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Not Too Precious

Ruthin Craft Centre looks at jewellery and preciousness

Jewellery and its relationship to material value is the focus for Ruthin Craft Centre’s new group show, Not Too Precious. The 1960s and 1970s were a battleground in the discipline, with new thinking on what materials could be used within jewellery. Now, though, Gregory Parsons, curator of Not Too Precious, points to a recent regression to conservative thinking since the start of the current economic crisis seeing a “visibly growing divide between ‘high end’ jewellery in precious metals and what might be termed ‘intellectually significant jewellery’” jewellery’.

The show, wants to bridge this gap with practitioners using a broad range of material from Zoe Robertson’s flocked plastic to Eunmi Chun’s creations in cow’s intestine and human hair. As Parsons explains, his aim is to ‘re-focus attention on talented jewellers using materials for their expressive potential rather than for either their intrinsic value or as pure ‘art’; it takes the view that jewellery is to be worn. The wide-ranging international work selected here is meaningful, insightful, culturally resonant and exceptionally skilful, both technically and aesthetically, and it is wearable. At the same time it is, above all, honest and - for want of a better term - not too ‘precious’.

Not Too Precious is at Ruthin Craft Centre until 20 September


Brooch Holy Land, Christel van der Laan, 2012