Collect returns to London’s Saatchi Gallery for its 14th edition from 22 – 25 February, bringing together 40 galleries from four continents for a celebration of making across dozens of different art and craft disciplines. There will be museum-quality works and installations from hundreds of talented artists and craftspeople from the UK, USA, South Korea, Japan, France, Norway, Italy, Belgium, Germany, the Netherlands and Sweden.
You can glimpse a cross section of pieces from last year’s Collect in my snapshot review. At the end of this post there is also a gallery focused on the silverware and jewellery showcased on Bishopsland Educational Trust’s stand, again in 2017. All of these makers will have fresh work on show at Collect 2018.
Bishopsland are linked to many respected names working in contemporary silver in the UK and they nurture young talent too, with an annual post graduate course which supports numerous emerging artists.
To celebrate their 25th anniversary this year the Trust are showing pieces at Collect by 25 makers with whom they have particularly strong links. We’ve picked a handful to feature. These creations reflect the sheer versatility and malleability of silver as a medium as well as the artists’ multifaceted approaches. While the manner in which they manipulate and cajole their chosen material is remarkably different, as witnessed by the originality of these designs, all of the makers reference nature as their starting point.
Jane Short is a leading British maker of enamelled silverware. Her individually designed pieces have a painterly quality blending colour with plain, engraved or textured silver and other metals. The tones she applies can be dense and rich or soft and evocative, applied with a fluidity that sings on silver and is instantly recognisable as her work. She employs traditional techniques such as basse-taille and champlêvé and is also known for stretching the boundaries, exploring new applications and finishes to refine her expertise and artistic output.
This year she exhibits ‘A Walk On The Undercliff, Looking Out To Sea’, 300 x 170 mm, a dish in silver, gold foils and enamel, inspired by the Sussex coast near her studio.
“This is one in a series of dishes based on abstract landscape, mostly the Downs, and other walks that I enjoy along the coast around Brighton. They are my response to observed colour, shapes, and atmosphere.
The Makower Trust commissioned me to make a piece of enamelled silverware when I left the RCA in 1979. They encouraged emerging silversmiths through commissioning such pieces, and later set up the Bishopsland Trust workshops and postgraduate course.
The Makowers have put a huge amount of energy and enthusiasm into supporting young designer silversmiths since that first commission to me in the Seventies. The Bishopsland Educational Trust and its specialist course are an amazing testament to all their hard work, and it is a great pleasure to be exhibiting with them at Collect.” – Jane Short.
Claire Malet is a metal artist and silversmith who works in precious, non-precious and found metals. Many of her creations are sculptural, ranging from abstract to figurative forms, drawn directly from nature as well as from the discarded, whether that be shed bark or old tin cans. Other pieces focus on an intense exploration of the metals themselves fusing unexpected combinations to create compelling textures and blended tones. This dialogue with the materials themselves seems to run through everything that she makes. While some pieces are artfully punctured and embellished to form perfectly finished works, others appear as fragments, still pleasingly complete, just as discarded elements of nature can be.
At Collect 2018 Claire is exhibiting Among the Trees, 2018, 999 fine silver with glass vial, 50 mm diameter x 240 mm high. Asked about this ensemble, the artist said: “These vessels are inspired by woodland: walking amongst trees, the shapes of tree trunks, peeling bark, the spaces between the trees. I love bringing small twigs and branches into the house to display; I wanted to make a group of vessels that evoke woodland, and that would gently hold a twig or two, each piece has a glass vial which sits discreetly in the vessel for use with displays which require water.”
Emerging designer maker Dominic Simon is a recent Bishopsland graduate who specialises in hand engraving. His work is bold and well engineered combining clean surfaces with intricately patterned areas to form precious objects with geometric references, many of them with a practical purpose. Recent creations play with gold as well as silver adding to the graphical slant in his work. How the natural world interacts with light and its geological processes are a primary source of inspiration. He is showing The Crescent Flask, a hand engraved hip flask in sterling silver and 18ct gold plate, 120 x 70 x 30 mm.
“The Crescent Flask, a bespoke piece is inspired by ‘drinking under the stars’. The engraving mimics the fluidity of water molecules within the clouds above. The shape captures the silhouette of a crescent moon, its natural curvature providing a comfortable fit, not only to hold but also in the way it lies against the body.” – Dominic Silver
Followers of Armadillo Central will already be familiar with Miriam Hanid‘s work. As I write she is putting the finishing touches to her Collect exhibit so you’ll have to visit the exhibition or check back later to view it in its full glory: Infinitude, hand raised, chased and repoussé chased in fine silver, 300 x 300 x 210 mm.
Much of Miriam’s work is influenced by representations of water and movement, and this piece is no exception: “Infinitude is inspired by the sea and reflections on the sheer vastness of the ocean, drawing on parallels with feelings of infinity within cosmic space.” – Miriam Hanid
Malcolm Appleby is one of Britain’s most celebrated art engravers and silversmiths – read a review of The Scottish Gallery’s publication about him – and has a long association with Bishopsland. He regularly hosts groups of students in his workshop in Scotland. His aim is to pass on valuable skills and stretch experimental and collaborative creativity in the next generation of silversmiths and hand engravers. The last ‘gang’ has only just left his workshop and can be seen wearing his tongue in cheek t-shirt design (find details) above. Discover their names and details on Bishopsland’s website (links below).
Malcolm is showing Exploded Form, a sculptural table piece that doubles as bowl or candle holder, in 958 Britannia silver, 274 x 112 mm.
“Exploded Form is a piece that I’ve revisited every so often in different ways, which is all part of the process. This incarnation emerged from my slashed beaker ideas – here they’ve been re-envisaged as an exploded form. I was referencing ‘exploded views’ of things in design and playing with that idea and with the words themselves too. There is an allusion to the mechanics of explosions in this piece, the way certain hard objects fragment, but nature’s always done it before we have, like those fungal forms that erupt spraying millions of spores into the air. So it’s all about organic processes and shapes in the end.” – Malcolm Appleby.
Visit the Crafts Council website for details about Collect 2018 which runs from 22 – 25 February at the Saatchi Gallery, London.
Check image captions below for details of some of the Bishopsland makers in silver at Collect 2017.
© Text and all 2017 gallery images: Emma Boden; for 2018, Jane Short’s work photographed by © Richard Valencia; Malcolm Appleby’s work © Phillipa Swann; Claire Malet, Dominic Simon and Theresa Nguyen’s (2017) © the artists.