London Galleries Feature
Unusual, Upscale Crafts
Contemporary Applied Arts is the ultimate London gallery for unusual
and exceptional hand crafted items. It flourishes through presenting
cutting-edge themed exhibitions of every possible facet of crafts.
Contemporary Arts' spring 2010 crafts show was devoted exclusively
to an apian theme, which was chosen very deliberately, given the
enormous ecological importance of bees. Twenty-seven craftspeople
were invited to contribute to the show, with a portion of the
proceeds to be donated to the British Beekeepers’ Association.
• The physical structure and persona of bees
• The bees' environment: the hive and the comb
• Bee-havior: pollination
• Threats to the bee environment and continued existence
The intricate makeup of the honeycomb was an important theme.
Curator Wendy Ramshaw made a table of steel, incorporating a pattern
of honeycombs. In an allusion to Colony Collapse Disorder, one
crafter constructed an elaborate basket that casts the shadow of a
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Artisan Zoe Arnold crafted a large floor display
of porcelain bees. A mosaicist created a conceptual display, in
which man is interfering with the natural order of bee development.
On a lighter note, fabric artists created apian tapestries
In addition to the ingenious exhibit, attendees were educated about
bees and the pastime of beekeeping. Perhaps the most important item
sold were seeds of plants that attract bees. “Bees are vital to
humans and inspirational to the artist,” Ramshaw concluded.
Britain’s Crafts Council recently proved that the modern crafts
marketplace is as dynamic as ever, despite the global recession.
They sponsored an international fair called Collect at the Saatchi
Gallery, which is known for its one-of-a-kind contemporary crafts.
Saatchi’s items are sought after by renowned museums, as well as
private acquisitors. Museums acquiring items at this event are
subsidized by two British organizations, to the tune of 75,000
Collect proved to be a venue for countries and cultures to exchange
pieces. Italian jewel smiths sold to the Scottish and the Swiss. In
addition to jewelry, he objets included oversized ceramic vases and
gourds. Sculptures of steel and glass were purchased for a craft
gallery and Wales museum, respectively.
The Victoria & Albert Museum purchased a lyrical glass piece called
Free Essence-6, by Niyoko Ikuta. This artist “employs harshness of
material and severity of process to achieve a remarkable sense of
fluidity and sensuality.” The piece, made of laminated and sliced
plate glass, displays swooping geometric shapes.
Ikuta stated that she derives her inspiration from such contrasting
sources as emotions, music, civil unrest and the kinetic energy of
space. She is fascinated by light reflecting on glass.
Britain’s Crafts Council’s mission is to nurture and develop
contemporary handicrafts. England is keen to be perceived as the
premiere location for creating, observing and collecting such