Saturday, October 1, 2011

Book Review: Jewelry Upcycled!

Here's another fun project book by Sherri Haab, this time with Michelle Haab. Together they explore the latest jewelry making styles and techniques, this time with an emphasis on using found and recycled materials. Although not the only title on this topic, Sherri manages, as usual, to create unique, wearable and tastefully designed jewelry items.

The first section, covers tools and basic techniques. The second section covers basic tools and supplies for working with metal -- including recycled metals, and the projects here include cold metal techniques like rivets and eyelets. One project shows how to use shapes cut from old tins in a project I could have sworn was guilloche when I first saw it! As always, I like Sherri's fresh takes on already known ideas, like working with old silverware. She creates a pretty pearl and silver spoon pendant that would be a real hit as a wedding gift.

I wouldn't have bought the book for the first two sections since I already know most of the techniques but the coverage is perfect for a beginner who needs to stock their studio for taking their jewelry making to the next level.

Remember telephone wire? It's in here. Want to recycle your old credit cards? Sherri shows how to layer the cut, embossed shapes with textured copper. You can make clear plastic soda bottle jewelry that looks like glass (but weighs and costs less!). There's a crocheted plastic bag bracelet that is sure to be a hit with my local OFFCenter artist pals, who live and breathe recycled art. I could live without the shampoo bottle charms, but the idea did inspire me to pay closer attention to the colors of the products I select! And before I throw out that last box of cassette tapes that didn't go at my last yard sale, I'll remember to turn OFFCenter on to the idea of braiding that stuff a la kumihumo.

After an easy stroll through plastics, Sherri heads into heavier territory in the next section, working with recycled glass and ceramics. The drilled and tumbled glass pendant project, and the soldered china plate charm are pretty standard fare but in Sherri's book you get step-by-step pictures to show exactly how it's done. A guest artist also shows how to make a mold, smash glass, and fuse it in a kiln.

My favorite section covered upcycled fabric and leather. Here you can recycle your t-shirts into roses, and rivet an old leather belt into an embellished cuff bracelet. I love the pins made from sweather felt (at last, some beads!), and the found object bottle necklace with stamped metal and cowboy boot was another favorite.

Did I mention that each section is followed by a gallery of work from other artists? It's quite an inspiration to see how other people transform basura -- trash -- into pretty treasures we can wear.

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