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Nine artists with NSCAD connections to present at Collect International Art Fair

London-based art fair showcases museum-quality, handcrafted artworks from the world’s top talent.

From pieces of gold-plated metal twisted to reflect blades of grass in the wind.
A piece from Kye-Yeon Son titled 'Innate Beauty.' It will be displayed at the Collect Open 2024.

UPDATE March 13, 2024: The Victoria and Albert Museum in London, England, has agreed to acquire a piece by Professor Kye-Yeon Son entitled Innatus Forma 2022-1. The acquisition will be completed by May 2024. 

For the first time ever, a group of 18 Canadian craft artists will present their work at the Collect Art Fair in the U.K., as part of a curated exhibition by Craft Alliance Atlantic.

Organized by the U.K. Craft Council, the Collect 2024 is one of the leading international fairs for contemporary craft and design. Running from Feb. 28 to March 3, more than 40 galleries will present artists at the fair, which attracts top curators, collectors and artisans from around the world.  

Among the 18 independent artists selected by Craft Alliance Atlantic to present at the prestigious exhibition, nine of them have connections to NSCAD: namely, Professor Kye-Yeon Son; Associate Professor Rebecca Hannon; Pam Ritchie, professor emeritus, BFA 1975, MFA 1982; Sorrel Van Allen, BFA 2020; and Mengnan Qu, BFA 2008; Nancy Oakley, 1998-1999; Heather Pitts, BFA and BA 1983; Brigitte Clavette, BFA 1980; and Rilla Marshall, BFA 2004. 


Bernard Burton, executive director of the Craft Alliance Atlantic, says that the mission to Collect Open is a huge opportunity to raise the profile of contemporary craft in Atlantic Canada to an international audience.

“Craftspeople can sell their work there, but there is an even bigger opportunity to meet with curators, and collectors, where they have a chance be represented by international galleries or have their work added to contemporary craft collection at museums in the U.K. and Europe,” he says. 

Craft Alliance Atlantic held its call for entry in Spring 2023, which received over 50 submissions. A curatorial committee from Atlantic Canada chose 23 contemporary makers to the Collect Art Fair jury, which was then narrowed to 18 selected artists.  From those, 15 artists will travel to London for the event.

“The Craft Alliance Atlantic always tries to create opportunities for craft artists in Atlantic Canada to be presented and exposed to a wider audience,” says Kye-Yeon Son. “They always try to educate the world about craft artists and their works, and I am really grateful for that.”

Some of the artworks on display at the 2024 Collect International Art Fair


Out of the 18 artists selected, only one Nova Scotian artist will exhibit their work at the Collect Open, an exclusive curated exhibition within the Collect Art Fair. Son was selected by Collect for the Open.

“I am extremely privileged to have been selected,” Son says. “The Collect Open is an international affair, where important and famous artists come and display their works. I am very delighted.” 

Kye-Yeon Son attended the Collect Open 2000 art fair as part of a Craft Alliance educational mission, and remembers being blown away by the caliber of art displayed at the event.

“The scope of work exhibited there was a real eye-opener for me,” she says. “From then on, I really wanted to show my work there.”

For this year’s Collect Open, she had to create seven to eight pieces of metalwork to display at the show. Her artistic pieces of metalwork combines the delicacy of nature and the beauty of resilience in harsh times. 

Son will exhibit a series of works, titled ‘Innate Beauty,’ inspired by the movement of tall grasses in the breeze.

“Manipulating the physical and visual characteristics of fine steel metal wire allows me to explore various delicate structures, interplaying between positive and negative spaces, while creating volume, textures, space, colour, light and shadow in this form,” she says. “Silver and gold plating were employed for colouring to express the beauty of nature. I hope this piece speaks to the beauty of endurance and harmonious survival in their environment.”

Each piece takes Son about three months to complete, depending on its size and complexity – all done while she teaches full-time at NSCAD.

Her advice to students and other emerging artists is to stay true to their work and not be afraid to experiment.

“It is only through experimentation that you can develop your own voice as an artist,” says Son.  

You can learn more about Professor Kye-Yon Son and the Jewellery Design and Metalsmithing program at NSCAD here.