Earlier this February, a selection of Young Masters alumni graced the Saatchi Gallery for COLLECT 17, the Crafts Council’s international art fair for contemporary objects. The Cynthia Corbett Gallery exhibited new ceramic works by artists featured in the inaugural 2014 Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize, alongside work by recent graduates from the Royal College of Art’s Ceramics & Glass programme.

2014 winner Matt Smith presented Wunderkammer, a series of 24 composite sculptures that were cast from salvaged Spode moulds, prestigious museum objects and local charity-shop finds. Wunderkammer’s irreverence lies in the use of black Parian porcelain to disguise each piece’s high and low origins. Testament to the calibre of Matt’s practice, Wunderkammer 2 was acquired by the V&A Museum where Matt undertook an artist’s residency in 2016. It was here that Notes from a love song had its genesis; Clef of this series was kindly donated by the Cynthia Corbett Gallery to the Crafts Council Benefit Auction. This May, Matt will begin a residency at The National Trust’s spectacular Hanbury Hall, Worcestershire. Following on from this, he has been invited to embark on a two-year, 400-work project and major show with Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum. The future is certainly bright for our Young Masters winner!

COLLECT also saw romantic vases by London-based ceramicist Amy Hughes. Since being shortlisted in 2014, Amy was chosen as the first Ceramics and Industry Artist in Residence at the V&A working in collaboration with 1882Ltd, as well as being selected as one of eleven artists for AWARD at the British Ceramics Biennial. Adorned with floral garlands and neo-classical festoons, Amy’s vessels merge beauty and function.

Fellow shortlisted alumna Jo Taylor debuted Composition: her latest series of baroque-inspired wall-pieces. These lyrical blue forms were thrown on the potter’s wheel while Jo was listening to festive music over the winter holidays. Jo is one of ten ceramicists from the West Country recently selected to respond to the Swindon Collection of Modern British Art.

Works by Highly Commended alumni Jongjin Park and Zemer Peled also featured. Dubbed ‘one to watch’ by Ceramic Review, Jongjin is currently pursuing a PHD at Kookmin University, Seoul, alongside exhibiting with Puls Contemporary Ceramics in Brussels.

Zemer gave an intriguing and dynamic Booth Talk against a backdrop of new additions to the Deadly Flowers Collection. As well as letting us in on the intricacies of her practice, Zemer invited the enthusiastic audience to handle and snap some of her porcelain shards.* Since COLLECT, Zemer has since flown back to her LA studio, exhibited with the Cynthia Corbett Gallery at Art Palm Springs (watch this space for a detailed rundown of Young Masters alumni at the fair), and has been Instagramming her works-in-progress: @zemerpeled. This spring, Zemer takes on an artist’s residency with the world-renowned Limoges Porcelain Factory.

*nb. no art works were harmed in the making of this talk.

Ceramic artists are invited to apply now to Young Masters Maylis Grand Ceramics Prize in 2017. Applications are open until 31 March 2017.

Image Credits: COLLECT 17, Private View. Photo by Cristina Schek.