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Collect 2017 at Saatchi Gallery

Collect 2017 from February 2 to 6 boasts some 30 international craft galleries, an experimental craft curated by British designer Faye Toogood, and two Grayson Perry tapestries with an app too.

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Text by Debbie Loots

There are at least two good reasons not to miss Collect 2017 from February 2 to 6: an interactive Curved Twist installation at the experimental craft exhibition curated by British designer Faye Toogood, and the Crafts Council’s new acquisition of two Grayson Perry tapestries for its national collection.

Presented by the Crafts Council, this is the 13th edition of Collect, a leading international art fair for contemporary craft. This year will see some 30 international galleries showing original contemporary craft across all three floors of the Saatchi Gallery in London.

Collect Open is a platform showcasing new and experimental work by cutting-edge crafters who are also first-time exhibitors. This year, 14 participants were asked to push the boundaries of scale and drama.

“The makers selected for Collect Open 2017 showed above all a consideration of emotion in their proposals, acknowledging their own and their viewers’ experiences, and this meaning is imbued in the final concepts and works,” says curator Toogood. “I feel all are pushing the boundaries of what we expect in the area of craft and showing what is still possible to explore and achieve.”

Curved Twist is one such work, consisting of changeable slats that visitors can open and close to create original patterns of light and shadow. Envisioned by two Royal College of Art graduates, designer Kia Uzon-Frand and textile artist Fay McCaul, it is both majestic and interactive. The hues and light of the installation change through a cordless shutter system, the Louver Twisting Comb or KUFtwist, patented by Uzon-Frand. The shimmering, colourful result is the handiwork of McCaul, who specialises in crafting hand-knitted textiles that “make use of light-generating or reactive materials”.

Another highlight at Collect 2017 is the opportunity to see two new tapestries by Grayson Perry, bought by the Crafts Council for its national collection of contemporary craft. The works are part of the Essex House Tapestries: The Life of Julie Cope (2015). Designed by Perry and FAT for Living Architecture, it tells the story of Julie, an imaginary Essex everywoman.

Perry also wrote a lengthy poem about Julie’s life, which he read for a special audio recording. A new web app will also enhance the experience of the works: by clicking on selected areas visitors can read text, see image details and related films, and also hear Grayson read the ballad.

Curved Twist by Kia Utzon-Frank and Fay McCaul. Photo: Dunja Opalko
Curved Twist by Kia Utzon-Frank and Fay McCaul. Photo: Dunja Opalko
Dalmore Plains Tanami & Discovery Well vessels by Pippin Drysdale, Twenty16 console table by Nest Design, both represented by Joanna Bird Contemporary Collections. Photography by Angela Moore, styling by Despina Curtis.
Dalmore Plains Tanami & Discovery Well vessels by Pippin Drysdale, Twenty16 console table by Nest Design, both represented by Joanna Bird Contemporary Collections. Photography by Angela Moore, styling by Despina Curtis.
eteorite by Christian Gonzenbach, represented by Gallery S O, Celeste Panel by Fay McCaul. Photography by Angela Moore, styling by Despina Curtis.
eteorite by Christian Gonzenbach, represented by Gallery S O, Celeste Panel by Fay McCaul. Photography by Angela Moore, styling by Despina Curtis.
At Cliffe I and At Cliffe II both by David Gates represented by Sarah Myerscough Gallery. Photography by Angela Moore, styling by Despina Curtis.
At Cliffe I and At Cliffe II both by David Gates represented by Sarah Myerscough Gallery. Photography by Angela Moore, styling by Despina Curtis.
Prenumbra Series by Enemark and Thompson. Photo: Vessel Gallery
Prenumbra Series by Enemark and Thompson. Photo: Vessel Gallery
Hölje I by Aron Li, brass. Photo: Galeri Format Oslo.
Hölje I by Aron Li, brass. Photo: Galeri Format Oslo.
Urna by Andrea Salvatori, glazed earthenware. Photo: MADEINBRITALY
Urna by Andrea Salvatori, glazed earthenware. Photo: MADEINBRITALY
6 jars and lightbox by Steffen Dam, blown and cast glass in backlit Elmwood box. Photo: Joanna Bird Contemporary Collections .
6 jars and lightbox by Steffen Dam, blown and cast glass in backlit Elmwood box. Photo: Joanna Bird Contemporary Collections .
Artistic Stratum R5B5, Jongjin Park, Cynthia Corbett Gallery. Photo: Crafts Council
Artistic Stratum R5B5, Jongjin Park, Cynthia Corbett Gallery. Photo: Crafts Council
Grayson Perry. Photo: Katie Hyams and Living Architecture
Grayson Perry. Photo: Katie Hyams and Living Architecture
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