A Fantastical Array of Art Jewellery Selected From Around the Globe
12th July - 30th Sept 2012
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Celebrating Sixteen Years at Salts Mill

Findings Autumn 2012 Review of 'Flourish'

Findings (Autumn 2012) Review of 'Flourish'
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The Magazine of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery
Issue 55 Autumn 2012

Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery, Saltaire, 12 July - 30 September 2012
Reviewed by Elizabeth Moignard

Naughty in a (not very) quiet way! My initial thought after seeing these linked exhibitions, and thinking about their success in epitomising the flavour of Kath Libbert's gallery and its sixteen year history and influence on contemporary jewellery; congratulations are due. The gallery is, as those of you who have visited know, something of a one-ofFin itself: a very partially-defined, even permeable space, with both stock and exhibition material in glass tower cases which allow a 3-D wandering viewing; more stuff on the walls.

'Flourish' commissioned nine international makers with varied practices and backgrounds to submit a collection which responded to the exhibition title, in media and forms of their choice. The makers were obviously selected with awareness of their interests and preferred materials, but the rest was clearly their call. So the cases were full of extraordinary objects, colour, shapes, and noise. Some of them proved to have an unexpected wearability: Seulgi Kwon's inflated silicone organisms looked joyously weird in the case, and proved, when worn, to sit in the body-curves and respond excitingly to clothing and skin colours. Francisca Bauza's weighty enamelled floral pieces demanded attention because of their size and subtly migrating colours: pictures to wear, especially those in blues and purples.

'Flourish' evidently implied not only colour and form, but also reflections of organic life and energy Akiko Kurihara contributed a panel of vine-leaf brooches, each cut individually from the wall of a wine bottle; the collection showed an extraordinary range of subtle transparent greens and browns, enhanced by the curvature of the glass. Nina Sajet's subtle porcelain sculptures made neckpieces from fish forms, sprouts, and a prodigious circle of cabbages. Marta Mattsson's display gave us electroformed bugs, dominated by a glittering and delicate moth. Mari Iwamoto showed us painted acrylic three-dimensional jigsaws, with delicate textile-like surfaces; her pendent earrings were particularly successful, light and moving gently with the wearer. Her second group of objects were vegetable forms constructed by winding thread on a later-removed fimo core. Yu Ping Lin's origami-inspired fabric structures could be worn as brooches or bangles, and turned inside out to display a series of three-dimensional filigree shapes.

Two further makers might have proved much more sober, but they both used colour and abstract shapes as exuberantly as their fellow-exhibitors. Reka Fekete's interest in dilapidated architecture (and tick-tacky boxes) produced a group of articulated pieces with rectangles of flat colour which the wearer could move and fix to suit themselves. Katja Schlegel's sophisticated use of red, black and silver in very simple ovals and drops spoke eloquently with a bold minimalist voice.

At the same time, a group of makers were asked to contribute to the birthday celebration by offering a single characteristic 'Flourishing'. 101 rings would be voted on by members of the public, who were photographed wearing the piece of choice, and their comments exhibited on the leaves of a swirling tree painted on the end wall of the gallery space; it was filling up when I saw it, and the project stands very clearly as an indicator of Kath Libbert's gallery's importance as an accessible disseminator and encourager of contemporary work, both the relatively conventional and the exploratory and innovative. Long may it continue to Flourish.

Pictures: Seulgi Kwon. Candy Bar brooch, 2012, silicone.
The Flourish Tree, with photographs of visitors and their chosen rings.

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