Crafts & Design – “Craft is one of the highest exports of all creative industries.” Says Isobel Dennis, fair director of COLLECT, the only gallery-presented art fair dedicated to modern craft and design. Organised by the Crafts Council, COLLECT has become the must-go event to discover growing craft trends in contemporary craft in the UK and beyond.
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“Along with eight UK partners the Craft Council has commissioned the first study into the market for craft in over a decade.” Adds Dennis. “Early findings show that the number of people buying craft has doubled in ten years with more people aged 25-34 buying and although half of those surveyed say they would buy craft online, most prefer to purchase at fairs and markets and makers state that this is the most successful way to sell their work.”
Trend watching: Ceramic, glass and material experimentation
“Ceramics have been increasingly popular at Collect over the past decade and this year was no different. In addition, the use of kilns and furnaces for glass, otherwise known as ‘hot shops’, broadened this year with Collect presenting the most specialist glass galleries the Craft Council has ever had at the fair.”
“This year, we saw an increasing body of artists and designers collaborating and experimenting with materials and learning from one another. The audience at Collect has an appetite for the bold and the new and, as a result, we saw greater experimentation with materials being used and breakthrough combinations.”
The evolution of British crafts
“What we term the contemporary craft movement in the UK largely stems from the counter-culture of the 1960s and 1970s, democratisation of materials and the beginning of ’studio practice’. The studio practice, which to many is to combine a unique artistic voice with craft skills developed differently depending on the material or ‘discipline’.”
“International travel and cultural exchange has been a critical aspect of developing British craft on an international stage. Through recent years we have seen a considerable increase in radical material experimentation and also collaboration among artists combining material specialism to create an entirely new body of work.”
Images: courtesy of COLLECT.