Collect Works from the UK’s Premier Fair for Craft

For 46 years, the Crafts Council has served as the leading voice for craft in the UK, a cause it champions through its exhibitions, permanent collection loans, and educational programming. This year, Artsy is hosting the Crafts Council’s benefit auction to help raise funds for a new home for craft in London. This online-only auction coincides with Collect: The International Art Fair for Contemporary Objects, on view at the Saatchi Gallery from February 2nd through 6th, where visitors will have the opportunity to see the benefit auction lots in person. The fair, which is previewed exclusively on Artsy ahead of the opening, is an unrivaled opportunity to learn about and buy the best in contemporary ceramics, glass, jewelry, wood, metal, and textiles from 37 top international galleries. What follows is a list of my personal highlights from the auction.

Edmund De Waal

It boggles my mind that Edmund De Waal can be both a successful artist, represented by Gagosian, and a celebrated writer. His work is unanimously embraced by every facet of the art world: fine art, design, and craft. Enthusiasts of his ceramics are offered a richer understanding of his artistic intentions through his books. In his memoir The Hare with Amber Eyes, De Waal says of works like ‘To Hand’: “The vitrines exist so that you can see objects, but not touch them: they frame things, suspend them, tantalise through distance.”

Tord Boontje

Boontje is massively impressive. He was educated at Eindhoven Academy and was formerly the head of the design department at the Royal College of Art. His studio is based in the Shoreditch neighborhood of London, where he and his team reinvigorate traditional processes like lace, veneer, embroidery, and carving. In his own words, “Modernism does not mean minimalism, contemporary does not forsake tradition, and technology does not mean abandon people and senses.” Boontje is deeply committed to socially-conscious initiatives, including the Artecnica Design With Conscious Project, which produced this whimsical ‘Witches’ Kitchen. The utensils were designed by the studio and made by artisan communities in Brazil, Colombia, and Guatemala.

Francine Delmotte

Delmotte’s work is new to me, and I’m fascinated that she works primarily in pâte de verre, a seemingly-magical process that was popular during the Art Nouveau movement. Delmotte, using a mold, transforms sand-sized granules of glass frit into painterly and translucent vessels.

Hans Henning Pederson

Let us just stop to consider what it means to create a 3 millimeter-thin bowl from a solid tree trunk. I’m overtaken with the impulse to meet Pederson on Bonholm, the island in the Baltic Sea where he forages for freshly-felled beech, maple, and ash trees. In addition to its pine and deciduous forests, Bonholm boasts rocky cliffs, farmland, sandy beaches, Denmark’s tallest windmill, and the ruins of the medieval castle Hammershus. Pederson follows in a long line of artists drawn to the island which is cherished for its warm weather and beautiful light. Once found, Pederson turns the wood on a lathe until a simple shape emerges that exploits the living material’s innate beauty.

Explore Collect: Benefit Auction 2017 on Artsy. Bidding closes February 6th, at 11:00am ET.

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