Monday, December 21, 2015
Jean reviews Learn to Make Bead Jewelry, With 35 Fabulous Projects, by Lynn Davy
And that excitement is truly engendered when one first sees little snippets of photos of projects to come, in a lovely three page spread before the book starts. It is here that the reader is presented with the inspirational concept behind the book. Shown are separate sections with the creations, colors and beads which will be found in them. The sections are:"Ocean", "Beach", "Meadow", "Woodland"," Forest", "Mountain", and "Volcano". This is such a pretty layout, and the designs are so pretty as well, that it would not be surprising if old hands at jewelry design also end up acquiring this book for reference.
Next comes Lynn Davy's introduction, "Welcome to my world of beads", she writes. She asks the reader, "In a wide world of bead stores--all packed with a dazzling variety of beads and components--where do you start?"
She then reassures the readers when she says,"Let me be your beady guide." She explains that this book is a personal tour organized for the reader. She further states something which I loved when I read it, "The most important element in your jewelry isn't the beads or the technique or the color scheme. It's you."
Chapter 1 is subtitled Materials, tools, techniques. The first section of it is called Beads, beads, beads.
The project colors are once again presented here in bead form, by chapter, and the sense of what the colors of ocean, or mountain, and so on, will convey, are described. Many other aspects of beads are explained, and helpful tips on bead buying are given. The materials, tools, and techniques sections are particularly exceptional and thorough as well.
Chapter 2 is subtitled Projects. It begins with the first projects the new beader will want to try. As explained by the author, the earlier projects are the easiest. Therefore, the beginning projects (in the ocean section here) are going to be on the easy side.The very first one is lovely and one I would jump to make. It is called "Simple Pleasures" earrings and consists of wire wrapped bead dangles primarily made of sea glass. However, once you have learned how to make these earrings, the variations come to the fore, and all of them are lovely. There is a whole page of them: eight styles in all. Each is different enough from the next to delight the nascent beader and her friends and family to whom she gives them, time and again.
A bracelet, a pendant and a teardrop trio of necklaces follow, all of them in dreamy ocean blue. These designs are truly lovely.When the reader gets to the Wave Pendant, it is time for some haute design, as this necklace is created from a gorgeous art glass bead made into a pendant and strung on a handpainted silk crepe de chine ribbon. If you have always wondered how to string a ribbon so that it is pulled up and down by a bead in the back, learn it here! I love this project.
As the ocean meets the shore, the beach projects come next. There are some awesome "beachy beige" projects to delight. The reader is treated to designs using seed beads, shell and ammonite pressed glass beads, crystals, charm dangles on chains, and, of course some gorgeous, lustrous cocoa pearls, which the neophyte beader will learn how to knot.
The meadow projects are next. See if your heart doesn't sing, as mine does, when you first see the Wildflower wrap bracelet. This mix up of color, like a bouquet of carelessly gathered wildflowers, is finished with a glass shank button, gilded and painted with a floral center. I believe that a new designer would love dropping everything to try this bracelet. The great thing is that one of the techniques learned when one makes this bracelet is how to make a crimped seed beaded strand to create a clasp for the button. It is a super technique to have at the ready for a new beader, as so many buttons are beautiful and collectible.
All the meadow designs are delightful, and speak of sunny flowers and hillsides. Among them, another bracelet stands out, hip and saturated with color. The reader will learned to used a spinner when she tries this lovely bracelet in orange accented with purple: the "Marigold bracelet". It is brilliant and exceptionally pretty.
The meadow section merges into the forest section, which is a bit darker and earthier. The techniques offered and the colors used are very sophisticated. The very first project is incredibly beautiful. As the author describes it, the "Fall leaves" necklace is a new take on the traditional technique of French beading, where tiny seed beads are strung on wire to replicate leaves or petals." This project is marvelous, and quite astounding to find in a book for new beaders. You are going to love it! All of the forest projects have the accent on different tones of green, and are amazingly diverse. The reader will learn other great techniques here, such as how to convert a charm cluster bracelet into a necklace.
The mountain section is moody in greys and silvers. These colors will never go out of style. There is a frayed sari silk and labradorite bracelet I found incredibly cool. "Learn to embrace imperfection" says the author, concerning this raffishly charming bracelet. With chain and metallic seed beads as a part of the design, no one would ever think that this was a piece made by a jewelry designer who is just beginning. What a jump this book has on many of the design books for beginners! The "Rugged rocks" necklace which comes next is going to astound you with its triple stranded statement look. Also made using labradorite, the reader gets a lesson on labradorescence, and what that means, in a sidebar to this project.
The final projects are the volcano projects. I was happy to see borosilicate glass used in the first necklace,"Volcanic vision", because its fiery properties when combined with crystals, as here, are fabulous. It catches the sun and reflects it back like no other art glass. The necklace is beautiful and uses lava rock as well, a fun reference to volcanoes. Many of these projects are powerful in red, with black and orange as accents, and one is exceptional in tones of orange and red. The reader will adore the "Light my fire" necklace, with its seemingly endless numbers of stands of seed beads (and a few crystals). It's packed with glamour and timeless style.
In summary, you get more than you pay for if you choose this book. You may decide to buy it to learn from it right from the start, and it is wonderful for that. I highly recommend it for its intended readers: beginners.
On the other hand, it offers so much more than that, you may want to get it just to remind yourself of why you love to make jewelry, or to learn a few techniques you lack, even now.
For whatever reason, choose this book and rediscover the wonder of making jewelry.
Happy Holidays from Jean!
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Happy holidays to you too, Jean. May your days be merry & bright.
Many, many thanks for your lovely comments, Jean - I was very nervous as to how the book would be received by more experienced bead artists! You tuned in to exactly what I was trying to convey and I'm really thrilled that the whole design concept worked so well for you. Thank you again!
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