This February 2017, Emergents/XpoNorth Crafts, Fashion and Textiles supported a group of Highlands and Islands makers to visit Collect 2017 at the Saatchi Gallery in London. Read below Easter Ross based Jeweller & Exhibition Coordinator Lucy Woodley’s report of her time at the event.
Collect 2017 – Go & See Report
I’m so glad I managed to get to Collect. I realised that I would be in Shetland (on a work trip) until the very day the Emergents’ makers were down there and I would miss them ……and then if I didn’t go to London the same day I got back from Shetland I would miss the show! So you got to do what you got to do……be brave and go alone!
I managed to pick up a particularly virulent cold during my stay in Shetland which knocked me sideways and the pressurised air in the plane played havoc on my ears making me sore and a bit grumpy…… Luckily I had a night in a hotel (Chelsea dahling!) before visiting Collect on Saturday morning to try to sort myself out. I was still tired and my cold was gaining momentum but I’d stopped being grumpy and was happy in the knowledge that I was going to see the best of the best.
In the past Collect has wowed and inspired me both as an exhibitions’ curator/designer/general dogs body but also as a maker, and I’m pleased to say that this year did not disappoint.
I was there primarily to see if the quality of work I intend to make during my time on the High Flyers programme would have a place amongst other work at the show and to possibly get inspiration for displaying works from other galleries which I could use in my exhibitions job.
Even though I’m a jeweller I have a love of ceramics and wood and there were some amazing pieces in both mediums, Sarah Myerscough Fine Art Gallery had the most fantastic vessels and objects in wood by Jim Partridge and Liz Walmsley and Ernst Gamper. They were beautifully displayed on simple rough planked benches or tables against a black painted wall.
There was an incredible shelf made from a single piece of steamed wood by Joseph Walsh, an interesting idea…. No idea how he did it but it was as lots of things are at Collect beautifully made.
But the most amazing thing to me in this gallery space was a small room partitioned off housing multiple pieces from a collaboration between two of my most favourite makers, the furniture maker David Gates and metal worker/enameller Helen Carnac. These pieces made the whole tiring, whistle-stop trip most worthwhile, I was so happy I had had the opportunity to see them in the flesh. The attention to detail and workmanship is second to none. Unfortunately I have taken a terrible photo of these wonderful works doing them no justice whatsoever….my apologies to the artists!
Still on the wood theme, I found work by a French maker Pascal Oudet represented by a Parisian gallery which I was particularly drawn to, beautifully fine vessels in oak sandblasted to the point of being see through and paper light roughly 30 – 40 cm high.
Normally I shy away from colour, always having difficulty using it in my work which is why I chose to work mainly in silver, but the bright, warm colours of Australian ceramic artist Pippin Drysdale’s work seen on mass on a single floating shelf drew my eye in. I have seen her work at Collect before but I don’t think I’ve seen so many pieces all together.
It was nice to see an installation by Katie Spragg whose work combines clay with a range of processes including animation, illustration and installation creating small, serene, natural environments conducive to contemplation and reflection.
I really enjoyed the Craft Spotlights spaces in between the larger galleries with just a single maker’s works, these delightful items were by Adi Toch.
So, having gone round the galleries twice I then moved on to see a couple of the Crafts Council’s new touring exhibitions “Julie Cope’s Grand Tour” by Grayson Perry (another one of my heroes! I am hoping that we will host this exhibition in Inverness Museum and Art Gallery early 2019…..exciting! ) and Show Time an exhibition showcasing the history of the Craft Council through posters and selected works from the collection
All in all I had a great time….even if I was on my own 🙁 with a runny nose and streaming eyes.
Lucy Woodley, February 2017