its originality.

Lucie is known as a chain maker and recent award Jerwood Makers Open showed an appetite for working in new and ambitious ways. Curb chain is a style of chain which has always been of interest. It is a symbol of the English gentleman, control and restraint become themes within Lucie’s work. Kasia is fascinated by the idea of creating a photographic image that is permanent and fragile, encapsulating the bespoke element of the photograph created only once.

We intend to share our own learning and continue to learn. We want to work up to the limits of the material, and through a deeper understanding of our materials we can better challenge our practices.

At Collect Open, they hope chain and photograph will become objects in their own right. The project is an experimental conversation between the two makers: photographer and jeweller, focusing on both practices’ main component - silver and it's changing state.

 

See the installations from Collect Open at Collect from 27 February - 1 March 2020 at Somerset House.

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