8th November - 31st January 2002

Findings, January 2002 review of Schmuck

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FINDINGS - The Association for Contemporary Jewellery's quarterly newsletter.
January 2002

Schmuck - Five Jewellers from Germany
Kath Libbert Jewellery,
Salts Mill, Saltaire,
8 November-31 January 2002
For those of you who don't venture much into 'the provinces' I can strongly recommend the trip to Salts Mill in Saltaire near Shipley in Yorkshire. This magnificent building was the vast mill set up by the Victorian entrepreneur and philanthropist Titus Salt. It now houses exhibitions of the region's most famous son, David Hockney, and a variety of other businesses, including Kath Libbert's Jewellery Gallery.
'Schmuck' is presented alongside the 'shop' part of the gallery space and is easily distinct from it, allowing the work of the German jewellers to be seen as a group show in its own right. Readers may remember a trailer for this exhibition in the last Findings, illustrated by an image of the 'Gordian Knot' rings by Barbara Schmidt. Her work is also available in plastic postcards, pre-cut and ready to pop out so that the lucky recipient can fold up their own Gordian ring. These clever structures are rather pleasing and look like a fun idea, particularly in plastic. Her other pieces did less for me as this theme was not expanded. There were necklaces of long gently folded rectangular units with a motif of regular saw-cuts across the fold, and brooches in slightly twisted versions of the same units, attractive but not as funky as the rings.
Ursula Hoffman comes from a textiles background and her prime area of interest must be colour since it is the most obvious feature in her work. Necklaces of small pompoms and matching clip earrings, a necklace of beaded spheres in contrasting tones, and collars of frayed dyed silk using a bright cheerful palette. At first glance this is a bit like Angela O'Kelly's work, but softer and possibly lighter (I often want to handle other people's work but at an exhibition one has to settle for touching only with the eyes). Symbolism as a theme cropped up in the work of two of the exhibitors: Vitalis Kubach who had some minimal and understated pieces in metal but was at her strongest with her 'Seelensteine', soul-stones worn on a simple cable. These were pebbles from the banks of the Rhine, cut open, hollowed out and lined with gold leaf. The combination of materials and simple forms created a pleasing totality, hence the name. Martina Lang in contrast used sensual cushion forms that suggested the physical rather than the spiritual. The two tone pendants and large rings although bold didn't look as interesting as the carved amber encased in a gold or iron frame. This amber is opaque and buttery and looks quite edible, contrasting well with the fine square wire.
Out of the five exhibitors my favourite was Anna Gluck whose pieces were very simple hollow shapes with either a silver or gilt finish. These geometric forms are strung on steel cable and can be worn individually or combined, not a new idea but beautifully presented as a well thought out range of work. Altogether an enterprising exhibition.
Frances Julie Whitelaw

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