Book Review: Japanese Beadwork with Sonoko Nozue

Japanese Beadwork with Sonoko Nozue: 25 Jewelry Designs from a Master ArtistJapanese Beadwork with Sonoko Nozue: 25 Jewelry Designs from a Master Artist by Sonoko Nozue

Before this book is even opened, there is an air of exotica – a demure look by a young Asian woman shot in black & white. She definitely has a secret and as one delves into the book the reader finds that the secret is feminine, delicate, refined, exotic and wearable pieces.

The introduction, by Nathalie Mornu, gives background on the author, Sonoko Nozue including her inspirations, enticing personality traits, teaching projects and some biographical details. The information makes me, not much of a beader, want to meet the Ms. Nozue.

The basics section is a bit daunting at first glance. The necklaces and bracelets are intricate. Those photos are deceiving and should not scare entice the reader, though, because different types of beads, needles and thread are covered right away in the beginning of the basics section. I always enjoy reading the definitions of the beads. For example, “Matsuno beads are glass beads produced exclusively by the Matsuno Company, which was established in 1935. They can sometimes be difficult to find in Japan. Outside of Japan, they’re sold under the brand name MGB. Matsuno beads have thick walls and small holes. (pg.12)” You might be thinking “BFD!”, but I think it is interesting to know that this company has been in existence since before World War II as well as what I need to look for if I want to find these beads in the US. There is a also a chart of symbols; the same idea as knitting charts. The basics section continues with a section on techniques, illustrated by a small bag project with an inset cameo. The basics section wraps up with several pages of stitches.

Chapters on projects start immediately after the basics section. The projects are well illustrated and have beautiful photographs of models wearing the jewelry. My favorite projects are Cheerful Midafternoon (pg.22), a necklace that looks like one worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and Dripping the Moon (pg.30), a pendant that resembles a small purse (mentioned above). Projects also have variations. Crystal Rose, a large and elegant necklace (pg.102) suggests mounting the pendant on a hair comb instead of hanging it from a rope (‘chain’).

There are so many illustrations that make up the directions in this book that quiltmakers can get inspired for machine quilting and embellishing from looking at the photos alone.

The book has a gallery in the back and an index, two of my favorites. This book is pure and simple eye candy. Take a look.

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Block-a-Long #49: Table Squares

Table Squares #49
Table Squares #49

This block is related to #28. I am still intrigued by series of squares.

This block could be made with a group of scrappy squares, monochromatic squares or two different fabrics, like I have done in the example.

Directions for Table Squares #49.

If you have made blocks or a quilt from these patterns, please post a link in the comments section of the relevant block or on the AQ Block-a-Long Flickr group. I would love to see what you have made.