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Contemporary designs in an old technique
on October 8, 2011
This collection of chain mail themed jewelry really shows the diverse range of styles possible in a very old technique.
The introduction covers a lot of the basic tools and techniques you'll need to make the projects in the book. It starts by explaining a bit about the metal types and characteristics that make the jump rings. Then explains more about the wire sizes and shapes. Then it goes into a good overview of tools and basic jewelry making techniques.
Then into the projects. Because this is a collection of projects by different artists, there is a lot of variation. Some of them are perfect beginning projects that will offer fast gratification and basic skills. As you get comfortable, there are more challenging and time consuming projects.
The projects are very well photographed, frequently with colored rings so you can see exactly how they go together. They use many weaves. Since chain mail is one of those jewelry making techniques that is just perfect for bracelets, that's where it starts. Stacked jump rings make knot stations on a simple chain bracelet that would be lovely in an office or to wear casually.
Some of the pieces, like my personal favorite, the flat and elegant All the Hoopla necklace, are very contemporary and stylish. The Jump Rings Flowers earrings walk the line between contemporary and something that would be suitable for dressing up as a fantasy princess. Don't Fret, a bezeled guitar pick, is a perfect piece to make for a young man, or for a young man to make for himself if he's interested in chain mail.
There is enough silver and gold tone metals to satisfy the traditionalist and for people who like more color, there are pieces that made with colored finishes , glass rings and even rubber o-rings. As well as lots of beads to add color. Some of the pieces are designed specifically for art beads, to showcase that special piece of lampwork you got at a show, or even that you might have made yourself.
There are a couple projects that require torchwork, but the majority don't. You can do them with hand tools.
It's a wonderful book, one that I look forward to sharing with my son.