Book Review: Showcase 500 Rings

Showcase 500 Rings: New Directions in Art JewelryShowcase 500 Rings: New Directions in Art Jewelry by Marthe Le Van

This is another book I received from Lark Crafts. Thanks, Lark! This particular book is another gem from the Lark 500 series. I love this series, because it is pure eye candy – no patterns, no basics, just fabulous photos of amazing pieces.

As I have mentioned many times, I am not a jeweler, however, I always love the opportunity to review shapes and motifs in a different format. I think it can inform my quiltmaking.

As the title advertises there are photos of 500 rings. I should say ‘rings’ because some of these pieces are more sculpture than the conventional idea of a wearable ring. I believe that artists in this medium are not making wearable art; they are making sculpture just as quilt artists are not making bed quilts. As I paged through the book, I was immediately struck by different shapes and motifs on the pieces: circles, drops, leaves, shells, confections and many others.

I also noticed the variety of materials. I see felted wool (??), knitted fibers, broderie perse type fabric pieces, paper, photographs, glass, silk, a clothespin, along with the normal metals and stones.

The contents page sports a photo of a ring that looks like a series of cross sections of colored pencils (also on pg.268), which drew me in right away. It is called 11 Ring 4 and is by Maria Cristina Bellucci. There is a piece that is morphing from ring into a glove (pg.80), which I think is an interesting evolution of this medium.

One of my favorites is Links Ring by Uranit Bar-Nes (pg.220). Of course the color (a sea blue) is one of my favorites, but I also like the color’s combination with silver and blue zircons. I also like Garden Pond Ring by Aurelio Castano (pg.216), which is a purely beaded piece with a huge stone in the middle. Another duo was Tangle Rings by Bridget Catchpole (pg.212). They are my aqua (tending towards turquoise), light green and white pieces where the shapes look like something that would be on top of a cake. The circles squished next to each other in Vina Rust’s Ring #1: Stained Cell Series (pg.171) is also a very appealing design.

If you need some inspiration, regardless of your primary medium, this book will provide you with some shapes, motifs and textures that will reinvigorate your artwork.

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Block-a-Long #53: Four Columns with Squares

4 Columns with Squares
4 Columns with Squares

This block is related to last week’s block, #52 as well as Corner Squares in that I am working with squares and tall rectangles. I can really see this one going well with 2.5″ squares in the center. If anyone is interested I will post a pattern for that size (about 8″) as well.

Directions for 4 Columns with Squares are included.

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.