11th Nov - 27th Jan 2008

Findings, March 2008
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FINDINGS - The Association for Contemporary Jewellery's quarterly newsletter.
March 2008

Refresh and Collectable
4 Christmas
Reviewed by Carrie-Ann Black

Paint yourself this picture. It's January, the festive season has ended, you're feeling the repercussions of your over-indulgence, and the dark cold days are doing nothing to feed the creative soul. What could be a more perfect tonic than visiting the KLJ gallery to view two exhibitions showcasing talented jewellers both at the beginning of their career - the nine graduates in 'Refresh' - and four established and renowned designer makers who comprise the 'Collectable 4 Christmas' exhibition.

Walking into the gallery space was visual delight; I wasn't sure where to start exploring. Work wasn't just displayed in the obligatory jewellery cabinet, there were installations on the walls, suspended on wires and submerged underwater. I felt like a child in a sweet shop.
Refresh was really just that, an exhilarating selection of work from new jewellery talent originating from around the world and selected by Kath herself from New Designers in London last summer.

Momoko Kumai's work held resonance with me; her designs seem effortlessly simple and beautiful, but the technical ability is awe-inspiring. The range is split into three sub-collections: permanence - working in gold alloys Kumai made herself; semi permanence - combining permanent and impermanent materials; and, impermanence - using tissue paper and washi (Japanese paper). The permanence series, inspired quite simply by stacks of copy paper and the repetitive shapes created by these bundles was stunning - both a technical and aesthetic feat. The overlapping shapes and subtle change in alloys were mesmerising.

I was instinctively drawn to Christine Kaltoft's playful work, with its graphic lines and irregular wire shapes. I was fascinated to find out that her own pet chickens underpinned these designs! The collection reflects Kaltoft's observations of their movements and interactions, down to the patterns their beaks leave in dust.

Juxtaposed with Refresh was Collectable 4 Christmas - Bettina Speckner, Marianne Anderson, Xavier Ines Monclus and Poppy Dandiya, four internationally respected jewellers, created a compact yet highly desirable exhibition.

I was delighted to see Bettina Speckner's work, having previously only seen photographs of it and being fascinated by her photo-etching techniques. Her combination of precious metals and stones with photographs is both captivating and haunting. Xavier Ines Monclus' colourful work never fails to make me smile; his charming and idiosyncratic brooches create surreal and wonderful worlds that evoke the inner child in you.

Kath Libbert's choice of these designer-makers provoked a sense of immediate gravitas, in what is undoubtedly a highly collectable and diverse exhibition.

I came away from Salt's Mill jubilant, seeing such imaginative and innovative work in such thoughtful exhibitions was invigorating and filled me with excitement at the prospect of just what else would be in store for the world of contemporary jewellery in 2008?

Picture: Christine Kaltoft, Brooch, Chicken with a Golden Egg, 2007. Silver, 18ct.

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