Monday, December 14, 2015

Jean reviews Mastering Beadwork, A Comprehensive Guide to Off-Loom Techniques, by Carol Huber Cypher

This gorgeous spiral bound book has all you need to learn any sort of basic (and some not so basic) off-loom beading techniques. Written by the popular and well known instructor and beader, Carol Huber Cypher, it contains a mindboggling and lovely collection of 64 projects for the reader to peruse and to choose from, As the back cover states, "It's a project book plus reference tool wrapped up in one". Don't we all need that sort of inspiration along with our go-to book for reference?
The author is an excellent teacher, and the opposite of intimidating. I had to laugh when I read her comments on setting up a beadworker's studio. She states, "All you need to start mastering off-loom
beading techniques are some beads, a needle and thread that will fit through the beads, and the ability to see the hole in the bead.Therefore, anywhere you arrange your beading materials (mise en place) becomes your beadworking studio."
This laid back approach is delightful and non-intimidating. The reader will discover as she progresses through this book that the same style and approach are used throughout, in each lesson and when explaining each beautiful project.
The beginning pages cover not only the materials needed but also offer a beadwork glossary. This is not usually found in regular beading books. It really adds wonderful understanding for new beaders.
Then it is off to the races with the very first stitch, and project. This is the peyote stitch. The "Band of Triangles" bracelet made using this stitch is very lovely. It has tons of impact due to its use of color (lavender and chartreuse) and design. It is heartening to have success when you are a new beader, right out of the box, Following this are many other offerings concerning peyote stitch and variations. All are very pretty! There are even some beaded beads made using peyote stitch. One of my favorite projects in the peyote stitch section is the Starry Night Card Case. It is so pretty in midnight blue with golden stars. What a fun project!
The Dutch Spiral stitch comes next. When the reader gets to the bead titled "Bam! Kick that Dutch Spiral Up a Notch! Bead" she is bound to be delighted with the colors and the play of shapes. This bead can be used alone or in a collection. Either way, it is very striking and pretty.
Netting is the next technique. I loved the Lacy, Spiky Bicone bracelet which shows off the delicacy of the netting style yet brings color to the fore once again by using brilliant yellow as the main color. What a great surprise! Also very appealing is a scarf which has been trimmed with netting. It is completely lovely.
Spiral Rope is offered following. I love the spiral and this chapter didn't disappoint. With lariats, bangles, and more, the reader will delight in the projects offered in this chapter. RAW follows at its heels, with the addition of an explanation of Cross-Needle Weaving.There are some worthwhile tips to be found particularly in this chapter. I love the "Band of Pearls" rings offered, too!
They are so elegant!
The Triangle Weave the reader will be learning is fascinating. Another ring, "The Flaming Cocktail Ring", is taught within this chapter. It is as dramatic and pretty as you could want. A fabulous choker appears here as well, glittering in greens and lilacs. This necklace, the "Five Easy Pieces Choker" will tempt anyone who has been paging through this wonderful book to stop right here and try out seed beading, for the first time or the zillionth time. This is the essence of pretty!
If you like earrings, there are some charming ones in Chapter Nine, which teaches the Ladder Stitch.
The "Delicate Beaded Ladder Earrings" have a natural look, like buds on a twig. They are divinely pretty and would suit a bride in a forest wedding.
Herringbone Stitch is a great stitch to learn, and the projects in this book are uplifting. I particularly love "Silver and Pearls through Thick and Thin Bracelet". It is totally entrancing.
There are so many more stitches it is awe inspiring to go through this book trying to choose which ones to point out, and which projects to discuss. The final chapters are devoted to several beautiful stitches such as The Brick Stitch, The African Polygon, and Bead Crochet.
Not including the index, Mastering Beadwork, A Comprehensive Guide to Off-Loom Techniques by Carol Huber Cypher is 233 pages of excitement, learning, and fascination. This book is a remarkable and glorious achievement which is not to be missed.First rate in every way!

Interweave/F+W; $24.95


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Glad you found another great bead book.

Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Thanks, Alex! We are a dedicated community, just like science fiction writers!

Eileen The Artful Crafter said...

lol, Jean. It is an addiction, isn't it?