General Gallery Reviews

Yorkshire Post Women's Post, 8 August 2001

Yorkshire Post Women's Post, 8 August 2001

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About Us

8 AUGUST 2001

'I love what I do and I'd advise anyone who is thinking of changing career to go for it. You only live once.'
KATH LlBBERT, 42, was a psychologist working for the health service. Now she owns and runs a jewellery studio at Salts Mill, Saltaire.
Kath did a psychology degree and worked as a counselling psychologist - first in Bradford then in Leeds. She says: "I enjoyed my job very much, but towards the end I found my heart wasn't in it and I was worn out by it. "Helping people is very fulfiling, but you are seeing a very disturbed and distressed side of life.
"I have always had another side which has been interested in art, creativity and beautiful objects and I felt I wanted to do something in that area."
Kath had always been interested in jewellery and collected it herself.
She says: "I used to go to Harrogate Craft Fair with a friend. There were some great jewellery designers there and I often bought pieces from them. One year I1 thought I'd see if I could make a go of selling some."
She opened a stall in Leeds in 1994, showcasing the work of innovative designers.
"It was an exciting project for me. I had split up with my partner and I was wondering what to do with my weekends.
"I invested £1,000 and just wanted to sell enough to cover my costs.
"It wasn't a money-making venture, just a project."
She approached Salts Mill and when they opened a new floor five years ago, they offered her a space. She says: "I like a challenge and the wonderful thing about owning your business is that you are your own boss. In the health service you are often blocked and are forced to do things a particular way."
Kath didn't want a huge bank loan and managed to persuade jewellery designers to give her their work to showcase.
She took free business courses and employed someone to help run the business and reduced her hours in the health service to part-time.
Kath Libbert Jewellery now has an enviable reputation for stocking work by some of the county's best and most innovative independent designer makers.
She says: "It was a schizophrenic existence and in the end Ihad to make a choice.
"It was a frightening prospect to give up a secure job in the health service and a pension and I didn't know whether I would enjoy Salts full-time, but I love it."
Kath adds: "I've been liberated by this career change. I've stopped having the desire to be in the morass of people's distress and although I'm still interested in what makes people tick, this work does fulfil that in a way.
"I'm building relationships with designers and customers and by selling jewellery, I'm dealing with people's emotions."
Since leaving the health service recently and devoting herself full-time to her business, Kath has won a Crafts Council grant to forge links with a jewellery gallery in Spain and is in the midst of a Flights of Fancy exhibition she organised at Salts Mill.
She adds: "I love what I do and I'd advise anyone who is thinking of changing career to go for it. You only live once."
Kath Libbert Jewellery is at Salts Mill, Saltaire, and is open 10am - 6pm every day. Tel: 01274 599790.

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.