The domains of makers and designers Vita Cochran, Andrea Daly, Warwick Freeman, Simon Gamble, Genevieve Packer, Emily Siddell and Richard Stratton are the locations of diverse accumulations of collected objects in addition to works of their making. Their collections are in some cases diverse, but despite their expansiveness, they have a focus. Each of these collections in some way informs, resources, or in some cases, literally shapes the production of their owners. Talking to Me has discovered that makers' collecting and collections are closely inter-related to their making practice, providing a fresh and revealing lens for better understanding that practice and, sometimes, the conception and development of individual works.
For some makers the process of searching for future collection acquisitions constitutes practising their main area of practice, as it can generate new ideas, new materials and new technical information for them. Simon Gamble is an example of how a collector, whilst searching for possible acquisitions, discovered the raw material for a new design. When Emily Siddell remarks that "I can't resist assembling objects" she was talking about her collection but equally could have been describing her own making.
The collecting of these makers connects the quotidian with the extraordinary. Vita Cochran says of some of her favourite objects "These are objects I really respect". The objects that these designers and makers collect sustain them creatively, emotionally and technically and stand in a continuum with the objects they create. Richard Stratton admits, "I like the idea of using old things and old materials to make new work".
These collections are biographical in that they help to describe both the person and their practice. Andrea Daly talks about the deeply ingrained aesthetic experience of her childhood and how these same aesthetics continue to inform her own work. Genevieve Packer reveals how characteristics of her collections unconsciously entered her professional practice. And Warwick Freeman reports how very specific star form images he collects have informed the development of specific works.
Curator Philip Clarke contends that the qualities that these designers and makers admire in the objects they collect "highlight something fundamental about the character of craft practice itself. These fundamental characteristics include; an awareness, respect and sometimes usage of tradition; the biographical aspect of craft; the physical dimension of craft; and the fascination for surface decoration."
Talking to Me: collecting and making is related to two earlier Objectspace projects, To Have & To Hold: Making Collections and Quotidian: Finding Inspiration in everyday design. This trio of projects demonstrates Objectspace's ongoing commitment to the professional development of makers and recognising the role of collectors and collecting.
A publication for this exhibition is available for sale at Objectspace and as a download.
Talking To Me: collecting and making curator, Philip Clarke, will present a free floortalk Saturday 2 October 11:00-11:30am at Objectspace.