Cause-led crafts and co-production : Key Trends at Collect 2020

Geraldine Kendal, Museums Association, February 24, 2020

Q & A with Fair Director: Isobelle Dennis


The Crafts Council’s annual acquisitions fair, Collect, is opening its doors this week in its new home at Somerset House in London.
The contemporary craft and design fair brings together work by makers and artists from more than 25 countries around the globe, and is a big draw for museums and galleries seeking to acquire the latest in ceramics, glass, metal, wood and textiles. Ahead of its opening, we spoke to fair director Isobel Dennis about what to look out for at Collect 2020, which runs 27 February to 1 March.



What are the big trends in craft collecting this year?

ID: The range of artists at the fair is huge - they span art jewellery, ceramics, fibre, furniture, glass, lacquer, gold/silversmithing, stone, textile, leather, paper, wood, and several other newer experimental materials.

Over the last decade, ceramics have been increasingly popular at Collect. The secondary market is confident in studio ceramics and this fuels interest from mid-career collectors and new artists who work in the medium of clay. The galleries at Collect carry a really impressive selection of ceramics.

In addition, it feels like the "arts of the kiln" have broadened - this year has seen the most specialist glass galleries we have ever had at the fair. There is a huge range of sculptural forms on show this year, for example, the punk glass of the Swedish Fredrik Nielsen showing with Vessel Gallery, as well as new projects, like work from architect-trained Karyln Sutherland with Bullseye Projects, that will show a new furniture structure of kiln-formed glass and steel.
This year, there also seems to be an increasing body of artists and designers collaborating and experimenting with materials and learning from one another. Where ceramics has always been popular, the audience at Collect is becoming more courageous and over the last few years, we’ve seen a larger range of materials being used and combined.

For this year’s fair, I am looking forward to two artist debuts in unusual materials  - a wall installation by Klari Reis showing with the Cynthia Corbett Gallery, an epoxy polymer of "petri dishes", entitled Hypochondria, and a solo show of beautifully executed – though possibly on the macabre side – wax and polyester resin sculptures of a pig’s head with fruit and flowers, by Rebecca Stevenson at James Freeman Gallery.