Crafts – Collect, the British Crafts Council‘s international art and crafts fair, always offers the chance to foresee upcoming trends and the evolution of the sector. And this year is no different. The fair is 100% virtual, thanks to a collaboration with Artsy, the digital platform and marketplace for buying and selling art and design. Visit Collect 2021: artsy.net/fair/collect-2021
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“What’s been really exciting is that artists still want to make, and are still really keen to be able to respond to what’s been happening in a positive way,” explains the fair’s director Isobel Dennis. “A majority of the work at this year’s fair is both thoughtful and joyful, and we’ve seen reflective pieces from all over the world in a way that wasn’t previously accessible for a physical fair. In many ways, the relationships between collectors, galleries, and makers is stronger than ever.”
Craft enriches people’s lives as much as the home spaces where we now spend so much time. Both Artsy and the Crafts Council have seen an influx of thoughtful meditations on the way the current climate has impacted mental health, materiality, and relationships.
Indeed, the pandemic has demonstrated a growing appetite for craft – from unexpected audiences. The first Market for Craft Report released by the Crafts Council in a decade reveals that 73% of the population bought handcrafted objects in 2019. It also reveals that 32% of craft buyers are now aged under 35.
Over the past year, Artsy has seen 118% growth in visitors to their online fairs. “E-commerce sales have increased by almost 280% since this time last year, with a 270% growth in share of gallery sales online.” Figures show that 59% of collectors are more interested in buying art now than pre-covid, while 73% of galleries reported at least half the collectors they have connected with over this past year are new to their business.
In particular, the Textile Arts category has seen a 109% increase in followers over the past 12 months. Jewelry and Emerging Design have seen a 113% increase, while the Ceramics category has experienced a 95% increase in followers, bringing it up into the top 30 categories platform-wide.
Many of the galleries represented at Collect this year have accelerated their digital capabilities, adapting to new ways of sharing and selling work when traditional routes have been denied. Their resilience has been inspiring as they have provided an invaluable backbone to artists and makers, offering support guidance and new platforms to share stories and enable them to connect with clients.
- All photos: courtesy of Collect.