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Collect 2024 Preview

London, UK

The Crafts Council's prestigious annual show of contemporary makers at Somerset House is 20 years old. If you're heading to the fair, here are some of DA/UK's highlights

With work from more than 400 makers on display, Collect (1 – 3 March 2024) is the Crafts Council’s flagship show – and a honeypot for collectors eager to discover the next big thing or add that perfect new piece. This year, it celebrates 20 years of raising the profile of exceptional contemporary craft, creating a snapshot of the market and capturing the zeitgeist, from the use of reused, repurposed, and recycled materials to the rising interest in textile-based art. Stellar work from the show’s 40 galleries is supplemented by the Craft Open initiative, which is open to individuals; textile artist Margo Selby will create a site-specific work for the magnificent five-storey Stamp Stair; and there will also be a VIP lounge created by British furniture and lighting brand Ochre.

Vortex VII by Heike Brachlow, at Bullseye Projects
Work by Georgina Fuller, at Bullseye Projects

Bullseye Projects

Portland-based glass maker Bullseye Projects continues to show the incredible versatility of glass, not to mention its luminous colour. Munich-born, Cumbria-based Heike Brachlow’s cast glass pieces have a gorgeous, sinuous flow to them, with matte and polished finishes combining to add an intriguing extra dimension; while Georgina Fuller, a recent RCA graduate exhibiting at Collect for the first time, works in a palette of amber and pastel shades to create cast sculptures that are almost like fantastical miniature buildings, with curves, steps and loops.

Scripture series by Björk Haraldsdóttir, at Cavaliero Finn

Cavaliero Finn

Cavaliero Finn’s makers will be exploring the elements – earth, air, fire and water – through an eclectic variety of media. Seek out Björk Haraldsdóttir detailed, decorative vessels covered in delicate geometric shapes, part of the Icelandic maker’s Scriptures series; built from stoneware and then scraped back to reveal the base material, these are highly tactile works. South Korean ceramicist Jaejun Lee presents a new take on a traditional celadon glaze, with fat globules of glaze that drip sensually down each vessel.

A Window To The Past by Yanxiong Lin, at Charles Burnand Gallery

Charles Burnand Gallery

Counting many interior designers and architects among his clients, Simon Stewart of Charles Burnand Gallery has an acute sense of how design, art, sculpture and craft can all interact, constantly blurring the boundaries. See Jean-Gabriel Neukomm’s seemingly weightless chandelier made from paper-thin slices of mica; and meditate on Chinese maker Yanxiong Lin’s furniture made from washi paper, steel, lacquer and timber – “a window on to the past” as he described it, infused with memories of his childhood, raised by his grandmother in a small village, and the subsequent loss of that stability. The colourful, wonky limestone furniture of Steve Clarke (who works under the name denHolm) will expand your mind about the limits of contemporary stonemasonry.

The Space Between by Katie Charleson, at Craft Scotland

Craft Scotland

Textile art has experienced a rise in popularity, with artists subverting its cosy domestic associations to make statements about heritage and identity. Edinburgh-based Katie Charleson is showing as part of north-of-the-border collective Craft Scotland, and her abstract quilts feature a mix of boldly scaled screenprinted motifs and handpainted elements – bound on Charleston’s great-grandmother’s hand-crank Singer sewing machine. Craft Scotland is also showing Susan Redman’s woven sculptures made from linen, paper and willow, which have an ethereal, pared-back beauty, with organic wavy forms that link back to the natural materials from which they are made.

Gyre (Ophelia) by Sasha Sykes, at Design & Crafts Council Ireland

Design & Crafts Council Ireland

See work from work by 23 Irish makers here, from those pursuing a contemporary take on traditional craft such as willow basket-maker Annemarie O’Sullivan, to those forging a new path, like Sasha Sykes who, inspired by her native landscape, suspends wildflowers and other found objects in hand-cast resin, preserving their transient beauty forever in a kind of contemporary memento mori. “I like to explore the cycle of life and decay, and the dichotomy of fragility and preservation,” she says. “Working with plants is like revealing a multi-layered story.”

Embrace by Juan Arango Palacios, at Galerie Revel
Blue Spooter and Pink Spooter by Kartini Thomas, at Galerie Revel

Galerie Revel

Craft can challenge and provoke, as much as it can soothe and delight, and the Paris-based Galerie Revel aims to do just that. Its stable of artists, traditionally marginalised from Western art, make work that explores political and social issues. Columbia-born, Chicago-based Juan Arango Palacios’ chain-framed woven textile explores queer identity from the perspective of an economic migrant – imagery that is concerned with “glorifying and fantasising the idea of safety in a queer experience” according to the artist. Kartini Thomas “uses playfulness to combine sweet monstrosities and peculiar forms” in her ceramics: they look like surreal biological microbes write large, in candy colours that belie the underlying menace of their sharp teeth.

Curves vessels by Emelie Abrahamsson, at Maud & Mabel
'Objects' installation by Gaku Nakane, at Maud & Mabel

Maud & Mabel

Hampstead gallery Maud & Mabel heads south to Somerset House to showcase its stable of makers from around the world, with a particular focus on Japan and Sweden. See work from Emelie Abrahamsson, a ceramicist based on Hönö, an island on Gothenburg’s archipelago, whose curvy stoneware vessels in raw clay have a beautiful organic sensuality; and Gaku Nakae, whose ceramics feature a subtle crackled surface inspired by the trees and rocks that surround his rural home and studio in Japan.