The Brightest Talents
Collect is the leading international fair for contemporary craft and design and will be at Somerset House, London this February – a fitting venue for Design-Nation’s celebration of the best of British-based craftsmanship. This portfolio of leading designer-makers will showcase beautiful, multi-hued two and three-dimensional objects; sensitively crafted and vibrant pieces for discerning collectors of original craft – for homes, galleries and to wear. A diverse range of collectible objects includes ceramic, glass, metal and wood sculptures; fine bone china tableware; and embroidered, carved, cut, pieced, and woven wall art.
As well as the fourteen bright talents showcased on the stand at Collect (and online and on Artsy.com), Design-Nation is pleased to announce a very special project. Creative duo Angela Fung and Ashley Bedford are best known for challenging conventions and pushing the possibilities of fibre and paper. Between them, they create exceptionally beautiful, large-scale architectural origami sculptures and installations.
A Golden Commission
Combining their specialist knowledge of architecture and origami folding techniques, Fung + Bedford have been commissioned to create a piece at Collect to respond to the Stamp Stairs, the spectacular five-storey period staircase linking the floors of the fair together. Handcrafted from intensely golden Fedrigoni paper, Gathering will surely live up to its name as a gathering point of wonder, a skill-driven spectacle.
On stand E10, Design-Nation’s bright talents include the remarkable artist and textile designer Margo Selby, presenting Kaleidoscope, her latest triptych of vivid hand weaving. 2020 winner of Collect Open and 2021 winner of the Colour Group’s Turner Medal, Margo is a master of intricately conceived, sophisticated and completely knock-out colour palettes.
Dazzling colour can also be seen in Janine Partington’s hand carved and painted leather suite of works Investigating Yellow. Janine’s sensitive mark-marking celebrates the gold of sunshine on harvest-ready hay fields. And the multihued Murrini series from G R Hawes is a fitting display for the UN International Year of Glass. Graeme’s curvaceous pieces are painstakingly built in layers of glowing colour using centuries-old techniques to create utterly modern forms.
Deep Understanding of Materials
By contrast fellow glass artist Helen Slater Stokes works in restrained palettes and slab like shapes, using the skills honed in her recent PhD research to imbed ceramic transfers into her kiln formed artworks, creating flickering and inconstant optical illusions of depth and movement that confound initial impressions. Similarly reserved in colour, Diane Griffin’s sculptural ceramics demonstrate deep understanding of multiple materials and techniques as she combines earthenware, porcelain and metallic glazes to delve into unexpressed feelings and the otherness of emotions.
Master weaver and sculptor Jan Bowman also brings together diverse materials, weaving threads of metal to create sinuous and poetic shapes. Her materials focus is sharp, and is echoed by paper artist Clare Pentlow, whose precisely cut organic pieces celebrate the diversity of shadows cast by white paper. Shapes change, come forward and recede depending on viewing points, in an echo of the kinetic energy contained in Slater Stokes’ glass.
The process of making itself is at the centre of jeweller Mari Thomas’s oversized neckpieces, expertly crafted from etched silver plates of her own notebooks and sketches. These are literally statement pieces about Thomas’s award winning practice. Another expert in metal is Kate Bajic, returning to Collect with a new jewellery collection that continues her investigations into lichen forms, as expressed through the exquisite Evernia tiara.
Nature’s diversity is held up for admiration by contemporary wood turners Ash & Plumb, whose new oversized bowls reflect on ancient mythology and mediaeval vessels, all made from sustainably sourced English woods found near their Sussex base. A much more formalised approach to forestry can be found in Christine Meyer-Eaglestone’s marquetry mirror which employs an array of expertly cut shapes and tones of wood veneer to dramatic effect.
Another highly skilled wielder of precision cuts is ceramicist Sasha Wardell, whose new tea and coffee sets demonstrate her in-depth knowledge of slip cast bone china. These charming variations on the tableware theme are built in painstaking layers then sliced, sanded and carved away to reveal the colours beneath.
Staying with colour variation, the digital embroidery of Amelia Ayerst shows consummate understanding of thread combinations, as she uses the digital stitch process to create pattern, shade and a sense of movement across each precisely framed piece. And for those who want to wear their colour, the bright talent and playfulness of jeweller Ella Fearon-Low is expressed in a new collection of brooches that take their cue from patisserie and fondant fancies – carved silver and multi-hued lucite, adorned with gold keum-boo and vintage pearls in combinations good enough to eat.