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What to Keep an Eye Out for at the 2024 Collect Art Fair

The international craft and design fair is returning to Somerset House in central London for its 20th edition.

By Irenie Forshaw

The UK’s Crafts Council is bringing back the Collect international art and design fair for its 20th edition. Returning to Somerset House in central London, the milestone show will draw together the works of over 400 artists for what promises to be one of the hottest events in the capital’s cultural calendar.

Running from 1-3 March, Collect 2024 will feature a carefully curated collection of pieces from 40 galleries across the globe spanning everything from ceramics and metalwork to textiles, furniture and art jewelry. There will be plenty of opportunities for visitors and collectors to purchase these museum-quality handcrafted works, with prices starting at £500 (approx. $630) and climbing to £50,000 (approx. $63,000).

In keeping with the fair’s eco-conscious ethos, many of the works on display are made from reused, re-purposed and recycled materials. All of the pieces are contemporary crafts, made within the last five years, that have been selected by an expert advisory panel overseen by Collect Fair Director, Isobel Dennis.

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Shona Heath at Collect 2024
The Oscar-nominated set designer behind Poor Things will be showcasing her works / ©Collect Art Fair

“Reaching this milestone edition reinforces not only Collect’s pivotal position as the authority for contemporary craft and design but also strengthens London as a leading cultural destination for the craft and design sector,” said Dennis. “The fair has continuously pushed boundaries to bring the best in class of new artworks to the market allowing collectors to buy with confidence. The diverse range of galleries for this edition, representing the most exciting international artists making work today, provide yet again exceptional rich content to explore.”

So what should you be keeping an eye out for at Collect 2024? Among the highlights is a new exhibition, Here & Now, curated by Canada’s Craft Alliance Atlantic Association celebrating the powerful indigenous history of craft making, including masks carved from cedar bark and yellow birch by Gordon Sparks and sterling silver woven baskets by Shane Perley-Dutcher.

It’s also well worth looking out for The Stratford Gallery which will be showcasing the ceramic works of first-generation, mid-career female artists from Japan and Korea who have at times been overlooked such as Sayaka Shingu; and Bullseye Projects which will be debuting collaborative pieces that combine Joshua Keeley’s inventive Pate de Verre works with Guy Marshall Brown’s expertise in 3D printing. Alveston Fine Artsmulti-artist presentation, A Voice, is another must-see: save time to visit Julia Hall’s hand-embroidered paintings that tell the stories of marginalized and refugee women who fled their countries to come to the UK.

Gordon Sparks’s masks are carved from cedar bark and yellow birch / ©Collect Art Fair

Elsewhere at the fair, Craft Scotland will have its own dedicated gallery space showcasing works by 12 talented makers including Fife-based weaver Susie Redman’s striking woven vessels; Richard Goldsworthy’s large sculptural pieces in charred beech and pewter; and Emma Louise Wilson’s pretty silver bowls inspired by the coastal seascapes in Aberdeenshire. “Scotland is a nation of makers, talented, bold and passionate in the pursuit of pushing the boundaries of contemporary craft,” commented Irene Kernan, Craft Scotland Director.

With so much on show, it’s tricky to whittle down just a few major highlights, but it would be remiss of us not to direct you to see Lilyfoot – a magical display of sculptural lights crafted by the Oscar-nominated set designer behind Poor Things, Shona Heath, and a ceramics brand formed by the fourth and fifth generations of the Johnson Brothers family.

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Individual artists and collectives will also make their mark at the fair thanks to Collect Open – a platform for ‘experimental proposals and installations’ chosen by a separate advisory panel. The idea here is for the projects to push boundaries to challenge our material, social and political perceptions. And, Collect 2024 will see the return of its popular talks program, featuring a series of insightful discussions from some of the most exciting voices in the craft sphere.

Tickets for Collect 2024 are currently on sale for £27 (approx. $34), craftscouncil.org.uk/collect-fair

[See also: NYC’s Hall des Lumieres Brings Back Immersive Space Exhibition]

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