11th Nov - 27th Jan 2008

'The Chicken with the Golden Egg' - brooch in silver and 18ct gold
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About Us

Christine Kaltoft

For years I was a wearer, rather than a maker, of contemporary jewellery. In a high powered and frequently challenging job, my jewellery allowed me to hang on to a part of myself that was not always evident amidst the corporate cut and thrust. It symbolised the value I placed on individuality, hand-crafting, and the expression of creativity: a softer side of me.
Now, in my new career as a designer maker, I find myself again using jewellery to capture and display a part of me that I can lose touch with. This collection reflects the playfulness that comes out when I’m with my pet chickens. I based it primarily on a series of quick sketches of birds strutting, pecking, flapping and preening. My aim was to respond to their movement, lightness, volume, and essential birdiness.
Some of the pieces have also been inspired by my experiences of volunteering with the Battery Hen Welfare Trust, and re-homing ‘spent’ battery hens to new free-range lives. Seeing the mass of scared factory hens in crates, and gradually lifting each one out has left a big impression on me: they’re such spirited, curious individuals. I love the process of enabling them to carry out normal chickeny behaviours for the first time – like scratching and pecking grass.
This prize-winning bird-inspired collection, originally produced for my graduation show, was at that stage just brooches. I am now extending the range to include earrings and neckpieces, and am offering it for sale for the first time this autumn.
My jewellery is light in weight, and features graphic lines and handmade (often integrated) clasps and findings. I have used both precious and non-precious metal wire. Some pieces include wood – a reflection on a research visit to see decoy duck carvers at work. All pieces are handmade and either completely unique or limited editions. I have used a variety of techniques ranging from crochet to laser welding.

Biographical Details

Artists taking part in 'Refresh' are: Min-Ji Cho, Christine Kaltoft, Helga Mogensen, Momoko Kumai, Anna Deacon, Sian Anwyl Williams, Antonella Giomarelli, Jenny Llewellyn, Iris De La Torre.
Artists taking part in 'Collectable 4 Christmas' are Bettina Speckner, Germany; Poppy Dandiya, India/UK; Marianne Anderson, Scotland; Xavier Ines Monclus, Spain.