12th Nov - 31st Jan 2010

Arts Thread Issue 2 Feb 2010

Arts Thread Issue 2 - Feb 2010
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About Us

Issue 2 (Feb 2010)


Kath Libbert visits New Designers in search of new talent for her well-recognised contemporary jewellery gallery.

Kath Libbert is a constant supporter
of graduate talent, creating
exhibitions of new work every year
at her gallery at Salt Mills, West Yorkshire.
After her annual visit to New Designers graduate show last summer, ARTS THREAD spoke to the curator about what she had found there.
‘I always go to New Designers with a sense of excited anticipation. What will I see to challenge, provoke, stimulate, delight? I was, as usual, not disappointed.
There is always such an array of new ideas and new ways of expressing old ideas. I don’t really look for trends, just in a more personal way what I find special now, what I feel is breaking new ground in some way.
‘This year I found that, for me, two
styles of contrasting work particularly engaged my attention. One was a strident use of colour, most obvious in work by Manchester Metropolitan University graduate Clare Knox-Bentham in her Dribble collection of dramatic dripping plastic neckpieces in startling reds and oranges. More subtle use of colour could be found in the gargoyle inspired small creature brooches by Shona MacSween, Middlesex University. Designed to perch on the shoulder to provide both protection and, maybe, company for the wearer, the ones I loved most had had their small bodies studded with sparkling grey Swarovski crystals with ears tipped with bright red crystals. Disturbing and delightful!
‘Also using colour in a delicate way, more as you would use a highlighter pen, I was impressed by the work of Holly Edwards, a mature student who had done her Design Crafts BA (Hons) over 6 years whilst also working full time in a bank! Her huge delicate oxidised silver and iron wire neckpieces, arm pieces and brooches have an ethereal quality and at the same time a really strong presence.
Tipped with sharp red accents in latex, each strand of silver moves, creating the impression of some vast living organism.
‘In complete contrast to the three
graduates mentioned so far, were a spread of jewellers who had developed collections of a gentler, calmer, lighter nature. There was a lot of white and very pale enamel being used, such as in the quietly beautiful collection of brooches by Lydia Feast, who got a First for her BA (Hons) at Birmingham City University. Enigmatic titles like
Moments In Between, Silence, and Chaos and Calm added to their interest, as did the delicate etching of grasses in dark grey on some of the pieces. Of her work she says: “It echoes references to time and nature whilst… bringing together contrasting elements illustrating a harmony between chaos and calm, new and old and silence and noise. Inspired by my research into chaos theory.”
‘A similar palette using pale reclaimed ivory piano keys mixed with wood and matt silver could be seen in Charlotte Dey’s imaginative Chatelaine Collection which takes Flaubert’s Madame Bovary as its inspiration. Charlotte, a graduate from Nottingham Trent University, has created ‘a collection which has subtle references to key stages of Emma Bovary’s life; a piano key brooch setting reminds us of her liaisons with her lover Leon, whilst a vial containing a blade of grass is reminiscent of the long journey she would take to visit Rodolphe. It is important to me that my work is interactive and adaptable; in order to encourage people to keep and treasure their possessions, it is vital that the jewellery has the potential to be customised according to the needs of the wearer. The Chatelaine Brooch collection is the ultimate adulteress’ companion; each ‘attachment’ is removable, allowing Madame Bovary to customise her jewellery according to the company she is keeping.’
‘Also on the ‘Light’ side I was drawn to the work of Jamie Price another Nottingham Trent University graduate, who has a strong interest in illustration which is evident in her delicate, intricate ‘drawings’ in silver wire, inspired by shadows cast by shapes as mundane as milk bottles! She has transformed these fleeting ever-changing plays of light into a series of elegant wearable brooches.
‘There were many other highlights to last year’s New Designers, some of whom also took part in our New British Graduate exhibition BRIGHT/LIGHT November 12–31 January 2010 and many others who I am sure I will be hearing more about in the very near future!’
To know more about the Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery:

Opposite Chatelaine, Charlotte Dey, Nottingham Trent University,
Top left Dribble Jewellery, Clare Knox-Bentham, Manchester Metropolitan University,
Top middle Rings and Pins, Shona MacSween, Middlesex University,
Top right Moments In Between, Lydia Feast, Birmingham City University,
Bottom left Large Neckpiece, Holly Edwards, Oxford & Cherwell Valley College (De Montfort University associate course),
Bottom right Jamie Price, Nottingham Trent University,

Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery, Salts Mill, Saltaire, Bradford BD18 3LA. Tel/Fax 01274 599790. For directions see About Us
Open Monday - Friday 10am - 5.30pm. Weekends 10am - 6pm.