Design Centre Stories

Artefact in Five Objects

Design Centre, Chelsea Harbour celebrates contemporary craft at Artefact, the contemporary craft fair, on from 10-15 May. Lauded makers from all over world, under the umbrella of 17 top galleries, are showing their work in the Design Avenue, and seeing these objects in real life is incredibly rewarding as materials, finishes and of course the skilled hand of the maker can only really be appreciated at close quarters.

Talks, tours and demonstrations at Artefact help to tell the stories behind the objects, but here’s a fascinating delve into the thinking, skill and artisanship that has gone into just five of the creations on show from the galleries.

Lucas Ferreira makes work with an uncanny quality: what, exactly is it made from? The answer is small, flat rectangles of ceramic, which are stacked and layered to create three-dimensional forms. Because each rectangle is subtly different, it lends his pieces a beautifully imperfect quality, while Ferreira’s instinct for colour brings a unique rhythm to his work, with the components receding and advancing according to their saturation. Pictured is ‘Whirlpool’, which can be found at Jaggedart.

Japanese metalsmith Toru Kaneko’s work is instantly recognisable for the distinctive textured finish and unusual patination of his work. This vase is an imposing 42cm tall and is made from tin-plated copper, with roundels contrasting with the rest of the vessel’s beautiful verdigris finish. Each piece starts as a thin sheet of metal, which is cut out and hammered by hand. “It’s about expressing the metal itself,” he says. “I don’t feel any restrictions because everything originates from the material itself.” Find it at Katie Jones Gallery, which specialises in art from Japan.

A new piece for 2022, Edmond Byrne’s ‘Ensemble XVI’ is the latest on a series of objects made from off-cut fragments of glass that are usually discarded. It resembles a trophy or totem, but one that is joyful in its approach, with clashing colour and form, while the distinctive mottled patina comes from the kaolin that is fused onto the surface, which creates a crystal-like structure as the glass inflates as it is being blown. Find this and other works by Byrne at Cavaliero Finn.

Belfast-based Derek Wilson describes him self as “a twenty-first century hybridisation of studio potter and conceptual artist” and this piece (on show at 155a Gallery) showcases his skill as a sculptor. It is made from thrown components that are then assembled; the piece is coated in a sand engobe (similar to slip) which gives it its warm neutral tone. The piece needs to be seen in 360 degrees to be appreciated, since it looks beautiful and different from every angle.

At the Conversations in Craft talk that she took part in at Artefact, Lena Bergström described her chosen medium of glass as “sensual, magical, beautiful”. With a background in textile design, her pieces often have the fluidity of fabric, including these objects from her ‘Anemone’ series, which sit a sculpted glass top on a hand-blown base, each one in an inviting saturated colour. These pieces were originally created for Lena 25+, a solo exhibition celebrating Bergström’s 25 years working for boutique Swedish glass brands Orrefors and Kosta Boda; find them on show at Vessel Gallery.