This February, Alexa Hainsworth, Member Services Coordinator at the Saskatchewan Craft Council travelled with Craft Alliance Atlantic, Canadian Craft Council representatives, and makers and artists to attend Collect 2020, with a future plan to exhibit at Collect in 2022.

Collect is a programme hosted by Craft Council UK. Collect 2020 is the 16th edition and was held in a new location at Somerset House, which allowed exhibitors to contextualize and curate modern craft. Collect is the only gallery-presented international art fair dedicated to modern craft and design. Collect brings together galleries from across the globe, each curating their own displays by the world鈥檚 leading contemporary artists and designers. With 400 artists represented from over 20 nations from Sweden to Uganda, 聽Japan and Korea,聽each one displaying exceptional work ranging from聽ceramics, glass, metal, wood and textiles. This trade mission to London was truly eye-opening. The variety, quality and experimentation that artists were achieving in fine craft were outstanding.

It was thrilling to see a market that was eager to purchase one of kind handmade craft.聽 Collect was the largest exhibition that I had ever attended.聽 It was bursting with patrons exited for art. I saw the most unique, colourful and delicate pieces that would make your mouth water. The mood was a buzz of energy 鈥 everyone soaking in as much as they could. But at times it was also very intimate. Gallerists and artists welcomed patrons to ask questions and have discussions. I had numerous conversations with artists about process, sources of inspiration and their history.

Not usually done at exhibitions some artists invited me to touch their works. One glass artist from the UK even played with me a little by showing an alternative way to display her glasswork by modeling it on her head.聽 I thought 鈥 yes! Craft is about having fun. Collect would be a perfect fit and venue for Canadian craft. Thank you to Creative Saskatchewan and Craft Alliance for making this trade mission possible.

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Grainne Watts, ceramic. Alveston Fine Arts London UK,聽Collection Ateliers d鈥檃rt de France. Paris.

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Laura Quinn, glass. North Lands Creative Scotland UK