Book Review- Bead and Wire Jewelry- Exposed

Posted on July 26, 2009. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , |


by Margot Potter, Fernando DaSilva and Katie Hacker





At first glance, you might think this book is “just another How-To book,” in a sea of instructionals; but what you would miss by passing this one over is a myriad of fun, flirty and inventive designs.  Designs by three innovative and well-respected designers in the industry who have succeeded in putting an interesting spin on creating with wire and crystals.  Projects that are balanced not gaudy and in color schemes and arrangements that will appeal to anyone’s inner designer or inner diva.  In other words, you don’t have to know much ‘bout nothin’ to appreciate these projects!  This book is just plain eye candy! I had a hard time picking only a few favorites as there are so many yummy ways they represent wire and crystals; I could go on for hours.  No really, I could.


Margot Potter is one of my favorite designers and has been for over 4 years.  My discovery of her “Impatient Beader” series made me a believer in that funky styles work for everyone-no matter what your particular personal style, budget or interest level. That and her quirky turn of phrases just appeals to my sense of adventure.  Fernando DeSilva is a force to be reckoned with in the designing arena.  His creations are gloriously rich and imaginative, and have the intensity to make you feel empowered without feeling overdone; an artist with an eye for drama but without the queen.  Katie Hacker has a flair for tasteful, romantic details but her designs will by no means fade into the background; they radiate delight. Altogether, this collection of designs is creatively diverse with lines that are crisp and catchy on the whole- a tempting treat you can’t resist.  I know I sound like I’m describing an assortment of gourmet confections, but reading through this book was a big treat for me.  I could use analogies of chocolates and feeling good about yourself but I won’t sidetrack the reason I’m here.


Now wire and crystals in general seem to have a restricted range of emotion to the untrained eye.  Personally, I am a firm subscriber to the “jeans and chandelier earrings” way of thinking, but hey, I do not believe I am in the “majority” category.  In my humble opinion of the majority- wire is wire and crystals are, well, crystals.  Wire as being the backbone of a piece is run of the mill.  In Bead and Wire Jewelry- Exposed, wire is bringing color and architecture and not just supporting the materials; a wire’s use is kicked up a notch and made to pull its weight, forgiving the pun, and add to a project’s beauty. Also in conventional thinking, crystals are just for displaying opulence and garnering attention.  Now before you decry my seemingly unfeeling statements, let me say that I have been a fan of Swarovski crystals (now referred to as Crystallized Swarovski Elements) for many years.  But on the whole, CSE’s connotation is an almost unattainable glory reserved for proms and weddings.  Not a negative per se, but that can be limiting to some people.  In B&WJE, the mystique is pulled aside to reveal a gathering of great designs.  Some are understated, some are bolder but all are self-assured and USABLE designs that can be worn in a host of applications from casual to formal. Truth to tell, this book has positively altered my impression of “boring” memory wire forever! 


To the beginner level crafter, B&WJE’s instructions are clear and have great photographs. This doesn’t mean it will not appeal to a more experienced aficionado of jewelry design.   I know I can see myself taking the architectural aspects of some of these wonderful designs and use that to gain a different wisdom with what I create.  This book gives terrific examples of color, structure and movement again appealing to the beginner as well as the more advanced. Moreover, I see a beginner using this book to create a “better than ordinary” project for themselves as well as gaining confidence enough to gift a loved one.  By using findings such as crimps and clasps, beads and simple tools, the beginner can feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in their projects.  Plus, the near absence of creating loops, a fear I’ve heard mentioned many times, is a positive point.  By working in stiffer stinging wire, finished components and the use of jumprings, could give beginners more confidence in their abilities at completing a quality project.  Confidence that could propel them to experiment more with materials they didn’t think was possible for them.


My genuine favorites are Concentricity, Fireworks and Myth and Legend…and I have more, but I’ll only reveal my best favorite from each designer.  Half the reason for the delay in writing this review is my simply not being able to put the book down; there are SO many wonderful creations to ogle and drool over! 


I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who is interested in trying their hand in making jewelry for themselves or as gifts- easily.  I would also recommend this book to the intermediate designers as there are some lessons to be learned for you as well.  ON the whole, Beads & Wire Jewelry- Exposed just screams how much FUN making jewelry can really be!

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