Jamie Cloud Eakin is a much loved instructor and internationally famous designer in the beading world. She has produced a number of fascinating books, primarily featuring seed beads. Once the reader sees the amazing things which can be done using seed beads it is great to learn how to create with them from such a wonderful, knowledgeable teacher. She is energetic, enthusiastic and makes beauty wherever she goes.
In Bead Play with Tassels, Techniques, Designs and Projects, the focus is on how to make some of the loveliest tassels the reader has ever seen. Tassels are a very popular fashion trend. They have also embellished every kind of accessories imaginable and been used as adornments for years. In this book, the reader will see how to employ them in all sort of fantastic and playful ways. From earrings to necklace focals to just the right finishing touch for a lariat, this book has all sorts of intriguing and pretty projects. Progressing from the simplest to grander projects which include gemstones or bead embroidery, the reader will enjoy learning and soon be totally entranced by the charming, cool, and flirty pieces she will be able to make.
In the introduction the author defines what a tassel is (a "collection of fringe strands concentrated in one spot"). She then explains why this can cause problems when making tassels (the strands become too big for the bead hole which is collecting them). The solution will be found in one of the methodologies in this book. As the author says, "Creating bead tassels does NOT have to be a hassle!" The seventeen projects will help you "practice the techniques, refine your skills, and jump start your own creativity!"
There are six chapters in this fascinating book. Chapter 1 discusses the minimum tassel. As defined by the author, a "minimum tassel is one with less than seven fringe strands". There are lots of uses for these types of tassels, and they can create lots of impact even with an amount of strands smaller than seven. Directions and photos explain the minimum tassel. There is a really striking earring project offered for the reader to try. It couldn't be more glamorous, and takes minimum to the max. There is also a gorgeous necklace which employs minimum tassels as accents to grand effect. The reader will discover how adept this author is at creating designs and adding impact with color, by now, if she didn't know before! The third project is a pin with three minimum tassels and it is equally lovely.
Chapter 2 is titled "Standard Tassel". This type of tassel has seven to seventeen strands, according to the author, and is what most of us picture when we hear the word tassel. The reader will learn how to construct the base and create variations of it, depending upon how many strands she wants for her design. The tech illustrations here (and throughout the book) are very clear, as are the photos of the variations. You are going to want to try to make tons of tassels at this point! They all beckon to the reader for any number of reasons. Each one looks so different it is hard to believe that they are all made from the same "standard tassel" springboard. The author also has some great tips, too. There are basic tips, and "what if...?" tips, and tips which are actually important notes on aspects the reader needs to know. These are very helpful.
The first project ups the beauty of an already lovely lamp work bead by accenting its colors in a swirl pattern which is really pretty. From a fabulous lariat, to multicolored earrings, to a triple standard tassel necklace, to a flowery tassel necklace in the colors of orchid, dark blue and olivine, the reader really begins to understand how fresh and appealing adding movement with tassels can be to a myriad of designs. There are variations of some of the projects offered, and they are just as pretty. The 6th project in the standard tassel collection is a very full tassel and as such is fascinating. To read how to create this is to understand how this teacher's mind works and why she is so terrific. I loved this gorgeous project. The variation of it is just as glorious; designed all in creamy white pearl. At the end of the chapter the reader is offered a number of tassels which are suggested as Christmas ornaments but would also be great fan pulls, embellishments for keys to an armoire, and more. These are enchanting!
Chapter 3 concerns the Pom Pom Tassel which is defined as a very full, almost "extreme" tassel by the author. Created with a simple ladder stitch, the Pom Pom tassel is stitched onto a base. You create the base and add the fringe. There are variations such as Twisted Fringe and more. The explanation of how to design a Pom Pom Tassel contains lots of lovely photos, all with instructions. Each one is prettier than the next! The final one, "Standard plus Pom Pom Necklace" is a medley of raspberries, pinks, lilac lined seed beads and fuchsias and it is gaspingly beautiful. Tassels in the hands of this author have everything needed to leave you breathless.
The Spiral Tassel taught in Chapter 4 is just as pretty. Flouncy and full (or less so, if you choose), it spirals up to the beaded base in a completely mesmerizing way. The projects offered in this chapter are very cool and interesting because the viewer's eye is led to some many different places. Tassels have a lot of wonderful movement anyway. The projects offered here are fascinating to see and to try. The third project, in a color combination which refers to blue and white as well as dark blue and a bit of brown, is just stunning. What pleasure the reader will get making this necklace!
Where the previous chapters offered directions on how to make tassels, and bases of tassels, Chapter 5 is specifically concerned with "Attaching Tassels".
Information on Top Loop Attachments, Double Strand Loop Attachments, Herringbone Loop Attachments, Ladder Stitch Top Loop Attachments and more are found in this essential chapter. There is a lovely photo for the Turn Bead Attachment, which can also be used on all the ornaments mentioned earlier in this review. It is super pretty! As well, there is a great explanation and instructions for how to attach fringe to other beadwork, such as the beautiful bead embroidered necklace, a photo of which the reader will find impossible to take her eyes off. It is used to help explain this section. What grand and pretty inspiration!
Chapter 6 has you covered with "Supplies and Basics". Not only is it a good, comprehensive list, the tip concerning converting hanks of Czech beads to grams is very helpful! Basic procedures are offered after the supply section as well as some excellent instructions for basic technique.
As an additional book to refer to when you try Bead Play with Tassels, consider Bead Play with Fringe, by the same author. It will expand your understanding of how to work with fringe and tassels together.
Bead Play with Tassels, Techniques, Designs and Projects, is, by far, the definitive book on how to create beauty with tassels. Jamie Cloud Eakin truly loves to teach and understands what we all want to learn: how to design more beautifully and more exceptionally. Don't miss this outstanding book for your beading library!