Pierre Renart’s console table made of carbon fibre with an olive tree wood veneer curves and flows opposite Heike Brachlow’s swirling “myth” glass sculptures while the Sarah Myerscough Gallery shows a curved twisting shelf holding ceramics along with sculptural natural found materials incorporating unexpected materials such a brick.
There’s hardly a straight line in sight. Twisting, curving and flowing: furniture, glass, ceramics, textiles and jewellery crossing the boundary between art and craft at Collect, the international art fair for “contemporary objects” presented by the Crafts Council at the Saatchi Gallery. One noticeable exception is Benand Sebastian’s beautiful table made of walnut, leather, wax and dust which was the winner of outstanding work from a new artist at Collect. Designers continue to explore new and unusual materials and new technology. Simone Pheulpin’s textile sculptures are made of cotton and pins, while Zemer Peled, one of The Cynthia Corbett Gallery’s “New Masters”, uses porcelain shards and fired clay in her “Black Dreams” and Kozo Nishano’s “Harmony with the Breeze” twists and turns like a bird in flight, set against Shihoko Fukumoto’s “Constellation 98-S”.
The main fair is complemented by special exhibits. “Collect Open”, an open-submission display of selected artist/designers presenting work which highlights the breadth and depth of contemporary crafts and potential future directions, includes an illuminated glass-constellation sculpture by Shelley James which changes colour and intensity and could be adapted for architectural interiors and Hugh Miller’s “coffee ceremony” tables influenced by time spent in Japan which seeks to blend contrasts in culture, materials and finishes in their design and a joint project between Fay McCaul and Kia Utzon-Frank uniting modern materials with knitting techniques to create a sculptural and changeable screen.
“Show Time” is an exhibition drawn from the Crafts Council Collection which was initiated in 1972 to document trends and innovation in the materials, processes, skills and technologies of contemporary craft and is now the UK’s foremost collection of contemporary craft, including a substantial poster collection, and features the most important British artist-craftsmen of the last 40 years, the latest acquisition being a pair of Grayson Perry’s tapestries from The Essex House. The Crafts Council has a plan to have a permanent home in which to display its collection at its base in Pentonville Road, something which, from memory, it used to have in the past. The Pentonville Road location is not ideal; it seems a pity that it could not have done something in a more accessible location, say in partnership with the Design Museum in its new home in Kensington.
Setting the standard for refreshment areas, the Collect Refectory has been established in one of the top-floor galleries, Here are rectangular lines, with long refectory tables and benches along with softer circular furniture by the designer Fiona Barratt-Campbell, plus selected lighting, wallcoverings and artworks to enable it to be a place for meeting, debate and discussion as well as eating and drinking.
Collect continues to be one of the top international crafts exhibition, blurring the boundaries between art and craft, with the Saatchi providing a great venue.