Saltaire Village, World Heritage Site
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Added to website: 17 November 2010
Exhibition: Cool Construct – New Kids on the Block
at Kath Libbert Jewellery, Salts Mill

Until the 30th January 2011

Kath Libbert Jewellery of Saltaire presents a new British graduate exhibition Cool Construct - New Kids On The Block, inspired by all things urban and architectural. There will be some amazing pieces in the exhibition - skyscraper rings, graffiti inspired brooches, and oversized geometric diamond necklaces! And as all the jewellers are recent graduates, there's lots of exciting new talent. Portraying a world of angularity and sharp thematic and textural contrasts, Cool Construct – New Kids on the Block is an exhibition of streetwise contemporary jewellery with attitude.

The Exhibition:
Inspired by urban chic, Cool Construct takes the work of eight emerging jewellery artists, all recent graduates who have created intelligent, dramatic and exciting designs that reflect strong technical and artistic ability.

The jewellery for this exhibition has been chosen by curator Kath Libbert who selected the eight artists from hundreds of jewellery graduates.

‘I always look for individuality and a fresh approach.’ Says Kath. ‘Cool Construct showcases the work of a selection of very talented jewellers who have been inspired by architecture, the urban environment and geometric forms and who have responded innovatively.’

The Cool Construct Kids:

Using the structure of the diamond as inspiration, Myia Bonner (Grad 2010 Middlesex University) creates hard angled outsized statement pieces in gold and silver. She says ‘My jewellery challenges scale, common associations, preconceptions and traditions given to the infamous stone.’ A new way to wear a diamond: bold, brash and iconographic.

Image: Myia Bonner's large diamond ring and pendants. [Mouse over to enlarge]

David Finlay (Grad 2010 Glasgow School of Art) takes inspiration from the architecture of Glasgow and structural engineering. Using silver, gold, steel and precious stones, he creates elegantly austere geometric constructions with the understated addition of gems to ornament the human body.

The Cool Construct Kids Continued:
In contrast, Heather McDermott (Grad 2010 Edinburgh College of Art) fuses influences from the rugged coastal surroundings of her home in the Isle of Skye with the angular forms of urban landscapes. Building up layers of enamel on geometrically shaped silver wire, Heather creates colour-infused pieces reminiscent of treasures washed up on the shore.

Debra Townend (Grad 2010 University of Hertfordshire) uses the diversity and state of change found in cities to inform her work. Drawing inspiration from run down areas such as Spitalfields and Brick Lane in London, Debra explores cultural and social diversity in her jewellery. Looking at the marks – detritus and graffiti - that people have left behind and responding to them by combining everyday materials with precious ones, she creates pieces that suggest the colours and textures of the urban landscape.

Playful and ambiguous, Janine Preece’s (Grad 2010 Swansea Metropolitan University) elegantly laser cut neckpieces are created in brightly coloured layered polyester and call to mind historic dress, opulent interiors and ornate architecture.

Eleanor Bolton (Grad 2010 Royal College of Art) uses rope to form carefully coiled constructions that are incredibly precise, unexpectedly light and singularly beautiful. Coiling and stitching cotton rope, she explores the idea of skilled action as a narrative quality. She says, ‘Through working intuitively, the material provides the information and inspiration for the growing forms that seem to evolve rather than be made.’

Image: Eleanor Bolton's rope knot necklace. [Mouse over to enlarge]

Fiona West’s (Grad 2010 Buckinghamshire New University) bright and funky jewellery is inspired by contemporary Japanese architecture. The geometric shapes of her Skyscraper rings tower dramatically above the hand and have simplicity of line. Fiona also incorporates concrete and wood into her work, often combining these with precious metals to create geometric pieces.

Charlotte Valkeniers (Grad 2010, Buckinghamshire New University) uses biological structure, the splitting and multiplying of cells – the building blocks of life, as inspiration for a collection of jewellery that takes the idea of Cool Construct to another level. Using hand blown glass as her medium and her metaphor, Charlotte responds to the fragility and preciousness of conception and early life, making delicate, detailed, fascinating pieces of jewellery.

Also: Black & Bling

Alongside Cool Construct  there’s a dash of dramatic glamour with Black & Bling a sparkling Christmas showcase featuring four distinguished jewellers.

David McCaul, a master goldsmith, and multiple award winner for his highly original and exquisite rings, which transcend the traditional format, sensuously caressing and complementing the contours of the hand and fingers with sweeping curves, accentuated with tiny pave set sparkling diamonds and rubies in a way that is pure 'Sex in the City'!

Polly Wales, presents giant glitzy cocktail rings, each utterly unique with gems scattered throughout, often part exposed and part buried like archaeological treasures, or geodes split open.
The dark side features Jacqueline Cullen, the only contemporary jeweller working with Whitby jet. She carves this ancient material into dramatic rings, neckpieces and bracelets studded with black Swarovski crystals or beads of yellow gold set into the natural fissures. By incorporating the jet’s inherent flaws into her designs, Jacqueline celebrates the raw beauty of this intriguing material. Her jewellery can be seen worn by the evil character Narcissa in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince and also more recently adorning Deborah Meaden from The Dragon’s Den.

Also on the dark side is Teri Howes who takes her inspiration from a love of fashion, textiles, pattern and geometry. Her mother was a dressmaker and Teri was always around rich patterned fabric, thread reels, buttons, sewing and knitting paraphernalia. Her ‘Couture” crochet collections draw directly from these textile influences - literally knitting with fine wires of 18ct yellow gold and heavily oxidised silver with the addition of glinting black diamonds. The individually repeated stitches become both the delicately intricate structure and the sumptuously glamorous embellishment. This is a ‘low-tech’ production method, a gentle, quiet rebellion against today’s culture of ‘instant everything’.

The Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery
Since 1996 this leading contemporary jewellery gallery has been set within Salts Mill, home to the world's largest collection of work by David Hockney. Open daily, it specializes solely in contemporary jewellery, silver and metal smithing showcasing diverse collections by over seventy renowned designers and emerging talents from Britain and abroad.
Much of the work on show pushes and blurs the boundaries between art, jewellery design and fashion resulting in jewellery that is, perhaps, best described as wearable art. Pieces are often created using a surprising range of materials and techniques.
The gallery organizes a  number of  major exhibitions each year, some of which have been supported by funding from Arts Council England and the Crafts Council in recognition of the important role they play in showcasing the very best of British and international talent in Yorkshire and the UK. KLJ is also well known for its popular Annual Alternative Wedding Show, now in its 10th year.

The gallery is pleased to offer OwnArt, an Interest Free Loan Scheme set up by Arts Council England which enables people to purchase contemporary art/jewellery and pay for it over 10 months.

Salts Mill is a magnificent Victorian textile mill built by Sir Titus Salt in the centre of Saltaire, the 'model village' he built to house his mill workers. Saltaire, which is surrounded by stunning scenery, was awarded World Heritage Status in 2001. Salts Mill was restored some 20 years ago to show the world's largest collection of works by the artist David Hockney - born in nearby Bradford. Along with Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery, the Mill is also home to Salts Diner and a number of other designer shops and galleries.  

Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery
Salts Mill, Saltaire, Bradford BD18 3LA

Tel/Fax 01274 599790
Open Monday to Friday 10am – 5.30pm. Weekends 10am – 6pm. Email:

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