I started out loving the book Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders: Creative Wirework Projects for All Levels. I love the way it is organized. The introductory chapters are well documented, thorough but not overly detailed. There are beautiful pictures of the jewelry projects throughout the book - and the author has a fantastic sense of color. But, when it came time to choose a project - I didn't feel excited about choosing any of them.
Beginner Jewelry Projects
Appropriately enough, I started at the beginning. The pictures look great, but the actual projects just didn't grab me. There is not a single beginner project that I wanted to try making. And it took me a while to figure out why - but I figured it out!
In order to review a jewelry book and do it justice, I really have to read it. I know that sounds stupid - but think about it. How often do you really read the first chapter about tools and wire and techniques? If you've read it once or twice, that's probably enough. But since the goal of Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders: Creative Wirework Projects for All Levels
book is to provide wirework 'projects for all levels', I have to read what I would normally skip.
This past weekend I made the Marlene earrings - not one, but two pairs. I really wanted to get a feel for how the same style of earrings can feel in gold vs. silver. I changed the center stones slightly too - both the shape and the gemstone. The silver earrings are an amazonite hexagon with labradorite. The gold earrings use aqua chalcedony for the focal gemstone and the same labradorite beads.
The Rio Earrings are part of the glamour girl collection. This book is serious eye candy and I can't imagine anyone who won't be inspired by the designs. I've enjoyed having this book in my collection, but what I really wanted to understand is if the instructions are as good as the designs and pictures. Here's the story...
Spirals for the Rachael Earrings
The first project I was going to make were the Rachael earrings. These earrings use the same circular frame you see in the Rio earrings, but have a spiral coil wired inside the frame. According to the instructions, they take approximately 15-20 minutes for the pair. My guess is that the time estimates do not include the prep time - since I am a moderately experienced wire wrapper and I don't think I could make them in that amount of time unless all of the wire was cut, the stones were laid out and everything was ready to go. I made all the component parts - 2 wire frames and 2 coil inserts and guess what? The coils did not, and would not, fit inside the frames. With 16g wire, there is just no possibility of uncoiling and re-coiling tighter, so I was stuck!
Here's where the book was fabulous and worth every penny! One of the first chapters has the instructions on how to make all of the basic frame shapes. It also includes a reference that tells you which earrings use which frames. So, when my coils for the Rachael earrings didn't fit, I just found another pair of earrings that used the same frame of a similar size and salvaged half of my work. I can't tell you how frustrated I would have been if I didn't finish a pair of earrings after all of the work - and that simple bit of reference information saved me.