Collect, the international craft and design fair, returns for its 15th edition under new directorship

The event at the Saatchi Gallery showcases everything from emerging ceramic artists to established jewellers and avant-garde robotic art

Bronze and ebony Brise Lames by Jean-Luc Le Mounier, from Todd Merrill, £61,000
Bronze and ebony Brise Lames by Jean-Luc Le Mounier, from Todd Merrill, £61,000

Collect, the international fair for craft and design, returns for its 15th edition from February 28 to March 3 – and under the new directorship of Isobel Dennis, the event at the Saatchi Gallery is raising its game once again.

Cast-basalt Universe by Lada Semecká, from Galerie Kuzebauch, £8,500
Cast-basalt Universe by Lada Semecká, from Galerie Kuzebauch, £8,500 | Image: Gabriel Urbanek

Since it first launched at the V&A in 2004, the fair has campaigned to raise the visibility and cultural prestige of high-end craft. Today it finds itself in the vanguard of growing global appreciation for crafted objects, which are increasingly sought-after in galleries and auction rooms. It provides a glamorous forum for the perusal and purchase of remarkable one-off handmade pieces – from the functional or challenging to the purely decorative and sometimes awe-inspiring – created using a wide range of craft skills. 

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Among the 45 galleries represented this year, 18 are from outside the UK, including – new this time – the pioneering New York gallery of contemporary collectable design Todd Merrill, displaying works such as Jean-Luc Le Mounier’s breakwater-inspired Brise Lames cabinet (£61,000), and the Czech glass specialist Galerie Kuzebauch, which is bringing an exhibition of new work by leading Czech women glass artists, including Lada Semecká’s sculptural vessel Universe in cast basalt (£8,500). 

Gold and titanium Frösche necklace by Dorothea Prühl, from Galerie Marzee, €24,000
Gold and titanium Frösche necklace by Dorothea Prühl, from Galerie Marzee, €24,000

Asia is also well represented. In one of two spectacular stairwell installations, Ting-Ying, based between the UK and Dehua, the home of pure-white Blanc de Chine, is showcasing the fantastical Gravity in Pray (£10,000) by emerging ceramic artist Wanling Liang. In the other, London’s Mint gallery will hang a series of spooky, beautifully engineered flying interactive lighting devices, called The Bird (from £4,500 in black; from £6,500 in gold), by Seoul-based Korean robotics engineer and artist Wonseok Jung.

Cherrywood, oak and stoneware Cherry with Clay by Nic Webb, from Sarah Myerscough Gallery, £11,520
Cherrywood, oak and stoneware Cherry with Clay by Nic Webb, from Sarah Myerscough Gallery, £11,520

Meanwhile, the Korea Crafts & Design Foundation offers work by the renowned lacquer artist Chung Hae-Cho (Rhythm of Five Colour Cluster 1302, ottchil on hemp; £30,000 for set of five). Collect stalwart Katie Jones presents 18 Japanese artists, masters of almost as many different disciplines, including the metal artist Koichi Io (£1,750-£7,000), who has just been shortlisted for the Loewe Craft Prize – one of seven nominees for the 2019 prize who are showing at the fair. 

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Sarah Myerscough, always pushing the boundaries of contemporary work in wood, is showing a dramatic wooden vessel by Nic Webb and delicate ceramics by newcomer Luke Fuller, while Flow Gallery is bringing sought-after painterly ceramic vessels by Loewe Craft Prize finalist Akiko Hirai. For jewellery-lovers, Galerie Marzee, from the Netherlands, is a necessary destination, offering witty pieces from the legendary Dorothea Prühl, including three necklaces: the gold and titanium Schwäne and Frösche and gold and steel Fisch (€24,000-€26,000). There will also be talks from, among others, sculptural artist Yinka Shonibare and last year’s Loewe Craft Prize winner Jennifer Lee.

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