When Lark Books sent out a call for book reviewers for their Jewelry and Beading books, I was so excited to answer - not only am I passionate about jewelry (and beads in particular, of course) but I adore books and reading. I am self taught in many ways, and books have shaped my life.
The first book Lark sent to me was a little daunting, due to the fact that I have never worked in metal jewelry at all, but I was transfixed by the images on the cover of Heat, Color, Set & Fire and dove in eagerly.
Mary Hettmansperger, a 28 year veteran in fiber and metal arts, has done an excellent job of showing the way in this book, showing the novice techniques such as how to start off by cutting your metals, beginning wire working, cold connections, and riveting, and then taking you by the hand to show you the wonderful textures you can add to bring your materials to life. My favorite part of the book is where she shows you how to use and add color to your metal designs - and even uses colored pencils to gorgeous effect, a method I never would have connected with metals!
Mary has a unique, celebratory and primitive style all her own that I really admire. Working with beads, I have found that an organic, free style can be almost harder to achieve than a set, finished and uniform look. She describes her work as being a conversation between materials, techniques and creative desires... I can see all of that in her projects and finished work, and what conversations they are!
Below are just a few of my favorite projects from her book, and she shows you step by step how to achieve these beautiful results yourself:
Dots and Loops Necklace and Variations (pg. 56); this project features balling wire, punching, wirework, heat patina and forging, just to name a few techniques. I think the result looks like dragon or fish scales and I love it!
The Embossed Pendant & Earrings project (pg. 60) uses cutting metal, embossing, stitching and wirework to fabulous effect.
Green Enamel Necklace (pg. 108) shows glorious torch fired heat enameling as well as tab bezeling, and I just love the texture she achieved in this.
My all time favorite from this book is the Grout & Silver Pendant (pg. 85) - you have never seen grout look this good!!! The variations show how differently you can make this look, all it takes is your imagination!
If you're thinking of turning your hand to metals, or have already started to work with them and want to add color and new techniques to your metals skill set, I highly recommend this book. It is comprehensive and well thought out, and the directions are very clear and well illustrated. My only wish, as someone who has never worked with any metal at all, was that there had been a tiny bit of a glossary of terms in the beginning, as I sometimes had to read on for a little while before I found the definition of several things.
Click HERE to take you to the Amazon listing, or read on to the bottom for a chance to win a copy of this fabulous book!
All you have to do to enter the book giveaway is leave a comment below about one of your goals with metal work (even if it's wirework) or a comment on some metal work you have already done - I'd love a link to check it out! One comment only, please, to make it easier for me to pick the winner, and I will pick that winner and post on Saturday, May 12. Comments on my review are welcome too - I'd love to know how I did for my first one! :)
(Disclaimer: this book was provided to me free of charge with the understanding that I would give my honest opinion of the material presented. I receive no recompense for my opinion.)