Not Too Precious, an exhibition of work by international artist-jewellers, National Craft Gallery

Posted 06.01.16

Not Too Precious, an exhibition of work by international artist-jewellers, National Craft Gallery

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Not Too Precious, an exhibition of work by international artist-jewellers, will open at the National Craft Gallery

Not Too Precious which opens at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny on Friday 22nd January 2016, explores inspirational work by 28 international jewellers using materials known for their expressive potential, rather than their material value.

Co-curated by Dr. Elizabeth Goring, formerly of National Museums Scotland, and independent curator, Gregory Parsons, it celebrates current work by artist-jewellers using non-precious materials.

Radical artist-jewellers of the late 1960s and 70s vigorously rejected the idea that jewellery should be considered ‘precious’, simply because of the materials of which it was made. Today, the use of a huge variety of materials in jewellery is far more accepted, but economic pressures are putting that freedom of artistic expression at potential risk as people revert to traditionally ‘valuable’ materials for ‘safety’. Not Too Precious challenges preconceptions about ‘non-precious’ materials by encouraging us to consider ‘accrued value': what talented makers bring to their work through their ideas and skill.

Not Too Precious was first shown at Ruthin Craft Centre, Wales in July 2015. The selected artists, who work in the UK, Europe, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, create innovative, skilfully-made jewellery that is insightful and culturally resonant. “Sometimes poignant, sometimes witty, sometimes breathtakingly beautiful, their work communicates at many levels,” said Dr. Elizabeth Goring. “It is, above all, honest and – for want of a better term – ‘not too precious’.”

As a special focus for the National Craft Gallery, Ireland, the curators have also selected three of the most exciting graduating Irish jewellers: Emma Cahill, Jaki Coffey and Genevieve Howard, to show alongside the core exhibition.

Gregory Parsons, who will visit Kilkenny for the official launch of the exhibition, commented: “Not Too Precious celebrates the endless possibilities presented by the natural and man-made materials that surround us. While some of the makers have used materials traditionally seen as ‘precious’, they have chosen them for their beauty, strength and durability, or to support other materials not generally considered ‘valuable’. It’s certainly an interesting time for us to consider ‘value’ in all senses of the word.”

The two curators’ selection of work challenges our assumptions and understanding of what ‘non-precious’ may mean today, making this a timely and inspirational exhibition; a must-see for all those with an interest in contemporary jewellery.

Not Too Precious – an international exhibition of contemporary jewellery in non-precious materials runs at the National Craft Gallery, Castle Yard, Kilkenny from Friday, 22nd January to Wednesday, 30th March. Admission is free. Tel: 056 7796 147

A publication on the exhibition is available from the National Craft Gallery. For further details, visit

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Aoife Smith / Tara Walsh / Sorcha Furlong

Download the full press release here.


Programme of Events

(BR) Booking required  {Telephone +353 56 7796151 or email: }
(F) Free
(€) Fee applies

Friday, 22 January at 6pm
Gregory Parsons in conversation with guests
Followed by official opening at 7pm by Tara Murphy, owner/gallery director Solomon Fine Art.

One Saturday each month, free but booking is essential.

Transform toy animals into jewellery. A workshop inspired by Felieke van der Leest’s amazing animal creations.
10.30am & 12noon: Suitable for 5+ years
2.30pm: Teen workshop

BOOK BADGES Sat 26 March
Jewellery workshop using books inspired by Flóra Vági’s work
10.30am & 12noon: Suitable for 5+ years
2.30pm: Teen workshop

See more details here.


Tues - Fri 10am & 12noon
Exhibition guided talk followed by hands-on design activity.

Tues 16 Feb, 6pm
Post Primary CPD workshop in print making with Caroline Ryan


Wed 17 Feb, Wed 16 March, 10.30am - 12.30pm
Explore drawing as a tool for developing creative ideas with jewellery designer/maker Inga Reed>
See more details here.

Fri 11 March, 10.30am - 4.30pm
Parade Tower, Kilkenny Castle.
See website for further details.

Sat 12 March, 10am -12.30pm and 2pm - 4.30pm
Workshops for jewellery designers and makers.
See website for further details.

Once per exhibition, the gallery opens late for an after-hours look at the current exhibition, accompanied by a glass of wine.
Film Screening: Advanced Style
Thurs 25 Feb, 8pm
Advanced Style examines the lives of seven unique New Yorkers whose eclectic personal style and vital spirit have guided their approach to aging.
See more details here.


Tues 8 March, 10.30am - 1pm and 6pm - 8.30pm
Creative Engagement with Caroline Schofield


Would you like to bring a group to view an exhibition at the National Craft Gallery?
We can accommodate groups from 5 to 25 people. No fee applies. Call us and we can tailor a tour to suit the needs of your visit.

Saturdays, 3pm,
Visitors are invited to book in for our informal afternoon tour.

Notes to Editors:

Designers and Makers Featured in Not Too Precious:

Attai Chen, Carina Shoshtary, Eunmi Chun, Warwick Freeman, Emmeline Hastings, Christel van der Laan, Felieke van der Leest, Sari Liimatta, Märta Mattsson, Jasmin Matzakow, Kazumi Nagano, Shinji Nakaba, Lina Peterson, Zoe Robertson, Michihiro Sato, Mariko Sumioka, Emiko Suo, Tore Svensson, Janna Syvänoja, Mirei Takeuchi, Timothy Information Limited, Terhi Tolvanen, Catherine Truman, Flóra Vági, Heather Woof, Emma Cahill, Jaki Coffey, Genevieve Howard.

About the National Craft Gallery:
Established by the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland in 2000, the National Craft Gallery is Ireland’s leading centre for contemporary craft and design. It exhibits Irish and international designers, artists and makers who push boundaries in their engagement with the making process. Its mission is to inspire appreciation, creativity and innovation and it plays a critical role in building understanding of craft and material culture in Ireland.

About the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland:
The Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (DCCoI), which is headquartered in Kilkenny, is the main champion of the craft and design industry in Ireland, fostering its growth and commercial strength, communicating its unique identity and stimulating quality design, innovation and competitiveness. DCCoI’s activities are funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation via Enterprise Ireland. DCCoI currently has over 70 member organisations and over 3,000 registered clients.


Image: ‘Beetlejuice’ brooch by Märta Mattsson, beetle, resin, silver, cubic zirconias

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