Beading (2)

My reviews are listed below, but you can also click on this link to buy & find reviews of even more Beading and Beadwork Books

(Titles are listed A-Z by author. Check side bar for links to book reviews covering different stitch techniques.)

SPELLBINDING BEAD JEWELLERY by JULIE & CHRISTINE ASHFORD

Okay, in essence, this is just another collection of bead jewellery projects.  But before you shrug and turn away, it is a very good one.  The projects range through all different skill levels (clearly marked, so you know which ones to attempt!), but even the simplest ones look very elegant and/or intricate – ie something you might still want to make/wear, rather than just a beginner’s project to skip over.  For beginner’s, the projects in each section tend to graduate in difficulty, so it is possible to learn techniques with a smaller, simpler design, but build the skills necessary to tackle the larger pieces.  The techniques and projects use a mix of seed beads, glass beads, semi-precious stones, macrame and knitted wire.

As a project book, what makes this one stand out is its theme.  Each series of projects is related to or inspired by a character from magic or mythology including Gaia, Persephone, Titania and the Snow Queen, and each character is given an introduction covering their story, and any other qualities/associations that might be relevant.  As an introduction to mythology it is thin, but as an aside in a craft book, it’s an original idea, and creates a nice feeling of coherence between the pieces.

The projects are beautiful (if on the whole a little elaborate for everyday wear!).  Within the selection of projects for each character the projects tend to be colour themed, but an ‘Inspirations’ section follwing each sequence of projects suggests variations in colour and style, with additional tips and instructions.  In fact, on almost every page there are extra snippets of advice, giving even more suggestions for adaptation, or just help with a particular technique.  (Additional mythological snippets are also included.)  The step-by-step instructions are practical and easy to follow without feeling too prescribed, and additional materials/techniques info is provided at the end for the very beginner.

Although I’m not really into jewellery-making, I did think this was a very good book – quite inspirational, despite being a project book.  My own favourite pieces were the quite dramatic Morgan le Fay projects, but there’s a range of styles inluded so there should be something to suit most tastes.  I’ve knitted before, so the knitted wire projects hold some allure, and the comparative simplicity of the Aurora projects are also tempting… This may actually be the book that inspires me to have a go!

THE BEADER’S COLOR PALETTE by MARGIE DEEB

This is a stunning book. Beginning with a brief introduction explaining how to develop a colour scheme from a photograph, the bulk of the book is then dedicated to demonstrating the principles described through example. Twenty projects are featured in the book, which are great additional examples, but it is the analysed abstraction of colour throughout that fascinates me.

The book is split into sections by starting points of inspiration: the elements, different countries/cultures, art, and the natural world. Each page has small photos to illustrate colour schemes found within that environ, a beaded piece (which demonstrates how those colour schemes can be adapted to beadwork through a range of astonishing examples, using various bead-types and techniques), and a range of colour diagrams with Delica Bead number references alongside a brief analysis of the composition, colour harmony (etc) of the chosen source picture.

An additional gallery of worked pieces with photo and brief analysis of its inspiration and adaptation follows, then the statutory beading techniques and materials section. This is clearly not a book for beginners, but a book packed with inspiration and practical examples for budding designers to learn from. The only criticism I could level at this book is that it is something of a one-trick pony: it has one basic premise, which is repeated and demonstrated through marginally different contexts. But it is such a lusciously presented, wonderful trick, that I really can’t hold that against it.

And although this book is obviously intended for beaders, and all examples of the principles expounded are wrought in beadwork, I do genuinely believe that any crafter interested in the interpretation of colour through design will find this book relevant, whatever their medium.

I haven’t read the following books, but they look as though they might be interesting:

THE BEADER’S GUIDE TO COLOR by MARGIE DEEB

PAGAN PRAYER BEADS by JOHN MICHAEL GREER

MARKETING AND SELLING YOUR HAND-MADE JEWELRY by VIKI LAREAU

A STRING AND A PRAYER: How to make and use prayer beads by ELEANOR WILEY

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