An International Art Jewellery Exhibition Inspired by Nature
11th July - 29th Sept 2013

Culture Vulture Review of Natural Histrionics

Culture Vulture: On Our Radar: Natural Histrionics at Salts Mill
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About Us

Friday July 8th, 2011
Nathalie Blonder takes a trip to Saltaire for some Natural Histrionics

When I heard about the Natural Histrionics exhibition taking place at Salts Mill, I wasn’t sure what to expect. The first word of the title definitely implies a nature theme – either use of such materials or based around natural formations. On the other hand, the ‘histrionics’ element led me to believe that it was orientated around futuristic technology … then I opened the dictionary and found out that the word actually means ‘Excessively dramatic or emotional’. The collection as curator Kath Libbert described it is ‘Jewellery designed with traditional materials but used in untraditional ways’, and she wasn’t kidding.

I visited the gallery on the evening of its opening and initially highly underestimated the collection due to the humble handful of display cabinets on display. However, as I was lucky enough to interview the brains behind the operation I was astonished to hear about the sheer depth of story behind each individual piece and the contributors that brought them to life. In March of this year, Kath attended a jewellery convention in Munich where she was positively overwhelmed by the amount of beauty and original design she found herself immersed in. It was there that she got the idea to put together the Natural Histrionics exhibition based on a number of jewellers’ unique outlook on nature.
For example, the first designer’s work that I got to see was that of Anja Eichler whose collection of pieces formed using quail eggs and precious metals is charming. With these earrings, brooches, and necklaces made from a medium of such fragility, she reflects the human condition by showing that despite falling and cracking under pressure, we as people are able to rise up again, stronger and more beautiful.

Italian concept artist Konrad Laimer did not have any message in mind when he made his collection out of goat horn and Chamoir. A man living in the Alps, he felt inspired to use the materials he found around him and form them into a collection of his own interpretation. What I love about Laimer’s collection is the splash of colour he features in each of his pieces, along with a silver finish – the combination of these elements perfectly embodies elegance and refinement.

Another favourite of mine was the work of Dutch genius, Nel Linssen, who has produced art that pushes the boundaries of the imagination by combining two things only: mathematics and plastic-reinforced paper. In the hands of the wearer, necklaces become fluid and snake-like, embodying natural formations found amongst fauna and flora. When viewed close up it is impossible to distinguish the intricacy, each tiny fold in harmony with its neighbour. I suppose it could be described as origami 2.0.

Natural Histrionics is part of Kath Libbert’s Jewellery Gallery and can be found on the second floor of Salts Mill, through the vast bookshop and adjacent to the Diner. It will be running until the 29th of September and I highly recommend it to anyone who considers themselves a fan of the weird and wonderful. One of the best parts of this exhibition is the ‘stage’ in the corner where visitors are encouraged to try on the various pieces on display and have their picture taken. As well as this, all are given the opportunity to become part of the exhibition itself by starring in a short film, donning some finery and saying what you like about it. All the films are then compiled and displayed on the monitor within the gallery, adding just that little bit more life to the already animated collection.
For more information and access to Kath Libbert’s online catalogue, check out

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.