Thursday, April 23, 2009


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:


Margot Potter said...


Wow. Thank you. I worked really hard on this book and it's a true honor to have an artist of your caliber sing its praises. I'm so glad people are enjoying this book. It was a labor of love.

Thanks for posting our video too! You're the best!


RupaB said...

Hey Melissa...the book IS JUST awesome (nothing less can be expected from our own divine Ms.M)! You won't believe it but the project that caught my eye were the UTEE buddha's and I said I've got to get me some of that real soon! Boy do we think alike........