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EXHIBITION : April 11, 2008 — June 28, 2008.

Beth Essex

11th April 2008 – 28th June 2008
Beths range of beautifully delicate jewellery combines textiles, porcelain and metal, influenced by her research into family heirlooms. Keepsakes are given special care by their owners and elicit a personal response from them; a selection of her own familys keepsakes has formed an influential part of her practice.

Integral to Beths work is the personal value she places on the traditional textiles skills that have been passed down to her from her mother. She is concerned about the attitudes and environmental impact of the throw away culture and has worked with ideas surrounding heirlooms and valuing what you own.

Beths ambition is to combine traditional skills with ideas concerning continuation into her jewellery pieces. The endearment people have towards jewellery, to embody sentiment, has allowed her to express thoughts about preciousness in her work. It is difficult to predict which items people will form attachments to as the meanings and value put on pieces are personal and begin only once the individual owns them. Beth aims to strike a tone with her work that others can relate to and trigger sentiments from their own history which might, by personal involvement, encourage that these piecse are kept.

Jewellery may be kept and passed down through many generations it is particularly interesting that important dates in peoples lives are often marked by a gift of jewellery; birthdays, weddings and anniversaries are occasions when a piece is bought to last.

Beths own interest in jewellery is that it fascinates her as a potential vehicle to express identity. Throughout history, cultures have used jewellery to symbolise status, wealth or standing within the community and as a marker for belonging.

Since graduating, Beth has shown at New Designers at The Business Design Centre, London, in a Graduate Exhibition at The Hub, Sleaford, Lincolnshire and with Lancashire Arts and Crafts Initiative (LACI) at The Platform Gallery, Clitheroe in Lancashire. She was also commissioned to produce a selction of gold and silver buttons for textile artist Makeba Lewis shown at The Crafts Arts Centre, Farnham in Surrey

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