Back in May, as a Mother's Day gift, I was given the opportunity to pick up a couple of craft books from my wish list, and I chose two that have since turned into my version of cult favorites. I'll be reviewing the other book at a later date, but I did want to tell you that the first one I chose was Links: Inspired Bead and Wire Jewelry Creations by Jean Yates.
I have to be frank - I bought this book because I like Jean Yates' style. As someone who reads beading magazines, I see her work everywhere - and her designs are always polished and eye-catching. At the same time, you can tell that they are well-thought out and eminently wearable. The designs in this book are no different (which didn't surprise me at all).
I was pleasantly surprised, however, to see what a wonderful showcase the book is for the breadth of her work - from whimsical, to romantic, to ethnic, even to a little sly, these pieces cover the full spectrum of creativity. Because I have very eclectic tastes, I really love the variety, and I find inspiration in all of them. (I also find inspiration in the stories she tells about each piece - Jean is a born storyteller.) My favorite pieces in the book are the ones with a bit of humor in them. The first is the perfect tea-time charm bracelet made of brightly-colored lampworked teacups finished with a toggle clasp in the shape of a teapot and spoon. The other favorite is a classic chain maille bracelet finished with a witty twist - a "naughty" sterling word charm and a padlock-style clasp.
As far as the book's layout and organization are concerned, the pieces are well-photographed, the instructions are well-written and the supporting project photos are plentiful and extremely clear. I've been wanting to try chain maille for some time (which, alas, remains on my "list of things to do" for the moment). There are a number of lovely chain maille projects in this book of different degrees of complexity, including one example of a Japanese chain maille pattern that I find very attractive. Again, the description and photos of the arrangement of rings, and the process of building the chain are very clear.
In short, I think this book is a keeper and is one I will be returning to time and again (including, hopefully, to make some chain maille). I highly recommend it. But, as always, why take my word alone for this? To see examples of her beautiful work and spend time with the lovely artist herself, please visit her website and blog.
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.