I've been meaning to review Margot Potter's new book, Beyond The Bead: Making Jewelry With Unexpected Finds, for a couple weeks now but kept putting it off, as there is so much information packed into this lovely tome that I wanted to just kept wanting to sit down to read and re-read it.
I do a little mixed-media work myself, but I am by no means an expert. In her new book, Ms. Potter covers a really nice range of techniques, some of which are familiar to me and some of which I am now dying to try (and have put on my longish list of things to do). From etching glass to resists, from making beads with embossing enamel to techniques for jazzing up polymer clay, from working with paper clay to hammering metal, this book covers it all. The breadth of projects is amazing and each one is covered in meticulous detail. The project layout is very clear and each project is very thoughtfully and well-written. I am particularly appreciative of the sheer number of photos that Ms. Potter has carefully included to illustrate each technique. I also love the fact that the author has included a thoughtful tip with each project to remind the reader (oh, so important in my mind) that the book's projects are just the start of the great adventure and that creative inspiration lies at one's fingertips.
The projects themselves are beautifully constructed and will appeal to a wide range of tastes - some are romantic in flavor, some baroque, some have supreme vintage appeal, others are downright quirky and witty. They are all gorgeous pieces - the author has an eye for assemblage that I really envy. My particular favorites here are the necklace of candy-colored Buddha head pendants (made from ultra-thick embossing enamel - a technique I would love to try), an acrylic necklace with a lovely inked acrylic star pendant focal and a funky pin made from a painted wooden flower and collage-filled watch face.
But wait, there's more! Frankly, the above is enough for me to keep this book in a prominent position on my craft shelf, but add in Ms. Potter's inimicable, warm writing style and you have a book I'll return to again and again, because it's just fun to do it. Reading anything Ms. Potter writes is like chatting with an old friend - and the fact that this old friend wants to spend time talking with me about making great beads and jewelry, well, what could be better?
If you would like to get to know Ms. Potter and her work even better (and why wouldn't you, after this review, eh? Eh?!), she has a new video out about the new Yudu, a silkscreening system:
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.