Contemporary craft is in the spotlight this week as COLLECT 2018 opened its doors on Thursday 22nd of February for its 14th edition at the Saatchi Gallery.
COLLECT brings together 40 galleries from four continents to celebrate the extraordinary craft produced in the UK and around the world. The high level of the work and the installations offers visitors and collectors a unique experience and a journey through the makers, processes, materials and ideas that are defining international craft in 2018.
Richlite has been the material of choice for two artists featured at COLLECT this year. This sustainable paper composite is widely used in commercial and residential architecture, but its versatility is gaining advocates from crafters and artists.
Juliette Bigley is an artist-silversmith. She mainly works in base and precious metals, creating vessels through which she explores how we relate to objects and how we use them to understand our place in the world. TABLE is the piece she is presenting at COLLECT. It is a contemporary interpretation of a table and what it represents, when individuals come together at the end of a meal. The vessels are made in a range of metals; patinated copper, brass, nickel, silver, steel and silver. Her characteristic style of clean lines, matt finish and minimalist forms is patent and powerful. The metal creates a stunning contrast placed on a oversized table made out of Richlite.
Juliette was looking for a material that could work in harmony with her vessels, supporting their textures and layout, but with a presence of its own. The honed Richlite table in Grays Harbor has a unique way of reflecting the different colours of the metal and interacting with the vessels, intriguing visitors as they question what the material is and what it is made of. Juliette feels that the story behind Richlite engages with the public and feeds into the narrative of the piece as a whole.
Jonathan Pang is another artist that has used Richlite as the base material for his work. As a part of Craft Scotland, Jonathan is exhibiting two beautiful pieces made out of Richlite. His work is clean and simple, with designs that are both structural and visually striking. His work explores the use of new materials, such as Richlite, adding value to the home décor he makes. The use of pattern and varying depths of detail on the surface is a style that is evident across his work. Inspired by Japanese Puzzle boxes, his pieces incorporate secret ways of opening, from concealed locks to moving panels.
Jonathan's work is characteristic for its contrasting details, as showcased in one of the pieces that combines Black Diamond Richlite with bright green glass vessels, that are integrated into the surface, lifting the simple design into a unique and personal artefact.