I was blown away by the breadth of talent, textures, colours and concepts at the Crafts Council’s ‘Collect’ show, which runs until the 6th February at London’s Saatchi Gallery.
The 13th edition of this exhibition, otherwise known as The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects, encompasses the work of 400 artists, 37 galleries and includes pieces originating from 14 countries.
Crafts continue to enjoy a huge revival and ‘Collect’ reflects that trend. The work on show is incredibly diverse, crossing the borders between handmade, utilitarian, aesthetic, wearable and purely decorative. Some pieces are created as statements with no practical function, but there can lie immense beauty and that in itself has purpose, bringing joy, intrigue, humour, a comment from the artist and maker, or a dialogue with the viewer. Thanks to the Crafts Council’s careful curation, the standard of work shown is exceptional and covers a variety of disciplines.
A number of items are so strikingly fragile that they appear untouchable, others yearn to be pressed into use. What is most enticing is the possibility that we all have of owning something that is unique in the true sense of the word – prices vary enormously and the entry point is pretty low. At the other end of the scale there is high art and with values beyond the budget of most. What binds this show together is quality, with everything I saw reflecting an outstanding level of craftsmanship.
‘Collect’ offers an opportunity to explore an interest in design, decoration and interiors as well as art and the poetic – it’s uplifting in terms of inspiration, a chance to discover creativity at its very best. There was so much to absorb, with every space in the Saatchi gallery elegantly filled with aesthetic temptation.
I chose to focus on one of the stands and will review their work in a future post. Here, like a bag of deliciously coloured sweets scattered across the page, are a few snapshots from the rest of the exhibition. With way too much to cover in a few short hours, I look forward to viewing other visitors’ finds across Instagram. I hope you’ll come back soon to see what captured most of my attention and might similarly entice you.
If you’re in London visit the show to see, buy and collect ceramics, porcelain, glassware, textiles, crafted paper, bookbinding, furniture, jewellery, metalwork, fine silver and gold, sculpture and a few intriguing installations. Find a piece of handmade magic to take away.
Don’t miss Grayson Perry’s spectacular Essex House Tapestries: The Life of Julie Cope (2015). These were made as part of a suite of works for A House for Essex, designed by Perry and FAT Architecture. They tell the story of an imaginary woman, Julie, an Essex Everywoman whose biography Perry has written in a long poem which also provides a social history of Essex since the Second World War.
Bid in an Artsy online benefit auction raising funds to help the Crafts Council build a new home for craft in London. Planned as a flexible and diverse space it will showcase new makers and new making to new audiences. The auction aims to raise over £40,000, and includes works by Grayson Perry, Edmund de Waal, Clare Twomey, Tord Boontje, Joseph Harrington and Kate Malone.
You might enjoy reading an earlier Armadillo Central post about the critical importance and value of crafts in society.
The Crafts Council‘s ‘Collect’ show runs at the Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, London from 2 – 6 February 2017.
© Text and Images: Emma Boden, 2017, except un-watermarked images © captioned artists