Visiting Collect was a priority for me this year: now that I live in the country it’s easy to feel out of touch with the cutting edge, and Collect surely represents that as far as contemporary craft goes.
I wasn’t disappointed. Right inside the door was the Bishopsland stand, and it was great to immediately see the work of two of our DJG New Designers: Nan Nan Liu and Kathryn Hinton. I was also wowed by the amazing gold jewellery by Jacqueline Mina, which was simply stunning.
The Dutch galleries always have great jewellery, and what caught my eye this time was the way that Iris Bodema had displayed a series of brooches. Each was mounted on a piece of white painted hardboard with – I guess you’d call it mark making rather than drawings – on it. Apparently purchasers get a pair of boards with each brooch: they really are works of art. I was persuaded to try on a brooch, which was actually very nice on: cotton and semi-precious stones. As one of the things I like best about Collect is the people watching I rather liked this picture showing the lively crowds!
In the next room ceramics by Pippin Drysdale sung out. I also loved the wooden jewellery by Flora Vagi. Several jewellers used wood but Flora’s was a bit different and beautifully crafted.
The Design Flanders stand had some great work, especially by An Alleweireldt, one of our members. Her stand was particularly busy, and customers were obviously drawn to a gold ring which the Crafts Council had featured on their website. I also loved the fluid gold necklaces by Jeanne Opgenhaffen and ceramic wall pieces by Ria Lins.
Another piece I found totally captivating was this bangle by Kazumi Nagano. It was woven from fine gold wires and nylon threads. Amazingly light, flexible and shimmering in the light: it really was quite wonderful.
A couple of laser cut pieces caught my eye: some steel jewellery that was just like insects wings and incredibly beautiful and delicate, and also a vessel of laser cut metal that had been gold-leafed and hand-raised. Unfortunately it was displayed on wood and so the photo cannot do it justice, and I realised later that the maker’s name doesn’t appear anywhere, hence the name of the gallery only.
Another DJG New Designer, Mariko Sumioka, and DJG guest exhibitor Jessica Turrell were also exhibiting their new work, which was great to see.
As I love lines, I was drawn to the very graphic work of Armel Barraud, who used traditional lace-making techniques to create wire pictures. Virginie Rochetti’s computer aided embroidery was fascinating in many ways. Her hand drawn sketches are either taken into the computer or drawn directly on the computer, and then the embroidery is stitched by machine. I didn’t know it was possible: not on this scale anyway. Quite incredible.
Anyway, coming back down to earth – because a lot of the work in Collect is quite rarified – I could see Sasha Wardell’s simple, elegant ceramic lampshades in my home: they’re on the wish list. I loved the mixture of old and new architecture in the gallery itself: the shapes, colours, and light. And finally, with my senses heightened, even the steps in the tube station looked beautiful!
Christine and An’s jewellery are on sale on the Designer Jewellers Group stand in the Barbican now until 1st June.