Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Book Review: Links by Jean Yates

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.

Thanks for visiting!


Jean Katherine Baldridge said...

Melissa -- What a lovely review.I will treasure it! Thank you!



Ring by Ring Designs said...

I too, own Jean's book, Links by Jean Yates, and have thoroughly enjoyed it. The tea cups bracelet is so cute! Her blog is a delight to read also, though I don't really "get" her dolls even though they are really cute. Just me, Jean!

Melissa J. Lee said...

Jean, you are more than welcome. I love your book and you, of course, are an inspiration to us all!

Hi Bev! I feel that I can live vicariously through Jean with her doll collection without driving my husband insane by starting yet another new collection! Although, I have to say, we visited KidRobot when we were in NYC (a mecca of Japanese "art toys") and it's all I can do not to start collecting some of those cute figurines.

Linda Augsburg said...

I have GOT to find this book and check it out. I love chain maille and haven't done it for a while now. Thanks for filling me in, Melissa!