Book Review: Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry

Showcase 500 Beaded Jewelry: Photographs of Beautiful Contemporary BeadworkShowcase 500 Beaded Jewelry: Photographs of Beautiful Contemporary Beadwork by Ray Hemachandra

This is another gorgeous ‘500’ title from Lark Books. More eye candy and inspiration for all kinds of creative people.

This book starts off with an introduction by author Ray Hemachandra. The introduction is interesting, because Ray mentions that beading is one of the oldest forms of creative expression and then moves on to mention changes to the art form’s professionalism in the last 20 years, among them social media, Etsy, copyright considerations and online connections. While this is not the first time I have read something about online communities and social media in a print publication I notice that the conversation is becoming more prominent.

Mr. Hemachandra gives an excellent description of the book, which I could not write more eloquently. He says “The book includes so many beaders with wonderful personal stories to share and that I’d like to share…but this isn’t that book. That’s another book to come soon, I hope. This book instead tells its stories through its photographs of jewelry….”. This book, as I said, is a feast for the eyes and will provide so much inspiration you will go to bed at night with your head spinning. You will have to make up your own stories about the artists and artworks, however.

The majority of the photos depict necklaces and bracelets. And in this department extreme beading is not an overstatement. I thought Kissy Fish was pretty extreme beading, and, perhaps, it is on a quilt, but I scattered a few beads across the surface in comparison to some of the amazing works in this book.

Neutrals such as bronze, grey, black, gold, pearl and silver dominate the colors, as jewelry tends to be made predominantly with those colors. There are a few glimmers of color on each page. Susan Blessinger’s Impending Bloom necklace looks very neutral in color in the full photo, but the detail shot shows dragonfly-esque pearlescent colors that are not visible in the full photo. Jamie Cloud Eakin’s Bling, pg.76, sparkles with prisms and crytals reflecting magenta and purples, evne on the book page. Of course, the pieces with pure beads and no metallic parts have more color.

There is a pretty, but serious necklace (You & Eye by Rachel Nelson-Smith, pg.116) with very realistic looking eyes. The necklace is more of a collar done in pure white with the eyes embedded in the surface beading. I am not a big fan of fake eyes, because they often look freaky, but the eyes in this piece look very real. I kept looking at the photo and waiting for one to blink.

One piece I noticed that was not a necklace or bracelet was a kind of long sleeved shrug (for those of you who knit), pg.118. It is called Dragon Lady and is a garment. I never thought of using beads to make a wearable accessory.

One of my favorite pieces is Jennifer Cameron’s Carnival (pg.75), because of the lovely combination of blues, greens and purples.

Look at the shapes, materials and colors and be inspired.

Thanks to Lark Books for sending this book to me to review!

View all my reviews