Crafts – Collect 2022 goes on show on February 25-27 at the Somerset House, London. Now in its 18th year and presented by the UK Crafts Council, Collect is the only gallery-presented art fair. This year, creatives from over 30 countries unveil their works alongside virtual presentations in partnership with the global platform artsy.net.
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In the wake of challenging times due to the pandemic, the crafts business is now ready to embrace a new spirit of rebirth, freedom and optimism. How is the creative community embracing this ZeitGeist? “Whether this be responding directly to the past two years with thoughts of memory or looking at themes of nature/nurture or indeed celebrating the 1970s disco era, having a human connection and sharing that with others has become more important than ever.” Collect’s director Isobel Dennis told Archipanic.
According to this year’s UBS Art Market Report, the commitment to high-quality, sustainable pieces and responsibly purchasing habits that fund diversity and equality will continue. Helen O’Shea, represented by Design and Crafts Council Ireland, showcases beautiful pieces made of washed-up waste plastic that she finds on the shores of beaches surrounding her home. At Collect Open, the fair’s platform for pioneering craft installations by emerging artists, wood artist and arborist Robert George presents “curious pieces that reconnect you with Nature and encourage the use of all your senses.”
Sarah Myerscough Gallery presents international artists who embrace and re-conceptualise sustainability and conscious sourcing to create beautifully crafted sculptural objects with materials such as grasses, wood, jute, sisal, willow, and stoneware. One of its artists, Fernando Laposse, showcases the sisal pulp bench – part of his sisal furniture series produced with local artisans in Mexico.
Memories and deep reflections during the pandemic inform many of the crafts and designs on show. With the Unlockdown cultural project made of wood, metals, and ceramics, Sharon Griffin presents a visual interpretation of her own personal experience witnessed throughout isolation.
“Recently, our home and the objects in them have become our world.” Flow Gallery’s owner Yvonna Demeczynska brings to Collect the intimate feeling of a collector’s home with furniture designer Fred Rigby, Cécile Daladier and Studio MC. 155A Gallery showcases vessels made of stoneware, oxides, porcelain slip crafted by British designer Dan Kelly during the pandemic.
But Collect 2022 is also about post-Covid 19 happiness and relief, from 1970’s-inspired artworks celebrating the energetic vibe of the disco era to quirky crafts looking forwards with a positive attitude. Israeli industrial designer and ceramicist Tal Batit presents the Buttoned: SMILE! collection that smiles back in times where facial gestures are a privilege. “Ceramic pins wrap these vessels, using them as a canvas to express a thought, an agenda.”
On top of that, 2022 is also the UN International Year of Glass. Dawn Bendick, presented by Joanna Bird Contemporary Collections, presents the Time Rock Stack XVI, a totemic installation and dramatic piece in dichroic glass. At Collect Open, designer Laura Quinn proposes her ambitious work by demonstrating the breadth of her skill and the scope of glass as material through a wall-mounted light piece.
This year, many are the artists exploring unconventional paths in textile design. Marianne Huotari showcases an extremely detailed ceramic tapestry developed for Officine Saffi, Italy. The Finnish artist is one of the nominees for this year’s LOEWE FOUNDATION Craft Prize. With The Red Line project, Caron Penney weaved a political comment on the events of the last five years. “The variations in light to dark threads are woven in bands, observing vibrating changes in mood. These yarns are hand dyed and represent a moment in time, a breath, or thought and in contrast, the red lines are unchanging.”
All images: courtesy of Collect.