Friday, August 20, 2010

jean reviews Margot Potter's latest book, Bead Chic

Bead Chic

36 stylish jewelry

projects and

inspired variations

by Margot Potter

This is an immensely charming, delightful and educational jewelry design book. Author Margot Potter, who has written many popular jewelry design books and contributed to countless more, has a history of going her own way. Part of her statement as an artist is, "I color outside the lines". With this, her latest book, Bead Chic, she demonstrates how the reader can take a basic design premise and build upon it from all sorts of directions. That truly is following her premise of coloring outside the lines. It brings freshness and a unique flavor to jewelry to view variations upon basic initial premises. Bead Chic offers these variations, at times by other designers. It is then explained what is the same and what is different about the variations. I think this is uniquely cool, and very illuminating to the reader to see the results!

I believe Bead Chic contains within it a very original concept which we all need to grasp. As Margot states,in her introduction, "My goal is to inspire you to be creative. I know you're busy and I know you're crafting in the spaces in between. I am here to give you solid technique advice and the creative tools you can use to free your vivid imagination. Think of this as a beaded jewelry recipe book.Jot down notes. Add your own variations and original ideas. Before you know it, you'll be a master designer!"

It is a great promise, and Margot Potter has the experience to demonstrate the techniques to perfection. She always takes great care to show how to do each technique in the book very clearly. I appreciate that in a jewelry design book. You will not be left in the lurch with Bead Chic. Right off the bat you will be able to see what materials and tools you will need, and then there is a good, well photographed technique section at the beginning of the book.

After that the author covers chapters as follows: Scale, Color, Texture, Pattern, Foundations,and Focal Elements, with resources at the end.

These interesting chapters show the author's ability to fling classic traditional design books off to the side a bit and lead the reader to the same beauty and excellence by addressing brand new ways of seeing creativity in making jewelry. When was the last time you saw a design book discuss scale, for example? And yet it is imperative to understand how critical scale is when you design a piece of jewelry.In the "Scale" chapter, I fell in love with a glamorous necklace called "Chaos in Pearls". It is a black and white fabrication using gunmetal chain in two sizes and Cream colored Swarovski Elements Crystal pearls, with black faceted rounds . Totally fabulous and, furthermore,easy to make and not expensive! I would grab this one for night or day wear and feel really hip and pretty.

The author then shows how scale alters this design by creating a bracelet called "Mod Bubbles" on the following page. It is clearly explained what is the same and what is different about the two pieces. This is what is great about this book. You will learn as you go how to perceive these similarities and differences for yourself, and then you are free to design your own original pieces, using the same solid premises you now understand.

Margot is a great teacher!

What else did I love in this book? "Steel City Earrings" were fabulous, and the divine variation by one of the contributors, Barbe St. John, called "South Beach" had the same wire segments, yet used different colors of beads and added an extra segment. So fun and lusciously colored!

Speaking of color,for a really different look, in the "Color" chapter, check out the "Psychedelia Bracelet", made of striated rainbow calsilica ovals counterpointed with one onyx oval of the same size.Each stone is "pseudo-wrapped" between each bead with funky silvery jump ring spacers. It is a great stand alone bracelet by Margot! I love it;I want it! Don't forget to check out the three-color co-ordinated beaded dangles at the clasp! Turn the page, and you have Andrew Thornton's bracelet, "Woodstock Summer": using the same color scheme, but changing the style of the bracelet to a more fully charm-like dangle style. The dangles now take center stage, where before they were accents to Margot's design.

I confess I do have a favorite piece in this wonderful jewelry book. Although all of the designs are great, I love "The Grid Necklace", in the "Foundations" chapter. As Margot quotes in the beginning of this chapter, "Do not worry if you have built your castles in the air. They are where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." -- Henry David Thoreau.

This means, for jewelry designers, learn to use the correct materials when you are designing.

I suppose I am drawn to "The Grid Necklace" because it is wire wrapped and has crystals. These are two things I find irresistible. However, it is also totally original and really mod looking, as the author herself mentions. I love the mod look! Check out Melanie Brooks' variation: "Keyhole Grid". It is fantastic, too. Completely different in style due to changing the color from silver to brass, her grid is built around one lovely focal bead instead of the whole necklace.

I am delighted to review such a different type of jewelry design book. Margot Potter is a very special, energetic, and talented woman. She never stops turning over new leaves and learning new things for her own benefit and to share with the world. Bead Chic is a fantastic collection of beautiful learning experiences for the fortunate reader to expand horizons as a designer!

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.


Margot Potter said...

Yummy! Thank you. You ROCK, Ms. Jean.


Andrew Thornton said...

I am so honored to be included in the book. I think it's absolutely lovely book, full of inspiration. Margot Potter is a superstar!

Jean said...

You are welcome! I love the book, Margot! It is a great concept and really well done in every way!

xox jean

Jean said...

yes she is and so are you, Andrew!

xox jean

*melanie* earthenwood studio said...

Thanks Jean, for this great review! I was so pleased to be a part of Margot's wonderful book!

Lorie said...

Thanks for reviewing, and inspiring me to read, this book. It looks wonderful.

Jean said...

I know, Melanie--she is great to work with -- and your pieces are supercool!

xox jean

Jean said...

you are welcome Lorie! :)