With this year’s Crafts Council extravaganza COLLECT now just a week away, it’s a good time to take a closer look at some of the creatives whose work will be on display at the exhibition’s Project Space. As usual they’re an eclectic bunch and whatever your crafty passions you’re sure to find something that floats your boat, but here’s three that we’re particularly excited to see included.
If knitting inspires you with a certain twee dread, all tea cosies and bobble hats, then you need Freddie Robins. Her work subverts the craft’s traditional associations to produce an array of weird and wonderful creations often underpinned with a darkly comic streak. Her work explores “the domestic, gender and the human condition” and she says: “My studio practice questions conformity and notions of normality. I find knitting to be a powerful medium for self-expression and communication because of the cultural preconceptions surrounding it.”
For COLLECT Freddie, who is also a senior tutor at The Royal College of Art, is displaying a piece called Out On A Limb which is described as a coming together of “samples and surpluses, things donated and inherited and found, domestic craft, mass manufacture, exquisite craftsmanship, embellished and encrusted, excess, needless, disembodied, immense violence, fear, loss, death, pain, pins and needles, and wool.”
Laura Ellen Bacon
Laura Ellen Bacon’s installation for COLLECT is said to suggest “growth and movement, stillness and calm” and a romp through her portfolio proves she is more than capable of creating almost any emotional response with her monumental woven wood sculptures. Almost always built on site, her work carefully references its context, whether it’s creating a magical gate into a woodland or tumbling out of a country house window.
She says: “The sculptures that I make have a closeness with a host structure or the fabric of a building; their oozing energy spills from gutters, their ‘muscular’ forms nuzzle up to the glass and their gripping weave locks onto the strength of the walls. Whilst the scale and impact varies from striking to subtle (sometimes only visible upon a quizzical double take), I relish the opportunity to let a building ‘feed’ the form, as if some part of the building is exhaling into the work.”
It was inevitable that 3D printing would make an appearance at this year’s COLLECT but in Daniel Widrig the organisers have chosen one of the field’s leading practitioners. A trained architect, Daniel worked for Zaha Hadid for several years before founding his own studio in 2009. Fascinated by the intersection of digital and craft, Daniel’s practice now encompasses fashion, furniture, sculpture, stage design and architecture and is lauded for its cutting edge approach. In 2011 he worked with the fashion designer Iris Van Herpen to create an extraordinary series of 3D printed dresses which TIME hailed as one of the best innovations of that year.
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