Sunday, October 11, 2015

jean reviews The Bead Directory, The Complete Guide to Choosing and Using More than 600 Beads by Elise Mann

This stellar reference book will become your most trusted friend during your creativity process!--jean

The Bead Directory
The Complete Guide to Choosing and Using More than 600 Beads
by Elise Mann

The Bead Directory, The Complete Guide to Choosing and Using More than 600 Beads, by Elise Mann, is an excellent teaching and reference book for any designer who wishes to further her understanding of beads. Author Elise Mann defines a bead is as "any item with a hole in it, wore purely for decorative purposes". In her very interesting foreword, she discusses the origin of the first beads ever discovered. These are drilled shells which were found in a cave near Cape Town. They date to around 75,000 years ago. As she says, "Beads have a very long history". They do indeed! The reasons why we love them are countless, and often quite profound and passionate. The reader will understand so much more about beautiful beads when he or she has this directory to join in the fun on the journey we travel when designing with them.

After the foreword, there is a quick and clear explanation for how to use this book best when you need it as a guide. Such things as shape, relative weight, whether the bead you are reading about is offered in a large (or less large) color range, and many more exacting specifics are discussed. This way, the reader can really use this book in the most worthwhile manner. Because of The Bead Directory's  compact size, you can bring it along while bead shopping. You will want to.
To help you even more, at the end of the book there is a fold-out flap. This handy flap extends past the width of the book. When folded out, it can be used as an easily accessible reminder of the key to symbols and the explanations of the measurements, when the book is open to any page. It is great when you are checking out a specific bead, considering it for a design. 

The main body of The Bead Directory consists of sections divided by categories of beads by material. There are eleven chapters. Each has pages edged and color coded according to the material being covered. Each covers one sort of bead, such as glass, crystal, semiprecious, precious metals, base metals, clay, plastic, wood, other natural materials, and "other materials". The final chapter completes the book by offering the reader a good view of available findings. 

The reader will also be pleased to learn more about how to buy beads, including how to keep an inventory of them, how to save money when purchasing, and how to source them. The index is excellent, as are the resources. Credits are cited for the beautifully photographed beaded pieces you will have seen scattered through the book, which have been made by some very lovely designers. 
Special mention should be made of the fact that Elise Mann also provides cool combinations of different sorts of beads in her "mix and match" section for each and every bead she covers. This makes The Bead Directory an even more wonderful source for design inspiration. Sometimes a reader just needs a little boost to get those creative juices running! The "mix and match" choices are a great addition.

The book is spiral bound, enticing you to leave it open at any page. This way you have no problem locating the page you left off reading. You can quickly return to consult and check out what you were learning about. This treasure of a book, with its beautiful photographs, affords just that much extra convenience because of its thoughtful layout.
Its high-quality pages are thick and sturdy. It's designed to be used for years. 

The Bead Directory will handily assist you when you are teaching yourself to make a project from another source. It will be there for you, providing the extra information you need whenever you turn to it. 
Making really good jewelry using beads requires an understanding and a high respect for materials. As well, for any designer worth his or her salt, there must be a heartfelt love and innate passion for the beads chosen for each project. 
This book will match your passion and up it, opening the world of beads even further to you. 

The Bead Directory may become your most trusted friend during your creative process. It is certainly a worthwhile purchase for any designer. It would also make a delightful gift for a brand new jewelry designer just starting out.
The Bead Directory, The Complete Guide to Choosing and Using More than 600 Beads, by Elise Mann, is timeless. It is an outstanding directory. A fantastic compilation, you will be able to turn to it over and over, each time you plan your next beautiful jewelry design!

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