Monday, June 28, 2010

Jewelry Inspirations by Sherri Haab Review

I have been remiss! I thought I'd reviewed this new book a couple of months ago, but when I went through my blog tweaking keywords here and there, there it was, saved as a draft. (I blame the end of the semester. But here it is now -- better late than never?).
Oh, and I saw copies at Barnes and Noble the other day, set up in a nice little display at the top of the craft racks, so I would assume you could find it at the other chains too.
First off, I have to admit, I'm the hardest person to impress with a jewelry book, partly because I'm not a beginner any more, and partly because I prefer to sell stuff that is based on my own ideas. So I like a book that shows me new ways of doing things that I can use as a starter idea for my own work. And this book delivers on that count.
Coincidentally, I had a big bag of silver filigree bezel findings that I was getting ready to donate -- but I kept them after reading this book, so I could play with Sherri's polymer clay and beaded solstice charm idea. Putting a charm w/loop under the clay is a great idea for turning the bezel into a pendant.
She covered a lot of bases, and a lot of materials, which is why this book is 150+ pages. I like that she did not devote too many of them to how to use the materials -- some books overdo that part in my opinion, but Jewelry Inspirations covered that subject just right I think. I like that she devoted a few pages to finding inspiration, and being in your studio. After seeing all her little bottles of beads, I found myself pulling out all my antique and vintage bottles and fitting them with corks, then filling them up with vintage leftovers such as little glass pearls.
I had never seen her method for making a 3D (2-sided) silicon mold. I've seen other ways of doing them, but Sherri's makes a lot more sense to me.
This is also the first book where I've seen epoxy resin clay used. Hopefully it will be available locally at some point, but for now you can order it from the Internet. You can tint the clay, form it, or press it into molds and it cures (dries) overnight. Sherri tints it and embeds objects in it in her projects.
Sherri uses simple knotting in several projects -- I liked that the projects are simple but tasteful and her intro instructions are very clear. My favorite knotted jewelry project was her Sea Glass Image Pendants, because the cord was a bit thick and looks nice with or without beads woven in.
Silhouette projects seem to be very retro trendy these days, and, again, I appreciated that she used jewelry stampings in her Silhouette charm bracelet (since I seem to have pounds of stampings around here).
She also plays with papier clay to make pins -- her theme is Halloween, but I tried the project with crows, our perennial neighbors here on the Rio Grande. This project would be fairly easy for kids too, I think.
Her bead and wire jewelry designs were not what inspired me most but only because I know those techniques; however, her colorways and use of chunky gemstones were lovely, and caused me to paw through my semi-precious drawers for pretty colors like hers.
There was a fun cracker jack charm bracelet -- you can, of course, substitute your own collectibles, but I just wanted to mention that you can buy Cracker Jack charms on eBay. Sherri pairs hers with a substantial silver chain that really elevates the look of the charms.
By far my favorite projects were the resin ideas. I've seen other books on this subject but could never see myself wearing candy-mold jewelry in a million years. It never occurred to me to make my own molds, as Sherri does.
And finally, being a funky found object and recycled art kind of gal, I really like the braided torn handkerchief bracelet. It seemed sturdy and adaptable to many variations, and I plan to try it down at OFFCenter, where we tear strips of fabric into "pitchy patchy" every summer in preparation for the Folk Art Festival. Sherri's technique would come in handy for ornaments and other hanging things too, not just jewelry.

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