Thursday, August 14, 2008

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.

Thanks for stopping by!


Ring by Ring Designs said...

Thanks for doing some book reviews. There are so many books out there, some good, some not so good. I seem to wonder, should I spend the money on a book or beads? Your review of Tammy's book is very helpful. I read Tammy's newsletter and much of her other writings and enjoy that but reviews tell more than - good or bad. Beginner, advanced and so forth.
I will look forward to your other reviews.

Melissa J. Lee said...

Thanks, Bev - I appreciate your feedback. I'm going to be making some changes to the blog in the next month or two - it's great to know that you find book reviews helpful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for the review!

Melissa J. Lee said...

You're welcome, Tammy - I really do love the book! And thank you for using my pieces in your Gallery section!