The Ailist – COLLECT 2020

Ailish Henderson shares her view on the world of embroidery - it's the Ailist!

COLLECT 2020 (26th Feb – 1st March 2020)

For my column this month, I wanted to take a look back at COLLECT 2020, the arts fair which I attended last month…

Collect is the only gallery-presented art fair dedicated to modern craft and design. In its 16th year, Collect moved to Somerset House from 27 February – 1 March 2020.

Collect 2020 brings together international galleries from across the globe, each curating their own displays to sell work made in the last five years by the world’s leading contemporary artists and designers. With artists represented from over 25 nations from Sweden to Uganda to Japan, the breadth of exceptional work on show will range from ceramics, glass, metal, wood and textiles to makers working in non-traditional materials with experimental techniques.

The press release tells us:

‘Visitors to the 16th edition of Collect: International Art Fair for Modern Craft and Design, presented by the
Crafts Council, will be able to see new contemporary craft pieces in the beautiful Neoclassical rooms of Somerset
House. Collect presents an opportunity to discover exceptional work produced in the last five
years by living artists, much of which is made especially for the Fair. The work of over 400 gallery-presented artists will be participating on a London stage that is instrumental in defining and growing the market for contemporary craft globally’
So why did I visit?  Why should you attend next year, if you missed this one?
This event is not a one technique affair; it covers Textile art, Fine Art in many forms, Sculpture….basically to want to go, all you have to enjoy is art, which isn’t really hard.
There is no way I could hope to cover the whole event in one blog post, so let me go through a couple of highlights which relate more to our website here – namely Textiles.
To give you some understanding of the set up at COLLECT 2020, the Galleries who exhibit tend to be housed in rooms, separating them, without it becoming a disjointed affair….lets take a look at a few of them:
The Candida Stevens Gallery
This gallery represents artists who are a little outside of the norm – art with depth.  The Candida Stevens Gallery was established in 2014. Its exhibitions explore important themes through the responses of new or relevant work by some of the finest emerging and established artists working in Britain today.  With an energetic curatorial curiosity, the gallery works with artists who it believes have the skill, determination, enquiry and aptitude to make successful and interesting work. Specialising in contemporary painting and textiles, known makers include Alice Kettle, Stephen Farthing and Jeremy Gardiner….
Collect 2020-Alice Kettle
Alice kettle – the black background really makers the colour stand out on this piece.


More of Kettles work within this gallery. The frames she uses are simple – making it achievable for us all – fancy exhibiting one day?
What is cool about this event, is because its not isolated by one type of art, it is all “smooshed” (yes I am so adding this word to one to be used!) together and curated as such – for example, Kettle’s work sits next to these beautiful pots:
The Ailist - COLLECT 2020
A mix of work types within each Gallery makes for an exciting exhibition.
Individual artists also hold their own within this event….
Paula Reason
Again focusing on the Textile artists, Reason creates interior scenes using machine embroidery.  They are clever as are often more 3D in style…
The Ailist - COLLECT 2020
Reason’s background as an architect is evident in the scaled drawings that form the foundation of the work. Her aim is to help others to look at their own homes and studios to see how they influence their lives and creativity.


The Ailist - COLLECT 2020
Look at all that detail!!!!!!

If you want to see more of her work, check out her website.

Aino Kajaniemi (represented by Flow Gallery)

As a part of Flow Gallery, this artist exhibited a few of her weavings.  They have a distinct recognisable character.  More information about her work can be found on this website.

The Ailist - COLLECT 2020
This is so bold and stark, we think its pretty iconic.


The Ailist - COLLECT 2020
Thing of joy (2019)
So, will you visit next year?  We feel it is a great way to spark of inspiration, or simply get a fresh look at art work which will be shaping the future.  The venue of Somerset House is also worth the visit, it is a great place to meet friends, have a drink and yes, get our “art eyes” fed!
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