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 Skye based ceramicist Patricia Shone‘s report of her time at the event.
Collect 2017 report – Patricia Shone
First impressions of the show were of the amount and quality of the metalwork and jewellery on exhibition. Perhaps this was notable because I don’t have much daily contact with this area of the craft world. Many of the ceramics makers were familiar to me and no great surprises. In previous years many of the ceramics displayed at Collect have been on sale as collections or installations, to overcome the minimum price limit. I was struck this year by how many of the ceramics were individual pieces which commanded well in excess of the minimum price. Looking through the www.artsy.net website you can see that a lot of the ceramic pieces are also in the sculpture section. Is the world of fine art finally catching up with what applied artists have known for a very long time?
I was very pleased to see the, almost traditional, functional ware of Wally Keeler with Ruthin Craft Centre, including a polychrome teapot of the most gorgeous limpid glaze. To me, well deserving of it’s huge price tag.
I decided not to take photos partly due to the number of people milling around and partly because I was enjoying looking at the work so much.
There were more than a few works of, to my mind, disturbing painstakingly intricate detail; carved fired porcelain pots by Jong-Min Lee, Korean Craft Design Foundation, whose annual output is rarely more than a dozen pieces. Coral like forms of Natalie Doyen, WCC-BF Gallery – obsessively textured with a pin.
I found these compelling but claustrophobic.
Artcourt Gallery of Osaka presented two of my favourite pieces. A large boat or fish like vessel by Akiyama Yo, monumental texture and form.
Some fabulous forms by Genta Ishizuka, these amoeba like pieces were created using the centuries old technique of urushu lacquering to bring them to a high glossy sheen with depths of rich, dark browns, ambers and reds, the underlying structure being styrofoam.
Dizzying double layered, indigo died, textile hangings at the Flow gallery by Shihoko Fukumoto – trying to write down the name of the artist with the hanging within vision was a very disorientating experience.
Nostalgia 1016-twto1 by Osamu Kojima at Tokyo Gallery, monumental, dark piece made of clay slabs assembled like opposing cliffs.
Ashraf Hanna’s austere monochrome hand built vessels with rims of spine tingling perfection which still managed to be approachable and humane.
Somehow despite going to the show twice, I managed to miss Collect Open. This is where makers are given the opportunity to show new work, a chance to “experiment with ideas and try out new materials to stretch abilities to their furthest limits” (Imogen Greenhalgh)
Looking at the event with the hope of showing there, should Craft Scotland decide to take a stand next year, I think there is no shortage of skilled Scottish makers whose work would excel amongst such company. Getting them to apply is another thing. I also think Craft Scotland will have a lot of homework to do to be fully confident in their understanding of the work they show. The galleries currently showing at Collect are at an advantage in representing a smaller spectrum of media with fewer numbers of makers than Craft Scotland. Artists and Craft Scotland would have to work closely together on this.
Patricia Shone, February 2016