20th July - 30th Sept 2007
'Wood You?'
Exciting new showcase of thirteen internationally
renowned jewellery artists working in wood.

'She Who Hesitates' brooch in maple, gouache, lacquer, wax, nickel, magnet
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About Us

Wood You?

The qualities of wood have been both admired and exploited by humans over millions of years -whether for its strength and durability when used for shelter or defences, as a source of fuel, or as a versatile material to be fashioned into furniture, vessels and vehicles.

Wood You? is the latest exhibition at Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery, Salts Mill, Saltaire and it showcases all kinds of wood – in all their glory: from polished maple to curly hazel; featherweight balsa wood and cork to the ‘heavy weight’ oak; and evocative rosemary wood to picked up pieces of drift wood.

Thirteen of the most talented contemporary artists from around the world will display their jewellery crafted from wood, whether through carving, sculpting, bending – even burning - or simply in the natural state in which it was discovered. And whilst wood may not be the most obvious choice of material for creating jewellery, the diversity and beauty of the pieces are testament not only to the artists’ skills and their sensitivities to the wood they choose to use, but also to the versatility and responsiveness of the material itself.

Dutch jeweller and artist Beppe Kessler creates beautiful necklaces and brooches from burnt balsa wood that is ‘caught’ in stitches and embroidery and studded with pearls and crystals; for her working with wood is an opportunity to use a material that is “less burdened with traditions of jewellery – the material seduces and asks questions …”

“Questioning and challenging our preconceived notions of what is precious”, Katy Hackney’s uncompromising choice of materials such as vintage formica, plywood, enamel paint and reclamation yard finds are skilfully combined in jewellery that appears uncomplicated and memorable yet relies on intricately challenging processes and skills. Continuing these themes, Ramon Puig Cuyàs, from Barcelona, is showing two collections of work, new pieces in carved cork and his colourful collage ‘Archipelagos’ brooches which are minute universes crafted from wood, glass, pebbles – he describes them as ‘symbolic charts’ encompassing memories, suggesting fragments of a travel sketchbook and reflecting his view of the artist as an explorer.

For Mette Jensen from Denmark, working with wood enables her to explore the myriad of “possibilities the material holds…some are good for carving, others for burning, others for bending…the list just goes on and on.” She currently focuses on bending beech into elegant sculptural bangles and neckpieces, whilst Julia Harrison, USA, and Ulrich Reithofer, Austria, work their wood through carving and colouring to wonderful effect. Harrison finds wood, “to be convincingly fleshy, smooth and slightly warm, her figurative brooches featuring the human form are inspired by “…a child’s pout, a furrowed brow, a flash of cleavage, a clenched fist …” and are testament to the fact that wood, “like our bodies, can be bruised or marred by experience.”

Terhi Tolvanen, Finland, presents her ‘Woodland’ collection, which portrays new life springing from cut branches and shards of wood. For her the fungi and flora are the 'jewellery of the forest', incorporated as jewels in her wondrous brooches.

Kath Libbert talks about why wood?, 'I've run a gallery for ten years now, exclusively dedicated to exhibiting and selling contemporary jewellery. The UK market for buying and collecting art jewellery is growing and buyers are becoming more and more adventurous. I had seen a few pieces by some of the artists made in wood and was struck by their beauty and sensitivity. Orchestrating this group show has been a fascinating process I'd really like more people to see the amazing sculptural work from this group of artists'

For lovers of contemporary jewellery and the visual arts, Wood You? is a must visit exhibition. The work ranges from graphic and architectural to decorative and finely crafted, offering something for all tastes. All the artists taking part in Wood You? are internationally renowned and many have work in museum and private collections. Prices range from £90 - £1,600.00.

Accompanying the exhibition on 11 September will be a special event for collectors and curators with an introduction by Joanna Hardy, Director of Jewellery at Sotheby's and a talk by exhibiting artist Beppe Kessler.

‘Wood You? runs from 20th July to 30th September 2007. Salts Mill is open weekdays from10am – 5.30pm and weekends 10am – 6pm. For further information call 01274 599790.

Artists taking part in 'Wood You?' are: Stephanie Jendis, Germany; Mette Jensen, Denmark; Marianne Schliwinski, Germany; Katy Hackney, UK; Ulrich Reithofer, Austria; Julia Harrison, USA; Yu-Chun Chen, Taiwan; Ramon Puig Cuyas, Spain; Grace Girvan, UK; Terhi Tolvanen, Finland; Beppe Kessler, Holland; Marie Uhlirova, Czech Republic; Marielle Ledoux, Uruguay.