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Click to Order From Amazon! Making Beautiful Beads
Glass, Metal, Polymer Clay, Fiber

Edited by Suzanne Tourtillot
Lark Books, May 2002
List Price: $27.95
Discount Price: $19.57

Reviewed by Martha Aleo

In a recent issue of the Polyinformer, there was an interesting article on "Cross Training" that emphasized the value of exploring mediums other than polymer clay for ideas and inspiration. If you are interested in cross training, this is the book for you.

I have never seen a book that covers a variety of bead making mediums so well. There are sections on making beads with fiber, including paper and felt, polymer clay, metal and glass. Each chapter is written by an expert in that medium. Aside from a short chapter at the end, there is not a great deal if information on making finished pieces of jewelry, but there are plenty of other books available on that subject. The focus here is on making beads.

Irene Semanchuk Dean is the author of the polymer clay section. She has done an excellent job of covering a variety of techniques including mokume gane, layered translucent beads, faux ivory, basic caning, carving, Skinner Blends, Natasha Beads, shaping and finishing, in a mere 30 pages. She provides solid basic information making this an appropriate source for a beginner. More advanced clayers will like it too, because of the beautiful project photographs and gallery.

Kimberly Adams, who wrote the chapter, "Introduction to Lampworked Glass," has also done an excellent job. My one criticism is that the reader should be advised to take a one or two day workshop with an experienced lampworker before attempting to tackle the projects in this book. There are simply too many safety issues involved, and a newbie really needs to see how it's done. That aside, this chapter contains a thorough explanation of basic lampworking techniques using a Hot Head torch. Adams explains how to make five different bead designs incorporating frit, stringers and metal leaf, and explains the use of various tools including rakes and grooved marvers. The gallery pictures are gorgeous.

The chapter on Metal Beads is a survey of metal working techniques including soldering, sawing and piercing, wire twisting and chasing. Some of these, such as soldering and pickling, should first be attempted under the supervision of someone with experience. This issue aside, the metals chapter is a good, basic introduction for someone who is not familiar with the subject, and well work checking out.

The remaining chapters on making beads from fiber, paper, and plaster are lots of fun. There are basic directions for making your own paper and felt which you can do with a few store-bought supplies and house hold objects.

The editor of Making Beautiful Beads has done a first class job of pulling together a lot of seemingly unrelated information and giving it a unifying theme.

Readers' Comments!

"This is the very first book I ever purchased prior to discovering the benefits of polymer clay. I personally found it informative and inspiring. A welcomed addition to the collection of anyone interested in beading with different mediums... from novice to expert. Bravo!"

Jenn Edwards
"This book is the one I was waiting for! I usually love the mix media techniques and found in this book great ideas to "stir" together in order to get unusal jewelry pieces, made of polymer clay, paper and felt. This book opened my mind towards new mixtures and I would like to thank all their authors for sharing their skills, their pedagogy and their beautiful smiles on the pics ! "

Chris Lajoinie

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