Sunday, May 22, 2011

Book Review: Chain and Bead Jewelry

The full title is Chain and Bead Jewelry: Geometric Connections, by Scott David Plumlee and it's chock full of truly wearable stuff. I have to admit I'm not a huge fan of chain maille jewelry, but these projects were actually tasteful and interesting -- I love the geometry of the finished pieces, which present interesting shapes that catch your attention without being too bulky or genre-specific.

Large, readable pictures accompany every step, and the pictures are accompanied by clear text, materials lists, etc. I have a lot of trouble deciphering chain maille instructions from text and/or photos (do much better when someone shows me in person), but these larger-than-life photos really helped. In some cases you do have to refer to the front of the book for basics, but for the most part, everything you need is right on the page you're working on.

The book is organized into technique and shape sections (Byzantine, Tripoli, Triangle, Pentagon, etc), and within each section are "matching" projects -- usually necklace, bracelet and earrings, but some sections also include other projects, such as key fobs and clasps.

So I was thrilled to be able to try two pairs of earrings (still haven't gotten around to the larger projects) using materials I had on hand from a previous chain class.

I guess we are spoiled in Albuquerque to have so many jewelry supply places around town, but even if you don't, you can order materials online or make them yourself.

P.S. Here's a tip I hadn't thought to include in my previous book reviews, probably because it's more necessary in this book to follow the step by step instructions. I use a plastic, adjustable, easel book holder to prop up this book and hold the page while I'm working. I got it at an office supply store years ago for use with computer software books, and now it works great for this type of thing...


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