Art dealer Charles Saatchi has opened up his Chelsea gallery once again for Collect 2017, the British Craft Council’s international art fair. On for an extended five day run, the fair launched last Thursday and closed on Monday February 6th. With a mix of up-and-coming makers alongside more established artists, galleries from near and far took part to celebrate their represented talent and—let’s not forget—to sell. Most of the buzz this year surrounded the Craft Council’s recent acquisition of a pair of The Essex House Tapestries by Grayson Perry. Originally woven to decorate the artist’s fairy-tale holiday-home built in collaboration with FAT Architects for Living Architecture, these two artworks were on public display for the first time at Collect. Grayson Perry Emerging talent to take note of this year included the work of basket maker and artist Ruth Glashen. Her work stems from a keen interest in geology, history and mapping, traces of which can be seen reflected in her swirling, hand-dyed forms. Similarly, Korean textiles artist Soojin Kang maintained a bold presence at the fair with her large tapestries and muted colour palettes. Having graduated from Central Saint Martins in 2009, Kang studied fashion and textiles before expanding her practice to include elements of sculpture and installation, seamlessly adopted into her practice as if picked up in a contemporary art studio. Soojin Kang 1 Presented alongside a schedule of talks and programmes, Collect 2017 offered a range of desirable craft pieces from traditional to decorative, and simplistic to experimental. It couldn’t be ignored though that The Essex House Tapestries stole a bit of thunder from the other makers. Packed with cultural and architectural nuance, these tapestries were made to represent the social history of Essex, and to depict a “modern Britain” that everyone can recognise (but not, necessarily, afford). Thankfully, many other artworks at Collect were far more economical. Glasheen-Small-small_2

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