Collect 2010

Friday, 21 May 2010

Ghost by Kim Simonsson
This was the seventh year of the Crafts Councilʼs annual fair showing contemporary crafts from across the UK and around the world. The event took place at the Saatchi Gallery in west London and filled its ten rooms with decorative objects by more than 400 makers. Since its launch Collect has managed to demonstrate that there is more to craft than the established perception of homely products in traditional materials such as wood, glass, metal or ceramic by showcasing a wide variety of innovative ideas and techniques.
Dove by Carolein Smit
This year the products ranged from overtly kitsch to serenely simple but all were utterly modern. Raw, untreated ceramics, intricate, geometric metalwork and characterful sculptures with witty or dark undertones were the recurring themes.
Ceramic storage jar by Jonathan Wade
Alongside the exhibition was a series of talks by people involved in the craft and design industries as well as a number of pop up displays in stores around the city including Designers Guild, Cath Kidston, David Mellor and Taschen. My visit coincided with a presentation by Dutch designer Jurgen Bey who spoke about the need for craft to look forward and embrace materials and technologies associated with industrial manufacturing whilst still maintaining the tailor made quality that makes handcrafted objects unique and valuable. He also claimed that craft should be introduced into the professional environment and not just focus on the home as it is at work that we spend the majority of our time and where we would certainly benefit from more well considered and beautifully made objects.
Blown Color by Nendo at Phillips de Pury
For the first time auction house Phillips de Pury used its permanent space on the top floor of the gallery to present a collection of craft influenced products from familiar names including Max Lamb, Nendo and Peter Marigold , all of which were for sale. This seems to indicate their conviction in the marketability of contemporary craft.

 It makes sense that the popularity of craft products is rising at a time when consumers are looking for lasting value from the products that they surround themselves with and fortunately it seems there is no shortage of talented individuals making the brave choice of trying and make a living from what they can produce themselves rather than heading straight to commercial design studios. Craft is looking forward and the use of modern materials and fresh ways of thinking are stimulating interest and helping to attract a new generation of collectors.

Alyn Griffiths