While the price of chicken has gone up, it is not quite the same as gold – yet. However, at the Collectable and Curiosities exhibition at Craft NI Gallery eighteen contemporary jewellers from around the globe have been contemplating a wide range of different narratives that relate to their individual cultures. Among its gems is a gold-plated chicken leg with a custom-printed chicken box.

It is made by UK-based Annie Ricketts who says her piece plays on where and why we place value.

 

She asks: "Does it have worth because it is beautifully made from precious metals, or will it always be associated with the cheap consumable it is based on?"

The work of Australian Gerhard Herbst is inspired by "the line that our lives take, the choices we make, moving and flowing from one choice to the next". The result is a beautiful bangle and collar. 

'Does it have worth because it is beautifully made from precious metals, or will it always be associated with cheap consumable it is based on?'

The exhibition has been organised by the Northern Ireland branch of the Association for Contemporary Jewellery and when viewing it I was reminded that no matter what artistic niche that exists, the North of Ireland usually has a number of dedicated people with that speciality locally.

Anne Earls Boylan displays a number of pieces including a formed necklace that simply reminds me of crab's claws and lobster toes. Anne speaks of a bridge between imagined and fixed worlds, and this can literally be seen in her work. Ana Nadjar from Chile calls her pieces 'poetic toys' and often uses found objects.

Every piece selected for the exhibition tells a story. It took me a while to get my head around 'Lily Castrators' by Rosie Deegan, but eventually made sense. Other work comes from Ireland, Romania, Brazil, Spain, Hungry, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Czech Republic and America.

The exhibition is a delight for anyone with an obsession with jewellery and all the oddities that can surround it. Collectables and Curiosities continues at the Craft NI gallery 115-119 Royal Avenue until December 30th, open retail hours. 

 Thursday, December 1 is late night art when most galleries are open late in the city.  If you want to join the fun but are not sure where to go, find one gallery and ask from there.