Author Heather Powers sent me a copy of her newest jewelry making book to review. I was giddy when it showed up in my mailbox 2 days ago. That's right, just two days ago, and I already have a few things to say, and one finished inspired bracelet! I get right to it these days! Thirsty for any new inspiration I can get my hands on since a. it's winter, and b. it's below zero already and c. I very rarely leave the house. That being said, I flipped through this new paperback as soon as I brought it in from the mailbox, even with it's icy pages, I was instantly warmed by the beautiful photography and creative projects on every page.
I really liked the layout of this book. Heather's previous book, Jewelry Designs from Nature, had a slightly different outline. In Beautiful Elements, Heather offers guidelines with techniques starting each section, and then a handful of projects that highlight these techniques the pages after. Her focus in this book seems to be lots of metal, wire, and polymer clay.
The texturing and sketching techniques on metal aren't intimidating. I felt relief when I realized I wasn't going to have to go out and buy more tools, or learn soldering. At the most, to achieve the sketching on metal I would need maybe a few new hammers to get these similar marks but for the most part I can use what I already have. That's a real BONUS!
Another aspect I love is Heather's focus to inspire your own creativity instead of encouraging you to copy the designs component for component. Jewelry books in my opinion are meant to unleash individual visions and styles while using the techniques to create your own one of a kind pieces of jewelry. I have never understood book reviews from readers who give a mixed review based on the fact that they couldn't find every single bead and component to replicate the exact designs in the book. My guess is that you aren't taking away from the book what the author is intending.
My favorite technique which I catapulted off of, to create my inspiration bracelet, is in the Add Detail To Metal section. I loved the Wire and Silk wrapped beads where Heather uses a simple wire link, and wraps it with Sari silk, and then winds around it thin wire with some seed beads for accent. To play off that, I chose some Batik cotton fabric that I had in stock, ripped off ribbons of 1/2" width, and wrapped that around my links, and then just used some 24 gauge steel wire, without the seed beads.... and made several that I linked together with jump rings. To add a bit more color, I found a little strand of opaque magenta nuggets that I got from Heather a while back, and wire wrapped each one, dangling on the rings between the links. The perfect touch, this pewter heart charm from Green Girl Studios.
Everything Heather designs has a very earthy and Nature inspired spin on it which is one of the main reasons I love her style. The designs in the book reflect this talent and I can envision myself using this book as a guide for inspiration for many many years! I can't wait to try the next technique, and practice these new skills to take my jewelry to the next level.
If you haven't seen this book yet, pick up a copy! It's worth every penny.
Buy this book here.
Buy this bracelet here.