A Marriage Made in Yorkshire exhibition, Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery, Salts Mill
PUBLISHED: 12:57 20 March 2014
Four young Yorkshire jewellers show off their skills
Saltaire is one of Yorkshire’s most prized gems. It’s a World Heritage Site, recognised by UNESCO as an outstanding example of a mid-19th century industrial town. But it’s not a monument to things past; it’s a vibrant, working town with Salts Mill as its central cultural and retail hub.
And now this gem is set to become even more polished as a quartet of Yorkshire jewellers take centrestage in an exhibition celebrating alternative wedding pieces. A Marriage Made in Yorkshire at Kath Libbert Jewellery Gallery in Salts Mill is part of her annual Alternative Wedding Show, which takes a sideways glance at contemporary bridalwear.
This year the spotlight is on Bex Bardon from Elland, Sally Cox from Bingley, Emily Knight from Settle and Cathy Sutherland from Sheffield. All work at the gallery as part-time assistants but they also offer a wide range of distinctive skills and expertise as jewellers and silversmiths.
‘Although we always showcase work by renowned national and international jewellers, I felt it was high time to celebrate the superb talent that is under our noses,’ said Kath. ‘Namely my highly skilled and delightful staff.’
Bex has worked at the gallery for more than eight years and has created a special new collection for the exhibition using rough-cut rubies and black tourmalines which, though imperfect, have a special beauty that she finds ‘full of magic, alchemy, power and ancient spells’.
‘I wanted to create an exciting and unusual collection that incorporated beautiful stones with recycled silver and gold,’ she explained. ‘Gemstones have been used throughout history for their healing qualities; they have been worn as amulets and talismans and used in spiritual practices.’
Sally has been with Kath for three years after graduating from De Montfort University in Leicester with a first class degree. Though primarily a silversmith, she regularly undertakes a wide range of jewellery commissions.
Her silverware borrows classical elements and gives them a contemporary twist. Mixing everything from ironwork to origami, her work is driven by pure, elegant forms. For A Marriage Made in Yorkshire, she’s presenting a range of elegant silver bowls, spoons and folded boxes as potential wedding gifts.
Emily, the newest team member, offers a very different skill set. Inspired by a recent visit to the Masterpieces of Chinese Painting exhibition at the V&A in London, she has created a unique collection of enameled floral brooch wedding corsages embellished with 18ct yellow gold.
‘Colour, pattern and texture have always been important throughout my work,’ she said. ‘I was drawn to the simple yet elegant lines and shapes that Chinese painters developed to suggest organic forms.’
Cathy, who’s been with the gallery for two years, has crafted a delicate collection of silver and gold bridal jewellery inspired by the calla lily: ‘The curved, fluid shapes of my jewellery have been created through the traditional silversmithing techniques of chasing and repoussé. Repetitive rounds of hammering allow me to watch the forms gradually unfold in the metal, reflecting the movement of the body and patterns found in nature.
A Marriage Made in Yorkshire is being launched on Sunday April 13th. The four jewellers will be on hand from 1pm to share their ideas and answer questions and, at 3pm, each will make a presentation highlighting their distinct areas of expertise.
There will also be new collections of wedding and engagement rings, tiaras, cufflinks and bridesmaid jewellery by a wide range of renowned artists including Mirri Damer, who made a wedding ring for comedy actress Dawn French, and Malcolm Morris, who created the tiaras worn by Gwyneth Paltrow in her Oscar-winning role in Shakespeare in Love.