Monday, November 23, 2015

jean reviews Beautiful Elements, Creative Components to Personalize Your Jewelry, by Heather Powers

Beautiful Elements
Creative Components to Personalize Your Jewelry
by Heather Powers

Beautiful Elements, by Heather Powers shows you how to add your own creative touches to your jewelry using metal, clay, and wire.
In her introduction, the author discusses the "raw materials" which will play a part in her book. Then she adds, "The most important raw material you possess is your own creativity". If you agree with that observation (and I do), and take joy in experimenting with simple materials in exciting new ways, this book will completely appeal to you. The first section concerns the Basics. The reader who is planning to try her hand at the projects will be working with metal, wire, chain, all kinds of beads, polymer clay, fibers, patinas, inks, liver of sulphur, and other materials. Techniques for jewelry making, preparing polymer clay, and using metal are illustrated in excellent step out photos. An easy to use tool kit is set up for the reader, as is a polymer clay kit. They are clear and complete. Included as well is a section called "beyond the basics" which notes a few more tools you might want for your studio.
Beautiful Elements, Creative Components' first set of projects will teach you how to sketch on metal. You are taught the technique, and offered four complete projects to try, using freeform sketched metal as the focus. I particularly liked the "Sketched Metal Toggle Bracelet", because the wire wrapped pearls look so pretty paired with the copper toggle with its wildflower design. I get such delight from Heather's love of nature and her expressive style.
The next section is titled "Add Detail to Metal". You will learn advanced metal sketching, how to make polymer clay tipped head pins, and how to create gorgeous wrapped beads with a bit of wire and brilliant colored sari silk. Then it is on to the projects, where they are all combined. You will have a hard time deciding what to make first. Everything is beautiful in this author's world. I loved her earrings from this section; they are as appealing as ripe fruit heavy on the branch. Her "cover girl" bracelet, the "Reflecting Motif Bracelet" is in this section too, and it is a knockout. This author thinks in ways which reach out to the reader and welcome her in to the whole wide world. It is a lovely quality for any artist to have.
The next section, "Add Shape & Texture" invites you to "create textured leaves that offer rustic charm" and "wreath-like links embellished with berry headpins". These are very beautiful and a signature aspect of the author's style, to me. Wait until you see the unique "Dangle & Drop Earrings" you will be making! With dangling copper leaves and purple and gold clay head pin drops, they fall from entwined wreaths in a very striking manner. They are super! The following necklace and bracelet employing the techniques and colorways offered in this section are just as pretty; both rustic and wild.
Following this is "Create Mirrored Imagery". I was very interested to see this section because what the author wrote invites the reader in. As she says,"Sketch pine branches onto metal with a riveting hammer and create tiny pine cones with a ball peen hammer. Bring the evergreen imagery into three dimensions with molded beads made from real pinecones. Reflect the evergreen theme with needle-shaped beads and teal colored patina." I found this to be a magical way of describing the remarkable things that we can do when we make beautiful jewelry.
This section covers sketching an evergreen metal branch and making molded beads (using a little pine cone). The resulting bracelet is wonderfully expressive of the woods, with Czech dagger beads as accents, looking like pine needles, a beautiful hand made toggle clasp with a pine needle theme you will create, one of the pretty polymer pine cone beads front and center, and some round green/blue ceramic beads all wired together. What a gorgeous display! Two different earring projects and a knockout necklace follow.
The section called "Make Charms & Drops" had me completely mesmerized as I, like many others, love to create small designs which pack a very individualistic punch. You will learn how to make adorable metal leaf charms (like oak leaves) and acorn head pins. Combined with Czech glass pressed flowers and leaves, these make a very pretty earthy necklace, using the technique we learned of making an embellished wreath. Love this! The following project is for matching earrings. Finally, there is an offering for a beautiful double stranded oak leaf bracelet with charms. It couldn't be prettier! Wait! There's more! The oak leaf sister bracelet, the "Balanced Bracelet"  is a different take on the metal oak leaves, and it may just take your breath away. It is totally stunning. Finally in this section we come to a front closing necklace which uses the oak leaf for its toggle which you wear in front. I particularly like the rutilated quartz sticks in this necklace. Overall, what a pretty collection.
I cannot think of anything more fun than the section which comes next. It is called "Add Color With Custom Beads". These hibiscus buds are made from polymer clay and alcohol inks in an assortment of blues, pinks and plums. Gorgeous beads! You will shortly be making my favorite pendant of all, the "Pretty Pendant", which has a clutch of charms (including a hibiscus, potent in magenta) in pinks and coppers, as well as copper chain wired up with crystals. It looks like a forgotten treasure hanging from a forest branch. The earrings and the other necklaces here are just as gorgeous.
The final section is titled "Play with Textures And Patterns".  This section is very valuable and helpful if you are interested in learning how to transfer patterns from the world around you to the polymer clay beads you are making. The author explains bead shapes and caps and offers projects using what has been taught. I especially liked the "Color-Block Bouquet Bracelet and Earrings". It is very feminine and interesting at the same time.
At the end of the book, you aren't left in the lurch: there are templates available in all sizes for the reader's use. They will come in very handy as I expect you will love this super new book by Heather Powers, Beautiful Elements, Creative Components to Personalize Your Jewelry, and will be as excited to read it and learn from it as I have been.I am very happy that Heather has once again offered us such a beautiful and inspiring book!


Unknown said...

Great explanation, has me intrigued and excited about what this book has to offer!

baymoondesign said...

I purchased the book a few weeks ago and I love it. Your review is spot on.

Shai Williams said...

What a great review! I have added this book to my 'must have' list.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Thank you so much! Have a great Thanksgiving :)