Kathleen Reilly is a metalworker and poet from Glasgow, Scotland. Although she’s trained in silversmithing and jewellery design, her work goes far beyond anything related to jewellery.
Instead, it enters the world of tableware and everyday objects.
Accessorising for dinner
In her collection called Waiting for a Table, Kathleen explores the routine of eating and drinking. When we sit at a table, we rarely think about what we’re doing or the utensils we use. Kathleen takes these boring, everyday objects and redesigns them to create intimate, unique dining experiences.
One of my favourite pieces is a place setting that’s tied up in a bow. Once the bow is undone, you can remove different pieces of the setting and each piece becomes a utensil to eat with. It’s like a gift that you need to unwrap.
Teapots and teaspoons
As a firm believer that tea solves all problems – I also can’t leave out the redesigned teapot. Kathleen’s teapot comes with a teaspoon elegantly attached to the lid. You can remove the teaspoon and attach it to any teapot you like. You’ll also never be in a position where you need to remove the teabag but can’t find a teaspoon!
Instead of accessorising ourselves with jewellery, Kathleen allows us to accessorise our tableware.
Playing with words
In her 2019 exhibition called As Above, So Below, Kathleen exhibited her work alongside her poetry. She writes about insignificant moments and actions that we all do everyday, over and over again.
Her words are accompanied by objects she’s made using various techniques like mould making, glass blowing and electroforming. Kathleen has drawn connections between her words and her art. Sometimes you have to think twice about some of the pieces. Like we can play with words, Kathleen has played with ambiguous meaning in her work.
The chicken or the egg
The piece called What Came First is a play on the old chicken and egg question. It’s a leather bound book with two spines and no distinguishable front and back. So where is the beginning and the end?
Life and memories
I was intrigued by the handmade cracker called ‘Life Vest Under Your Seat’. It’s a comment on the fragility of human life. It’s amazing to make something so mundane become a one-of-a-kind piece of jewellery art. And a very fragile one at that.
Kathleen also explores memories of her grandfather through the piece called The Last Drop. It’s a hand blown glass tumbler with a drop of Glenfiddich whiskey trapped inside. It’s a beautiful, delicate piece and reminds me of how delicate our memories are of our loved ones.
Kathleen’s work goes beyond just jewellery design, materials and techniques. She explores ways to use metalwork in other areas of design and comes up with thought-provoking works of art that shift between adornment, products and poetry.
Contemporary jewellery design creates conversation and discussion from those who wear it or engage with it. Lucky for us, with Kathleen’s work, we can have these conversations while waiting for dinner to arrive. Find out more about Kathleen Reilly on her website. You can also follow her on Instagram - @kathleenleen.
All image rights belong to Kathleen Reilly and are from Kathleen’s website.