9 April 2019
Review by Dieneke Ferguson
This year Collect took place from 28 February – 2 March 2019. And as in previous years it was at the Saatchi Gallery. In its 15th year it has considerably grown over time. Presented by the Crafts Council it shows craft in a fine art context. Over time it has positioned itself as THE place to see international collectable craft in the UK with a focus on craft and making. These days makers are interested in developing new techniques and exploiting materials. Some have used history as their starting point, others use nature. This year it supports 40 specialist galleries worldwide who represent highly talented artists and their work which are all for sale. Half of them are from outside of the UK. More than 400 artists from 30 countries were on show.
As in previous years, there was a huge range of work. I particularly loved the work produced in glass.
Collect Open started in 2011. Since then it has built up a reputation of exhibiting some of the biggest and boldest installations. It showcases individual makers and collaborations providing them with a platform to break free from the usual constraints of their practice and present exceptional new work. Here is a selection of the ones that I particularly liked.
Here is a selection of the ones that I particularly liked.
Hejab by Sara Peymanpour
Sarah is an Iranian-British jewellery designer, gemologist and artist. She has travelled extensively which has enabled her to absorb influences from various cultures. She combines innovative technologies and ancient techniques to create exotic jewellery. This installation, Hejab, aims to challenge the traditional concepts of culture, image and product utilisation, examining a taboo: Islamic cover for women.
100 Elephants by Charlotte Pack
100 Elephants was made in 2018 in porcelain by ceramic artist Charlotte Pack. She combines her passion for wildlife and clay to explore different ways to draw attention to the declining wildlife and natural world. It is estimated up to 100 elephants are killed each day driven by the insatiable global demand for ivory. On wildlife Conservation Day 4 Dec 2018 Charlotte stayed awake for 24 hours , handsculpting 100 elephants in porcelain. Each elephant representing one killed in the wild.
Conversation with Friends by Tina Vlassopulos
This is Tina Vlassopulos with her installation Conversation with Friends. It consists of 14 abstract portraits of Tina’s friends representing each one’s character, disposition and psyche in a subjective and symbolic way.
Marking Time by Janine Partington
These are some of her pieces – an immersive installation capturing the fragments of memory lost when a parent has dementia. It represents a very personal response to the increasing loss of her father to Alzheimer’s disease. She explores mark@along through the carving and painting of leather to create distinctive, tactile surfaces.
Seven Stages of degradation by Louis Thompson and Sophie Thomas
This installation is the result of a collaboration between creative designer and campaigner Sophie Thomas and glass artist Louis Thompson. The chandelier is their latest collaborative piece around the theme of ocean plastic. Using hand-blown glass and ocean plastic it recreates the chaotic beauty of an entangled ghost net, representing the colossal flow of plastic pollution that runs into our seas every minute of every day.
Mary O’Malley Chinese porcelain
Mary O’Malley is an American-born ceramicist currently working and residing in Long Island, New York and London. She re-contextualises past imagery through contemporary social-political narratives. Her work explores, subversively and through allegory, narratives that discuss the banal essence of pretty things, and the weighty historical contexts from which they originate.
Fever Dream by Elliott Walker
Elliott Walker is one of the few glassblowers in the world who use glass to create figurative pieces. He uses ‘hot sculpting’ or the Mesello technique. Mostly still lifes that seem to be frozen in time. The fruit is mineralised like crystallised geodes, the beauty of which can be viewed in the dazzling intricacies of his technique.
White Fish by Elliott Walker
This is another one by Elliott Walker at Vessel Gallery at Collect 2019. It is called White Fish, Elliott Walker is one of the few glassblowers in the world who use glass to create figurative pieces. He uses ‘hot sculpting’ or the Mesello technique. Mostly still lifes that seem to be frozen in time.
Auri by Anthony Scala
This work is Part of the Auri collection from Anthony Scala. He initially trained in architectural model making completed in 1999. He then began an apprenticeship at London Glassblowing. Auri is blown and optical glass, with precious metal leaf.
Forest of Stools by Su-Yeon Kim
Forest of Stools by Su-Yeon-Kim is drawn with melted glass. The Wannmul Gallery supports young artists and aims to keep the essence of Korean traditions. There were some stunning pieces including this one.
Marine Group by Steffen Dam
Steffen Dam originally trained as a tool maker and then feel in love with glass making. He brought his tool making skills to his work with glass. He aims to describe the world as he sees it. He says: “ My jars contain nothing that exists in the ocean, my specimens are plausible but not from this world.”
White Porcelain Moon Yar, Kim & Yang from Icheon City, Korea
This is a silver white porcelain Moon Jar made in 2019 by Kim & Yang from Icheon City, Korea. Icheon City has a tradition of artisanship dating back over 1000 years. In 2010 it was designated UNESCO City of Crafts and Folk Art.