Presented by the Crafts Council, Collect, at the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, London, showcases exceptional modern craft and design works produced in the last 5 years by living artists. The exhibition is vast and runs across all floors of the gallery, with additional installations in the stairwells, notably Wanying Liang’s dramatic and extraordinarily detailed porcelain sculpture, which is on the ground floor.
Beautifully presented, Collect covers projects in a wide variety of media by some 400 artists from 30 countries. This year I once again focused my attention on artists working in silver. I have also included a few creations that caught my eye in other materials. If you’re in London this show is unmissable, whether you’re looking for inspiration, a collector’s piece or simply a visual feast, go see!
My first stop was Bishopsland Educational Trust’s stand and 2019’s selection of contemporary silver, in a display curated and designed by Gregory Parsons, did not disappoint. New artists with compelling pieces on show included Takuya Kamiyama and Jessica Jue. I first saw Takuya’s work at the Hand Engravers Association Symposium in 2017 and have been fascinated by his textural organic vessels and forms ever since. This is the first time that I’ve spotted Jessica’s work and I was really taken by the soft sensual shapes of her Tulip Beakers, bursting open to reveal their golden interiors. I also loved Annemarie Reinhold’s dinky sculptural Carrot Spoons.
Silversmith Bryony Knox, recently in the public eye for her part in the BBC’s popular Victorian House of Arts and Crafts series has created a stunning narrative design based on a Scottish island legend: “This piece is inspired by a tale from the Isle of Jura where it is said that swallows, instead of flying south for the winter, dive into the sea and transform into fish, swimming around the island, only to return again as birds in the spring. These two large brooches of a swallow and flying fish sit on a large sea green vessel and dive in and out of the sea! They can be removed from the spinner and worn too. Can’t resist a dual function!” Ask someone on the Bishopsland stand to show you this inventive piece in movement – as well as spinning in unison both bird and fish include kinetic parts, very much a signature in Bryony’s evocative work.
Claire Malet’s latest creation is mobile too, in an entirely different way. Her dynamic plant inspired wall hanging would look even more sensational floating in an open interior space, its lush pods interlaced with delicate fronds left to dance gently in the air.
Inspired by fractals and Fibonacci sequences Ryan McClean’s silver bowls suggest mathematically perfect natural forms, bold and immensely pleasing, with contrasting inner and outer shapes.
It was great to see Miriam Hanid at the show and have the opportunity to hold her latest works – silver has such a wonderful feel and weight and Miriam’s work is particularly tactile. ‘Do not touch’ signs abound at the show yet there are so many pieces that invite temptation. Miriam’s pair of tumblers delightfully illustrate her innate skills in chasing and repoussé with her Cascade Tumbler (below) revealing the undulating interplay of light and shade as well as the volume and depth created by pieces of cloth as they are draped.
Abigail Brown’s work combines smooth silver surfaces with a distinctive grain and textural detailing in organically coloured vitreous enamel. Some of her pieces also carry a story: “My work is an expression of my deeply rooted relationship with the natural world. This piece, ‘Fogou’, is about Cornish ancient sacred sites; I was particularly thinking of Carn Euny in Penwith. The lichen represents the symbiotic relationship that the ancestors, who inhabited sites like Carn Euny, had with the land.”
Malcolm Appleby currently has an extensive show at the Scottish Gallery, which was previewed on the Armadillo Central blog earlier this week. His silver and gilt bowl explores bark formations and the other natural markings of trees, with an interior suggesting leafy reflections in dappled pools of woodland light.
Elsewhere in the show, silverware appeared on the Ruthin Craft Centre stand, also curated by Gregory Parsons. Shown below one of Yusuke Yamamoto’s distinctive pieces blending soft edged structural shapes with fine textures to create a landscape of inner and outer pattern.
Here’s a little snapshot of works in other media. See captions for artists’ and gallery details with pieces in porcelain, stoneware, enamel, bronze, brass, steel, wicker and paper. There were some fantastic textile pieces too, well worth a second visit!
Collect, the International Art Fair for Modern Craft and Design, runs until tomorrow, Sunday 3rd March at The Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London SW3 4RY. Check the Collect website for more information.
Visit the featured artists’ websites for further details of their work: Abigail Brown, Alexandra Raphael, Amy Bird, Annaliisa Alastalo, Annemarie Reinhold, Bryony Knox, Catrin Howell, Chinoko Sakamoto, Claire Malet, Halima Cassell, Jessica Jue, Ju-cheol Yun, Lizzie Farey, Miriam Hanid, Olivia Walker, Rodger Stevens, Ryan McClean, Takuya Kamiyama, Wanying Liang, Yusuke Yamomoto.
Learn more about Bishopsland Educational Trust‘s work with contemporary silversmiths.
Check Gregory Parsons’ website.
Text © Emma Boden, images © see captions.