This year it’s the tenth anniversary of the Craft Council’s annual international art fair for contemporary objects known as Collect. And my first visit, as a matter of fact. First impressions? Wow, there’s a lot of great stuff here! Mainly ceramics which I love, glass, which I also love and jewellery, which I’m not so bothered about. The standard was very high and there was plenty I could happily have taken home with me. If it wasn’t for the serious prices. Ah well – at least I get to share the experience with you.
There are over forty exhibitors at Collect and more than a hundred artists on show. As you would expect from this blog, my main interest was the galleries displaying work by Japanese artists, so my first port of call was the Yufuku Gallery from Tokyo where I found the Vessel not a vessel by Takuo Nakamura shown at the top of this post. It was made using overglaze enamelling over stoneware and inspired by the rich and exuberant art of Japan’s Momoyama period.
I particularly liked Naoki Takeyama’s cloisonné (enamelled metalwork) vases. So did the V&A, apparently, as they acquired some of his work in 2008. Each piece is made from a single copper sheet, decorated with numerous coats of glaze and silver and gold leaf, and fired twenty times. The process takes about a month to complete.
Takahiro Yede produces woven metal work inspired by traditional woven bamboo baskets.
I’m not sure how I felt about this slip-cast porcelain figure by Shigeki Hayashi. But it was unusual and witty and someone liked it as it was already sold when I got there. (Impressive as prices at the Yufuku stand started at £5,000 and went up from there).
Next I went to the Katie Jones stand, displaying contemporary Japanese art, including some lovely wall hangings by Shihoko Fukumoto, made by blending traditional indigo dyeing, (shibori), with tonal gradation dyeing (bokashi).
I also liked these ribbed pottery sculptures by Hyoe Imai.
On to my final set of Japanese artists – at Exhibition Space API from Tokyo, where Jun Mitsuhashi’s inlaid table had also already been sold. The assistant and I marvelled together at the the amount of space the buyer must had had to accommodate it.
So what about all the non-Japanese artists? Oh, so many lovely things, I can’t tell you! Here’s what caught my eye.
These fun ceramic sculptures of life-size fantasy foods by Anna Barlow at Bicha Gallery. They’re made using slip casting, press moulding, hand building and piping. ‘I try to put the clay through as similar a process as possible to ice cream,’ she says.
Also at Bicha, these steel, oak and gold bowls by Claire Malet.
At Hanart TZ Gallery, cool, restrained pottery by Yee-fun Mak and lacquerwork by Sheng Zhong.
This fabulous glass tree by Neil Wilkin, a glassmaker who was commissioned to restore the fire-damaged chandeliers at Windsor Castle, at The Gallery at London Glassblowing. It stands about five feet tall.
This glittering glass chess set by Vlastislav Janacek, normally priced at £14,300 but available for £9,940 at Collect. What a bargain!
This giant flowerpot with handle by Agneta Spångberg from blås&knåda in Stockholm.
And also at blås&knåda, this set of glass panels of birds and flowers by Ulla Forsell at a very reasonable £750 per piece – plenty of red dots on that.
Finally, I was rather taken with this terracotta and gold lustre figure by Claire Curneen on the ground floor.
Now for the practical stuff:
The Saatchi Gallery is at the old Duke of York’s Barracks on the King’s Road, close to Sloane Square tube station. It’s on from 10 to 13 May, so get a move on if you want to go. Entry is £17 (£12 concessions).
You can enter a competition to win a piece of glass by Peter Layton and a one-day beginner’s glass at the London Glassblowing Studio. I’ve got my finger’s crossed.