Rust, Dust & Belly Button Fluff

Ten New Graduates Finding Beauty in Hidden Places

17th Nov - 29th Jan 2012

Findings Review of 'Traces'

Findings, Spring 2012
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About Us

Spring, 2012

Ten New Graduates Finding Beauty in Hidden Places
Kath Libbert Jewellery, Salts Mill,
17 November 2011 - 20 January 2012

Reviewed by Jessica Briggs

Kath Libbert's annual Graduates' exhibition is born out of 'New Designers' where work which can intrigue, excite and interest is sought: no mean feat, as
Kath has curated shows for the Gallery since 1996.
From an initial selection, a theme emerges and with careful additions and editing, a cohesive group is arrived at. This show's title is enticing, referring specifically to some whilst encompassing all and the resultant work offers collections
of both quiet reflection and extrovert exuberance.
Work is arranged around the gallery with Samantha Hesford's big, bright neckpieces opposite the entrance. With strong visual impact, these pieces have a cat-walk scale and presence, providing welcome contrast to more constrained pieces.
There is a quiet understatement to Nicola Roberson's brooches, beautifully finished in matt enamel. The considered whole of the brooch is extended beyond it: each piece is sold boxed with the photo from which the design is drawn.
This commercial consideration is differently evident in several makers with some welcoming commissions for personal pieces and others developing strong, sale-able ranges of jewellery. Students, now more able to value their time and skill, have a stronger commercial sense than in the past and this is welcome providing it is not at the cost of creativity.
There are no such fears with Kerry Howley. Working with discarded human hair, Kerry wishes to play with notions of attraction and aversion, and does so very successfully. Already in receipt of an Award and an advertising commission, this maker is one to watch.
Dealing with a familiar subject matter, Nicola Mather's well-conceived jewellery range is inspired by seed heads and dandelion clocks. Her interpretation of such delicate forms through the use of laser-welded steel, gives an unexpected sttength without sacrificing lightness and apparent vulnerability.
Close study of Michelle Oh's contemplative collection reveals subtle textures and intimate alliances. My only disappointment here was that the pieces containing lint balls weren't actually made from belly button fluff!
Mirjana Smith's 'teapots' are the only non-jewellery items selected, but with their provenance of rusty tins and forgotten pots, these ingeniously constructed characters clearly fit within the exhibition's criteria. Each piece, fondly and appropriately named, is capable of putting a smile on anyone's face.
They are the last thing you see as you leave the Gallery. Kath Libbert Jewellery, tucked away within the magnificence of Salts Mill, not only gives new graduates an opportunity for wider recognition and sales, but Kath also eloquently promotes the makers and their work. Always keen for visitors to have a broader understanding of content and context, they are engaged in conversation as Kath enthuses her advocacy of contemporary jewellery. Long may she continue.

Picture: Kerry Howley. Neckpiece. Hair.

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.