Art Market Blog – Investing in Craft and Design

Art Market Blog – Investing in Craft and Design

arm-chair.jpg When people talk about art they are usually referring to painting, drawing or sculpture but there are plenty of other forms of art that you may not have thought of as being a desirable or collectible object. The sort of artistic objects that I am referring to come under the broad heading of craft and design and encompass things such as jewelery, ceramics, fashion, furniture, home wares etc. One of the defining features of the these type of artworks is that they are functional as well as being artistic which is a concept that many people seem to struggle with. There seems to be a that an object can either be artistic or functional but not both which seems to me to be a rather narrow minded train of thought when in fact objects that are both artistic and functional represent excellent investment potential and value for money. With limited edition furniture and design objects you are usually paying for the very best materials and construction techniques which means that the value of the piece is not as reliant on the aesthetic attributes as it would be for say a painting thus giving the object a potentially more stable and retainable value.

A particularly interesting new website is that sells limited edition objects of which no more than 66 are made and all of which are made to order. According to the website their “first objective is to present a continuous stream of unique and exclusive, stop-in-your-tracks products from established – or up-and-coming – artists and designers from around the world”. The objects on offer range from jewellery to musical instruments that incorporate the highest quality materials and craftsmanship. I particularly like the Cracked Ice II ring by Niki Kavakonis which delves into the elements of the Canadian arctic. A minimalist design, the mirror-like face of a great sheet of ice displays a crack down the middle, revealing the ‘gleam’ within. The sides of the ring are treated with a brushed finish, giving the piece a slight industrial feel.

Limited edition furniture is a particularly exciting area of the market that has seen a major spike in prices in recent times particularly for the iconic designers of the 20th century. In October 2006 a Marc Newson “Lockheed Lounge” sold for 748,500 pounds at auction setting the world auction record for a living designer. Famous names like Marc Newson and Charles Eames may be out of most people’s price range but there are plenty of fantastic lesser know designers that are producing amazing objects well worth investing in. Take for example the Inter – B – Lock Arm chair Kit (pictured above) by Julienne Dolphin Wilding which is made of salvaged English Yew Tree interlocking bricks that fit together like lego. Only five chairs were made and can be bought for 2310 pounds from the Bouf website which can be found here

So next time you want to buy a new leather lounge consider buying a limited edition piece of furniture instead, you won’t be disappointed.

PS: You should also check out the website for fantastic craft objects

Nick**Nicholas Forrest is an art market analyst, art critic and journalist based in Sydney, Australia. He is the founder of, writes the art column for the magazine Antiques and Collectibles for Pleasure and Profit and contributes to many other publications.

7 Responses

  1. love it man

  2. typo in the link (should be degrees)

  3. is the awesome site. Nicholas Forrestis the founder of this site. Artmarketing blog is most valuable post in 2007.

  4. An interesting and considered article. I would generally agree with your observations on craft, functionality, and art. Where would we be today without the efforts of artists/designers of the Bauhaus – the inspiration behind so much contemporary design and critical debate of the modernist era. The one criticism I would have of some contemporary, limited edition design – and particularly furniture, is that it really isn’t very functional beyond its’ aesthetic value. I’m not an expert in this area, but it seems to fall into the same problem that some modern architecture is guilty of – that on paper it looks very impressive and convincing, but in practice, it just does not do the job it is intended to do. However, as design, it still becomes very desirable and in the case of furniture, jewelry, ceramics, etc, collectable. There is much out ‘there’, that is interesting and exciting, but as with any piece of art or craft, it may not necessarily work in your home – looking incongruous within a more modest or mainstream design. Lots to talk and think about, but not enough time now I’m afraid.

  5. Hey Nicholas,

    Great site and insight into the art, craft and object market!

    My GFs run a site called in New Zealand where they sell 100% NZ made craft pieces by local artists. Some of the artists come from a fine art background and create limited edition works especially for toggle. I’d love for you to check it out and send some feedback to Shelley and Esther who run it!



  6. Hey Nicholas,

    Great Job. Keep up the good work.

    I am in a habit of surfing net for even the smallest of querries of mine and while doing so, I came across this site called ….. This is a site worth visiting for art and craft information…

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