Sunday, July 15, 2007

Beautiful beads abound. . .

. . . in Carol Blackburn's book, Making Polymer Clay Beads.

(Yes, I'm writing about books again, for the second post in a row. I have a group of subjects I've been meaning to write about for a while, but I'm just getting around to it, now. . .)

I really love this book. If you're polymer-clay-bead-makin' fanatic, you need to see this book. If nothing else, try to get it from a library so you can "test drive" it. But honestly, if you love bead-making and have the spare cash, I don't think you'll be disappointed if you buy it sight unseen.

Some of the things I love about Making Polymer Clay Beads include the following:
  • So many techniques!! There are lots and lots of techniques. Many of these techniques will be familiar to more experienced clayers-- but hey, who wouldn't like to have them all tucked away neatly into one concise volume? And they're all adapted for use in bead-making, which is great for us jewelry-makers.
  • Gorgeous, colorful photos! And lots of them!
  • Step-by-step instructions! With photos to illustrate each process, for the visual learner.
  • Index! Nice, full index so it's easy to pin-point information. Or you can do like I do and flip through the book to find the desired page, only to be endlessly sidetracked. "Oooh, I'd forgotten about this one! . . .Now, what I was looking for before. . .?" ;o)
  • Gallery and gallery strips!! In addition to your standard inspirational gallery near the end of the book, nearly every page of this volume has a "gallery strip" along the top, crammed full of extra photos. These are rich with ideas for using the techniques demonstrated on each page-- different ways to work the beads into pieces of jewelry, alternate shapes, colors, etc.
  • Faux effects! If you're a fan of faux techniques, you'll be happy to hear that there's a whole section dedicated to imitative techniques. Sixteen different techniques covering everything from wood, ivory, and veined marble to abalone, mother-of-pearl, and onyx.
  • "Bringing It All Together"! The third section of the book focuses on taking your lovely new beads and making something wonderful with them. There's an introduction to findings and stringing materials, as well as a short explanation of how to attach findings. Then there are four pages jam-packed with information on designing with beads, including several aspects of jewelry-design to consider. (Oh, and there are pretty pictures in this section, too.)
To sum it up, it's just a great book for people interested in making polymer clay beads-- especially those who want a reference book of techniques. There's one more thing you should know, though: this isn't a project book. True, the techniques are written and illustrated in the step-by-step style, but this isn't a book that starts with a picture of a specific necklace, then takes you through the entire process of making that particular piece of jewelry. Personally, I think this is a good thing, because it leaves room for more techniques, but it's something you might want to take into consideration before deciding if this book's for you.


Christie said...

Good book review! I like your point of view on something. I remember looking thru the book for the first time. I'd turn a page and think, I've seen this one before. Or, I can get this free online. And it really made me have mixed feelings about the book. But you are is a good all-in-one book. Besides, to a newbie everything in the book would be new stuff! :)

Have you made anything with the book yet? I used the faux marble project and changed the colors. The beads came out quartz like. Here's a couple pics on flickr:

Michael said...

Thanks! Hope I helped you feel better about your purchase. ;o) I tend to feel that way, too, when I see familiar projects-- buyer's remorse. But at this point, I'll be surprised if I ever see a clay book that isn't at least partly stuff I already know or can get for free on-line.

I haven't tried much from the book, yet, but my latest entry has a bead made in a shape I found in it. Actually, I've been meaning to try that marble tutorial. Your beads turned out great! Now I'll *have* to try it! :o)

Oh, and good idea, mentioning at Flickr when you've blogged about a photo. I'll have to try that, too!