Sunday, May 29, 2016

Jean reviews Discover Torch Enameling: Get Started with 25 Sure-Fire Projects by Steven James

My image here of the cover of this book doesn't show how brilliant and full of depth the design is. More than "just jewelry",  it is like an art work. You will see and understand it far better when you hold this book by Steven James in your hands. And another piece of wonderful news is that these projects are easy to make. This is torch enameling: the author uses a hand-held torch and easy to find materials. In Discover Torch Enameling  the reader will enjoy 25  super-fun projects, well taught, very clearly, so you don't lose your way.

Steven James begins his introduction with one word which says a lot about the kind of teacher he is:
"PLAY!"  He explains that in our work-oriented culture, we just don't get enough of that. He even invites the reader to contact him if he or she gets stuck and really needs a hand (although his projects are so well explained, I doubt that will happen).
Discover Torch Enameling begins with a comprehensive section of basics: tools, materials, and even something the reader will really appreciate later on: the scientific explanation of "COE" which is imperative for understanding how glass melts or softens, as well as its fit with the metal you are using. It sounds confusing the way I have written it, but it isn't, and the reader will catch on fast. I appreciate the mindful way it is pointed out by the author.
The five chapters in this book entice you before you even get to them by introducing you to the projects with thumbnail photos and the names of the projects, along with the pages on which they are located. Even if you begin at the beginning (always a great way to learn), you will be able to look forward to what to expect down the road. And the author has an great imagination and tons of artistic energy to inspire you !
Love comic book art? Be prepared for your next Comic Con with his very first project, the "Embedded Metal Comic Book Earrings". Although they sound funky, they are extremely chic the way he has designed them.
The author repeatedly takes the reader by surprise with his originality and artistic flair.
One of the projects I was extremely fascinated by is in Chapter 2: the "Ready to Raku Bracelet".
As an art glass collector, I have loved the raku style in ceramics since forever. However, the author has added another dimension to raku by using torch enameling. It gives an aged effect to this bracelet, which is made of copper plumbing tubes which have been cut apart and enameled. They are then attached to each other using jump rings and a 2-strand bar clasp to make a cuff. This cuff looks ancient and exquisite. I picture myself wearing this with a toga, wandering the streets of Rome, in 500 AD. Or maybe I just picture myself wearing it with a T shirt and jeans, any place, any time.

If you are a "delicate flower", consider the elegant "Bouquet Garni" necklace in Chapter 3. The author got his inspiration for this necklace after a day of yardwork. He was working with nature's best when he designed this, The wire is enameled in blues and greens, and shaped to resemble rosemary. What a feminine, pretty look this has! The colors are dreamy, too.\
Chapter 4 has a divine heart bracelet for those of us who adore anything with hearts. This design is enameled in lavenders, reds, purples and pinks. The hearts alternate in shape from convex to concave as they link. This is flat-out pretty and it isn't trite in any way. This could easily become your signature bracelet.
Chapter 5, the final chapter, offers a bull's eye ring which will knock the reader's socks off. It is shown three ways. It is easy, has great impact, and, as the author says, "your finished piece will be right on target!" This is so true. As will all the other projects, this has marvelous appeal. Anything which the reader makes from this book will be commented on by everyone, and if given away as a gift, completely loved.
Discover Torch Enameling: Get Started with 25 Sure-Fire Projects, by Steven James is  a great introduction to this form of easy enameling. I hope the author writes a follow-up to this wonderful book very soon!

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