17th July – 28th Sept 2008

Antique meets Contemporary

Two Claw Cluster’ – ring in 22ct gold with crushed rubies and pink agate
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About Us

Kelvin Birk

Kelvin J Birk has developed an intriguing body of work in which precious gemstones like sapphires, rubies and emeralds have being crushed and pulverised and then reconstructed and reformed with precious metal to create new pieces.

The gemstones and the precious metal are often ‘recycled’ using second hand jewellery or pieces that have been inherited but considered no longer fashionable for day to day wear.

Using this process the sentiment and love of the jewellery’s personal association is retained, adding intrinsic value whilst more importantly making it into a piece that will be worn and treasured.

Not all items used are associated with ‘love’ and sentiment as he has used pieces that were retained in a separation such as a broken engagement. Re-working such a piece for one client was a great success as she loved the end result it evoked more happy memories than previous.

Following personal life experiences Kelvin comments “There is always destruction and loss but out of that come new things and a new order. We lose things and we gain things. It is a constant move and force, which can’t be stopped.”

Consciously disregarding what is traditionally considered precious, Birk revels in a lack of control, allows chaos to take over and the nature of the precious materials to dictate the final outcome of the pieces.

His “freeform” rings demonstrate this beautifully; precious metals cast themselves in unique forms, enclosing crushed or whole precious stones. Each resulting piece is original, and this holds true across all his work.

By pulverising a raw material that is so valuable and then reconstructing it, he is questioning the value of things. “Are the gemstones still valuable after I crushed them?” he asks. “Is the material value higher than the value of my work and creativity, and is the sentimental value kept or lost?

Biographical Details

Artists taking part in Artists taking part in Sentiment & Sex are: Kelvin Birk; Georg Dobler; Adam Paxon.
Sentiment & Sex Antique pieces.
Other themes: Memento Mori ; Power & Politics; The Lighter Side.