Kate Gilliland, not for the faint-hearted
As the saying goes, “seeing is believing”. That is the best way to describe the jewellery made by Kate Gilliland. Her work is not cute and dainty, but more on the unusual side of things.
Kate graduated in July 2010 from De Montfort University in Leicester where she studied a degree in Design Crafts and specialised in jewellery and metalwork. She moved back home to Birmingham to find herself in the Design Space, situated in the heart of the historic Jewellery Quarter. The workshop is collectively shared with seven other jewellers to allow them the opportunity to exchange thoughts, ideas and their knowledge amongst each other.
The locket shown here with the mouse, gives me the impression she has made a little bed for it to sleep on. Perhaps it is just my imagination, but I get the inkling that the mouse is smiling and dreaming away.
Kate’s ideas are not traditional in any way. Some may even call it morbid. Her jewels are focused around dead animals she finds. This may completely repel the faint hearted animal lovers out there, but she preserves them ever so carefully; it is as though she is paying a tribute to their life.
Kate attempts to preserve a little piece of history for the future; using silver and pearls adds preciousness to her creation. By unclasping a hook or opening a locket, one finds what is hidden inside. It is almost like something is buried away safely and a personal secret hidden treasure.
The found and treasured dead animals she uses in her jewellery are “a celebration of life as much as they are of death”.
Even though Kate’s work is intriguing, I must question how practical it is to wear; after all her designs consist of dead creatures. They cannot be preserved forever. Her style is reminiscent of Damien Hirst or Tim Burton in the way that there is something quite captivating, though eerie about it all.