I thought I was off the jewelry book reviewers list, but I received two books last week. Lark was so great about supporting the Boxing Day Sew-in that I just can’t say no to reviewing this book. Like the other books in this series, they have a section on tools and supplies as well as a section on techniques. Both are well illustrated. I particularly like the font and layout chosen in this book. There are a couple of things that are really great in these sections. One is the ‘designer’s tip’, which points out, for example, what wire to chose. I also like the Wire Hardness Scale image (pg.10). It is a good illustration that probably would have taken about a 1,000 words and some hard science like physics to explain. 😉
Some of the illustrations are photographs and others are drawings. The mix is a nice change from other books I have seen. These sections are pretty short and then the author gets right into the projects.
I am not a big fan of wire jewelry for myself because of metal allergies, but I have to admit being tempted by some of the lovely shapes. the very first project, the Red Bone Necklace (pg.18), has a great clasp and I like the beads. The Silver & Moonstone Drops (earrings, pg.20) are beautiful and delicate. They would be great with a creamy summer dress. The Asymmetrical Amethyst Necklace (pg.74) reminds me of my aunt. I think she would like it very much. I also like the Star Swirl Earrings (pg.80). They are cheerful and happy. Who can’t like purple wire?
There are a wide variety of designs, shapes and different jewelry in the book. Some have a lot of wirework. Other projects have wire only to hold the piece together. The author also uses different colors of beads and wire, which adds to the variety of projects.
There is an index (YAY!), a list of designers and more about them as well as a wire gauge chart.
Weeks Ringle wrote “Experiment. Work with small prototypes that are a minimal investment of time and money – don’t get overwhelmed the thought of a big project. Experiment with different types of stitching, mix genres of fabric, play with unlikely color combinations, make sample pieces that are entirely unlike anything you’ve ever made before[.]”
My mantra is “there is always more fabric”. And there is. Really. Trust me on this one.
I like to say that there is always more fabric, because I want to remember it myself and also to remind my students that if they screw something up that it isn’t the end of the world. There is more fabric.
Why not try embroidery?
Why not try thread painting?
Why not try fusing? Or curved piecing? or taking a Craftsy class? Why not?
While I don’t always want to do something, because the technique is messy and I don’t know it well enough to contain the messiness, I have found ways around that ‘phobia.’ I take classes. I have to say that I have been most inspired when I have taken a random class. Sometimes I’ll take classes, because a friend wants someone to go with; sometimes I’ll take a class, because the time is convenient. I have found so much inspiration in these happy accidents.
As Weeks says, work small. Remember the journal quilts? You can embroider a whole quilt in a couple of evenings, if the quilt is 8.5″x 11″. I also like to try new materials and techniques on ATCs (2.5″x3.5″) works of art.
You don’t have to leave your family or pets and quit your job to experiment. Experimentation can be as simple as adding a new color to your palette, trying a new shape in a block, follow a tutorial for putting in a zipper or a new technique for making Flying Geese for Triangle Squares. A lot of experimentation doesn’t come out exactly as planned. These experiments can become bags or donation quilts or pet beds or the most amazing start to something wonderful. There is usually no waste, but the learning process is very important. Failure is part of the learning process.
*No copyright claimed on Modern Quilt Studio image. thanks to Bill Kerr and Weeks Ringle for allowing me to use it. See the original blog post on the Craft Nectar blog.