15th July - 31st August 2004
'Material Girl'
A Celebration of
Jewellers working with textiles

Craftsman Magazine, March 2007 a retrospective review of Material Girl

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About Us

MARCH 2007 (A retrospective review)

by Valery Garrett

Diamonds may be a girl's best friend, but for a wow factor that's a whole lot cheaper and a lot more cutting edge, look no further than Kath Libbert's gallery in Salt's Mill in Yorkshire. It's here that collections from the UK and Europe have been brought together in a celebration of the creative talents of jewellery designers working with a wide range of textiles and other natural materials. The result is jewellery that's best described as wearable art with a definite twist.
Into the Felting Pot
Lynsey Waiters is a textile designer based in Edinburgh. While a student at the Royal College of Art, she developed some unique felting techniques, which she applies to much of her collection. Giving traditional methods a modern look, and using natural materials like merino wool, linen, silk tulle and organza, Lynsey creates wonderfully tactile pieces using combinations of hand felting and embroidery. All her pieces are designed and handmade so that no two are the same. How about a felt brooch with fat juicy cherries hanging from a branch? Or a choker with little felt flowers like Smarties spilling out of the box? Here is jewellery with a simple charm and an instant draw.
Euro Style
Also working with felt is Karin Wagner, who hails from Switzerland. Karin became a textile and handicrafts teacher, and then a fashion designer and artist. Since 1998 she has her own textile design label, designing pieces for television programmes and for fashion designer, Christian Lacroix. Karin makes the felt from scratch and fashions it into jewellery so that the wool retains its softness and strength. Her merino felt flowers, some in pale yellow tinged with hyacinth blue, are so natural looking you want to smell them. The trailing rose vine with its felt buds and blossoms can be worn as you wish, around the neck or wrist, or over the head, party style.
Nature at its Best
Pressed paper is the medium favoured by Ana Hagopian from Barcelona. Ana's vibrant necklaces are crafted from a mixture of pressed paper and brightly coloured gauze in striking colours of lime green or fire engine red, and resemble water lilies floating on a pond. Ana says, "Since I was a little kid I liked to cut all types of materials with my favourite red scissors, and to play in the forest taking home all kind of leaves, seeds and stones as treasures. I'm still fascinated how nature makes incredible shapes and colours that people can never create as perfectly. I believe we should never stop playing and that's what I keep doing in life."
It's All in the Mix
Henriette and Martin Tomasi are a design duo from Munich, well known for their fine silver wire mesh brooches that use a special technique they developed for 'felting' metals such as gold, silver and steel. They create sumptuous, fanciful rings and bracelets from plush velvet, some in shades of soft lilac, grass green and pale yellow, using precious stones like tourmaline and peridot, and their trademark 'felted' silver mesh. The results are jewellery creations which are airy, but with a surprising stability and elasticity. Tomasi say, "The light shining through the treetops in a forest captured us during a walk. We were surrounded by a roof of leaves which appeared like a net. Space and foliage, light and shadow, life and transience seemed to form one simple, transparent entity. This was an impression of 'fascinating silence', a moment which lets one forget time, a moment in which we begin to dream. All this inspires us."
Watch This
For something completely different, and much more down to earth, Julie Arkell from London likes working with scraps of fabric, wool and paper that have been worn, torn, used and read. She says that such remnants - frayed, faded, stained or coming undone - have more meaning than an object perfectly put together. Other finds such as old buttons, discovered fastenings, hidden words and lost feelings are combined in her enigmatic 'dear friend' brooches. These are all given names, and made with cut-out faces from old magazines, the frames edged with sequins, rhinestones and beads. The straps on her 'tic toc' wristwatch bracelets are made from 1940s floral fabrics, with cut-out dress watch faces from old catalogues, and fasten with buttons. Julie says, "I use all the pieces I gather carefully. They live in my studio long before I use them in my work. In that way they become part of my life and I make up my own stories around them. I respond to the imperfection of things: something frayed, faded, stained or coming undone has more meaning for me than an object carefully put together." So, this stylish jewellery, with its combination of the familiar and the unexpected, goes to show you can make a statement without breaking the bank.

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. Email:info@kathlibbertjewellery.co.uk