Book Review: Picture Yourself Creating Metal Clay Jewelry
Well, I've decided to start something new on the blog. It occurred to me that, although I talk about my favorite poets and inspiration from literature, I hardly ever discuss the craft books I read and own. I am both a voracious reader and a packrat. This basically means that we have books (and magazines) piled up in free corners of our house, because I keep running out of space on the bookshelves to store them. (The Husband and I have some disagreement on what I feel is the simplest solution to this problem - buy more bookcases, of course. The fact that we have to have them attached to the wall with straps designed for earthquakes to avoid accidents with the Short One may have something to do with his reluctance to admit that I am right, but I'm not absolutely sure.) Anyway, I've decided to try my hand at simple (if not downright simple-minded) reviews of some of the useful books in my library.
I haven't yet discussed Tammy Powley's new book on metal clay, Picture Yourself Creating Metal Clay Jewelry, so I'm going to start with that today. Now, I have to be up front, here - I have two necklaces in the Gallery section of this book, and Tammy also used photos of my (messy) workspace and (messier) kiln in the set-up chapter of the book. So, some may think that I'm predisposed to like this book (which is probably true). But, goodness, what's not to like?
I have said before that, when I decided to try using metal clay initially, I bought one instructional book and one DVD. They were both very good: I do (and have) recommended them elsewhere. I have to say, though, I really wish I had also had this book when I started out. You can tell that Tammy is a teacher at heart. She is very good at putting herself in a beginner's shoes - she gives a tremendous amount of information on all aspects of setting up to work with metal clay, and everything is very clearly set out. Her introductory chapters on tools, supplies and set-up are extensive - probably the most extensive I've ever read (and while I haven't read every single metal clay book currently in publication, I have read quite a lot of them).
Her projects are also very simple, well-designed, and well thought out for the beginner. (I should note, here, that the projects are geared for the beginner equipped with low-fire metal clay and a torch or hot pot.) I particularly like the one entitled "Star Attraction" - a fun bracelet filled with dangly little metal clay star charms. You can see a teenie photo of the finished bracelet on the cover shot, above. This is a nice, five-finger exercise in working with metal clay, a project that will allow a beginner to practice basic skills and get a feel for working with the clay and some of the tools (here, the star-shaped punch, for example). At the same time, the design is solid. I, personally, find the charm bracelet really cute and would wear it with the blue cotton sundress I own that, alas, it's almost too late in the year to wear now.
But why rely on my opinion alone? Tammy has a free project from the book up on her weblog, "The Crafty Princess Diaries". I encourage you to check it out and judge for yourself.
I am an intellectual property lawyer by training and have a background in English Renaissance literature. I love science fiction. I primarily watch Sesame Street these days and find myself humming "Pop Goes the Weasel" at odd moments (guess why). I can happily eat ice cream in the middle of winter when the wind chill is 20 below 0. I have been making beads and designing jewelry since 2007.
2010 - Winner, First Place, British Bead Awards, Other Finished Bead Jewellery 2010 - Winner, Second Place, British Bead Awards, Metal Clay Jewellery 2010 - Winner, Second Place, Bead Dreams, Metal Clay
2010 - Grand Prize, Gold Medal Winner, Fire Mountain Gems and Beads, Metal Clay, Metal Beads, Wirework and Chain Jewelry-Making Contest
2010 - Finalist, Bead Star, Stones, Plastics and Designs with Heart Categories
2009 - Winner, First Place, British Bead Awards, Metal Clay
2009 - Winner, Second Place, British Bead Awards, Beyond Glass, Handmade Beads and Components
2009 - Winner, Second Place, Bead Arts Awards, Necklace
2009 - Finalist, Bead Dreams, Metal Clay
2008 - Finalist Fire Mountain Gems and Beads Beading Contest, Metal Clay
2008 - Finalist, Bead Star, Pearls
A word about copyright
As indicated in the copyright notice, the contents of this blog are copyright by me. To the extent that instructions to make jewelry, beads, knit items or other instructions are included in this blog, they are free for you to use to make the projects for personal use. They should not be used for commercial purposes, ie, to make items for resale.