Metal Clay Origami Jewelry
by Sara Jayne Cole
by Sara Jayne Cole
review by jean
This jewelry design book is very simple in concept, yet very satisfying in the results the reader can obtain from following the author's original and inventive ideas.
I have been fascinated by the ancient art of origami, or paper folding, since I was a child and received my first book, including the paper sheets you use to make the different shapes as you get progressively better at folding. How clever of the author of Metal Clay Origami Jewelry to put the idea of origami paper folding and folding precious metal clay (or fine silver clay, if you prefer) together. It is a perfect fit the way Sara Jayne Cole guides you from one to the other. The paper is essential to practice with, at first, if you have never tried origami, however the author explains the difference between the feel of the paper and the feel of the metal clay, so you will know what to expect.
First, please do make sure you read the entire introduction and the basics, which will assist immeasurably later on, when you are working on the projects. These are very easy to understand. The author also lets you know what tools will be required as well. There is a great section on liver of sulphur, which continues to intrigue the jewelry world with its "spectrum of colors" as Ms. Cole says.
Unless you have never used metal clay and are afraid of new things(it really isn't so new any more! Try it!), or do not understand how to use a kiln, you won't have any problems. This book is going to be a blast for you to experience because the author is so enthusiastic and the projects range from simple to more complex.Some include gem stones or art glass. Ms Cole explains how to fire using art glass. She explains the slight shrinkage which occurs with precious metal clay as well, and how you can employ this to effectively enclose or hold a stone or an art glass bead. I particularly liked that. She also illustrates the times where a designer would choose to use a fine silver prong instead--for example to add a pearl to a finished piece. Very nice instructions!
Be prepared to be charmed and fascinated by the translation of origami into metal clay via this fine book. There are twenty five projects and each one is perfectly lovely. You haven't really seen origami until you have seen it expressed in this manner.
I liked the very first project right off the bat. This is a good sign to me, as it usually means that I will want to try an easy project and go on to progress further. This project is a folded ring, called the Diagonal Fold Ring. Because the author is so clever, she has also offered a variation on this which flips it to the reverse side. This variation sports the pearl on the prong I previously mentioned and is really pretty!
Eleanor's Star, named for the author's mother (it was a Mother's Day present) is the cover piece and a great project to try. Such a pretty pendant with a dichroic glass bead enclosed. The author says,"This star evolved from my fascination with crease patterns. I love to unfold an origami sheet and admire the complex pattern of lines that results from even a few folds".
I think that is very illuminating and a good trick to try yourself. What a thinking designer!
You will see what she means if you try this project, which is very lovely. You fold, you unfold, you pinch the crease lines and refold, and eventually you get to a star shape. As with all of the projects, EVERY step is clearly photographed so that there is NO confusion.
Ms. Cole finally shows you how to embed the art glass cabochon into the center of the star, which will shrink just enough to hold it after firing. She explains how to fire with glass which I previously mentioned during this project. Well done and so pretty.
There are other pendants, pins and beads to explore in this great book as well. With the beads you can make bracelets and earrings. There is a stunning charm bracelet with all colors of metal clay in three sizes (and a great variation using plastic mesh) called Bulb Bead. This is really striking and the author created hollow beads which will stand up to wear on your wrist no matter what. This may be my favorite piece in the entire book. Wait until you see it!
Other projects include a small charm you could use on a charm bracelet all by itself, a luxe necklace of Pinwheel Pod Beads you could wear anywhere and wow everyone, a big dramatic ring called Bling Ring which has a CZ crowning it (I would take that one too in a pinch!!!--guess I will just have to make it myself!) and so many more. I also have to mention the exquisite Lily Earrings and Pin.
I am finding it hard to stop writing about this book because it is so very good. To have an idea and transfer it over to another medium, and then experiment so very clearly and beautifully is just exhilarating to me to see and read about.
There is an inspiration section at the end, lovingly photographed.
I think Sara Jayne Cole is a perfectly fantastic designer and writer. She clearly loves what she does.This is so important in the jewelry world. It raises a book way up on the scale, to my mind.
Metal Clay Origami Jewelry is a unique and fabulous jewelry design book which should not be missed!