11th Nov - 27th Jan 2008
REFRESH
NINE NEW GRADUATES



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DIGYORKSHIRE

NOV 2007

REVIEW: JEWEL PURPOSE
Our limited perceptions of jewellery tend to be based upon expense, the wearer or how a piece of jewellery is worn: an understated but necessarily expensive diamond ring demurely worn on a slight, satin-gloved finger, is, for instance, generally recognised as a sure sign of old-fashioned ‘klass’ (as Sinatra-types say), whilst a whacking great, loose excess of urine-hued gold flapping from a fat, dart-throwing wrist is seen, on the other hand, to belie a wearer’s inherent lack of taste.
There can be more to jewellery than that, though, and a jeweller can be more than simply than a skilful craftsperson.

Refresh at Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery is a fun-filled, internationally-flavoured exhibition of 9 graduates from UK universities whose work can easily be seen as art in itself; individual work that might just have a real story behind it.

‘Hiraethu’, a longing for the Welsh farm on which she so happily grew up, is one basis for Sian Anwyl Williams’s jewellery, but so, too, are the imagined experiences and lives of those that went before her; something seen most clearly in her ‘Sheep Spoons’, where she has taken the ear-markings from a sheep-husbandry book left behind by the previous farmer to create specific, representative indents in spoons crafted in ancient techniques from precious metals.

Similarly moved by farmyard life, but of a different sort, Christine Kaltoft is the former head of a national charity whom now spends her life creating jewellery based on the lives of the non-laying hens saved from battery farms with whom she shares her home.

On a rather different level, Antonella Giomarelli’s witty work is inspired by her time spent in a tedious office job with a certain Yorkshire city council. Binding tape used to secure boxes of office paper is recreated as striking silver bracelets oxidised black, discarded knots of string become whitened silver brooches and a stylish necklace is shaped to correspond to the sticky coffee stain that you’ve just put your elbow in whilst reading this.

What else? Well, childhood holidays are symbolised in Finland’s Helga Morgensen, Yorkshire lass Jenny Llewellyn’s underwater organisms glow in the dark (check out her funky necklace displayed underwater in the gallery), Iris De la Torre’s magnetically detachable pieces are colourfully bold and versatile, whilst Anna Deacon’s hefty Pippi Longstocking- inspired bejewelled textile skull and crossbones neck-wear are great fun.

The 2 real stars of the show, though, are Momoko Kumai and Min-Ji-Cho.

South Korean Min-Ji Cho’s jewellery made mainly from – wait for it – rubber gloves, is the talk of the town, so to speak, and needs to be touched, not just seen, to be believed; there are mirrors, specially designed by the artist, to hang them on, too.

Momoko Kumai discovered her style of work whilst folding bus tickets and her skilfully crafted ‘permanent’ fine gold and silver rings are displayed on folded towers of paper by the gallery to hint at this, but Kumai is more resourceful yet, creating beautiful semi-permanent and non-wearable necklaces out of, respectably, the Japanese tissue-like washi and tissue itself.

All things considered, the jewellery at Refresh is, Kumai’s perishable necklace aside, wearable art, and art that’s a damn sight easier to wear than a framed Bacon triptych or carry around than The Zeus of Artemisium.

Rory ffoulkes

Visit Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery especially, not just as part of a general visit to Salts Mill, and maybe make a loved one very happy this Christmas with a purchase on the Arts Council’s Own Art scheme, which allows you to take away a piece of jewellery on the day and pay for it interest-free over a whole year

Refresh at Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery , Saltaire 22 November / 27 January 2008

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