Monday, December 7, 2015

Jean reviews Introducing Albion Stitch, 20 Jewelry Projects by Heather Kingman-Smith

This gorgeous teaching book puts Albion stitch front and center. As Marcia DeCoster says in her foreword, "...I love a book that gives us a comprehensive set of skills within one beadweaving stitch. Heather has done that here, building upon the readers understanding of the stitch one chapter at a time." Heather Kingsley-Heath further explains in her introduction that Albion stitch began "during a conversation between bead artist friends about how to bring fresh ideas into our beadwork."
Heather explains her process from the very start to the point when she attained the terminology and the language for the stitch. It is fascinating to read. The author lives in the UK (thus the name for this stitch: Albion means "a poetic or literary term for Britain or England (often used in referring to ancient or historical times"). However by now she has taught Albion stitch in several countries. She loves the excitement and experimentation which it engenders. You will too!

After the fundamentals and the basics, the reader will begin with Chapter 1: Flat Albion Stitch. This is the easiest way to understand and work Albion stitch. The projects are as pretty as can be, even if they are your first introduction to the stitch. For example, the second project, which teaches the reader how to increase when she makes this delightful segmented bracelet replete with brightly colored fans and a sewn-in snap clasp, is charming in coral red, coral pink and frosted turquoise seed beads with a trim of Czech frosted pellet beads. Check her helpful note on snap fasteners.
With projects like this to start off, what an inspiration this book promises to be! There are five fabulous project in Chapter 1 alone. The tech illustrations are wonderful throughout the book and the photos, which are plentiful, are super pretty.
Chapter 2 offers Tubular Albion Stitch.  As the author says, "Instead of a row of beads, the base row is a ring of beads...Tubular Albion stitch can be used to make pretty beaded beads and is the starting point for working three-dimensional designs." The pretty "Jangle Bangle" from the book's cover is in this chapter, as are four other wonderful projects. The reader will appreciate the unique offering opening each chapter which discusses color inspiration. The author really boosts your imagination with her heady and rich descriptions.
One project I could not take my eyes off of is the first one in Chapter 2. It is a necklace titled "Magic Lanterns". This name is appropriate, because the Tubular Albion stitch is made up here into various sizes of round beads. Strung on hand-dyed silken ropes in two colors of green, this looks like exotic jewelry purloined from Aladdin's Cave. The purples, yellows and brown seed beads play off the larger ginger brown seed beads and green SuperDuo beads. What fun this is! It is perfectly beautiful and very unusual. In this chapter, when the reader arrives at the "Jangle Bangle" check out the great notes the author has added to expand upon this project, if you fell for the book because of it!
Chapter 3 is titled "Ribbons and Lace". It is a study in the popular vintage revival going on presently. Among the author's favorite projects in this book is "Deco Delight." She notes that it is so light and easy to wear, while also making a "beady" statement."
The lovely necklaces are shown in teal and worked in that color, however there is a second necklace shown in dusty rose tones. The reader will love this necklace!
The bracelets following, "Vintage Lace" are also gorgeous. These lacy cuffs are wide and delicate. They lure the viewer in with their charm and subtle impact.
There is a lively pendant sporting crystals among the seed beads and a rivoli in the middle to attract the reader as well. It is called "Novely Lace" and is very appealing worn on a ribbon. It can be adapted to make a cuff bracelet as well, if a few are stitched together.
Moving on to Chapter 4, the reader will be learning about the last but not least part of understanding Albion Stitch. This chapter is concerned with Structure and Links. The author will pull from the previous chapters and explain how to "create designs that bring them together in different ways". This is very exciting for the reader. It more that double the understanding of this great stitch. The author offers these projects in neutral colors and they are stunning. The very first is a riff off of "The Novely Lace" pendant. It is titled "Roundelay Ribbon". There are two of these necklaces shown and the lighter colored one is the one the instructions are for. The basic shape is round here and doesn't hold a rivoli, but the glamour factor of this necklace, with five round circles asymmetrically attached by the basic Albion ribbon stitch is very cool looking. Another project impossible to pass up in this chapter is a cuff called "Maderon Arches". These lovely cuffs are depicted in two colors. The olive and silver is the one the reader will be working on. This is a gorgeous punchy bracelet with a lot of dimension because of the Rizo accent beads. Try this one and fall in love! The author calls it "a wonderfully sturdy statement piece".  This sort of design is the reason we love seed beads. You can't beat them for elegant, artisan beauty.
Check out the final pages for further information and to follow the author.
Introducing Albion Stitch, 20 Beaded Jewelry Projects, by Heather Kingsley-Heath, is a welcome addition to a beader's library. Clearly written and with beautiful photos, you can't go wrong with this brilliant new stitch!


Cyndi L said...

I *love* this new book! It's so exciting to have a new stitch to work on. Great review, Jean :-)

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Thanka, Cyndi-- and yes, her recounting of how she developed the stitch with her friends is very entertaining!
xox jean

Eileen The Artful Crafter said...

The Albion stitch - love the name - is beautiful and looks very versatile.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

It is indeed a lovely stitch, Eileen! :)