The quality of craftsmanship and level of innovation at COLLECT never fails to inspire us here at ARTS THREAD, and this year’s show was no different. The four-day event held at the Saatchi Gallery saw 31 UK and International galleries representing the work of over 450 designers across all disciplines.
This is the premier show for private collectors as well as museums and galleries to acquire new pieces for their collections, and the high standard of work by both established and new talent really does earn the event its reputation as London’s most prestigious contemporary craft fair.
The jewellery is always a highlight, and this year we found strong narrative themes almost across the board. Oslo’s Galleri Format represented several jewellers with a focus on story-telling and ornamentation. Anna Talbot uses a layering technique to create oversized pieces inspired by nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Constructed of wood veneer, brass, aluminium, gilding metal and silver, all in strong colours, the idea is that the wearer carries a story – or a scene from a story – directly on the body.
Fellow jeweller Elise Hatlø creates beautiful delicate pieces which encourage an experience of discovery through the positioning of the different elements - patinated copper and silver in fluorescent colours are adorned with precious stones crocheted in place using silk.
We’ve referenced before the sense of play and the ‘whimsical’ found in much current contemporary jewellery, and this was well exemplified by Katy Hackney’s geometric jewellery, represented by Contemporary Applied Arts. She challenges the concept of what is precious, by utilising found and unusual materials such as cellulose acetate, Formica, plywood and enamel paint. To us, she recreated the aesthetic of traditional children’s toys. We also loved the haunting skeletal Disney character pendants by Alexander Blank, represented by Galerie Rob Koudijs.
Experimentation with different materials and how they interact together was another theme we spotted. Emmeline Hastings‘ carved perspex, titanium, stainless steel and 18 carat gold creations in Leslie Craze Gallery’s collection were particularly striking. Inspired by waves – sound and water – she attempts to capture the illusion of vibration and fluid movement in static form.
Gallery SO, a new COLLECT participant and Arts Thread favourite, also deserves mention for its rather bizarre array of ‘art objects’, including Pe Lang’s ‘Moving Parts’, a kinetic contraption that uses the power of magnets to create movement within its form.