Friday, June 8, 2012

If you're gonna learn, learn from the best

I mentioned before that I have not taken any formal jewelry classes - I had some fun initial sessions with my friend Ali who taught me how to make simple and wrapped loops and how to make a rosary chain.

From then on, the Internet and books have been my best friends in this journey. So I wanted to share with you the books that have taught me the most so far.

I'll start with the first, the one who taught me more basic wirewrapping skills and that I recommend to anyone who's starting:

"Inspired Wire" by Cynthia Wuller has some simple but very elegant projects throughout the book, and it was the only time that I actually made a lot of projects exactly as they're in the book. Not so much because they're particularly exciting, but because I really was a beginner, and didn't feel confident enough to venture out on my own. But it's great to become familiarized with the wire and what it can do for you.

Another favorite book is Kim St. Jean's "Mixed Metal Mania". If I had to recommend only one book for some metalsmithing tecniques, cold connections, etc., this would be it.

It has an extensive list of tools, explaining what they're for and how to use them, and various tricks that I have not seen anywhere else. I have not copied one single project from here, but I used tons of techniques.

Another one I just LOOOOVE is Mary Hettmansperger's "Wrap, Stitch, Fold and Rivet".

You need to love organic jewelry, the kind where not all the wraps are perfectly made, the shapes are unusual and the tools unconventional.

If you're into stamped jewelry, well then I don't think there's a better book than "Stamped Metal Jewelry" by Lisa Niven Kelly.

There's lots of tips to make sure your stamping is flawless, and projects that you can easily adapt and make your own.

And finally  "Making Connections" by Susan Lenart Kazmer.

I bought it also at the very beginning, and it scared the hell out of me when I opened it. I looked at the drawings and pictures and it was all ___(insert Greek/Chinese or any other language that is incomprehensible to you...) to me. I set it aside, and forgot about it. Then one year later, and many necklaces after, I picked it up again and was mesmerized. Susan's work is truly inspiring and innovative.
Beware: there are no projects in this book, period. Just a lot of tips, drawings of techniques and pictures of finished pieces that will open your mind to new possibilities.

It impressed me so much that I will be travelling to France in October to participate in a workshop with Susan - I learnt so much from her book, I can only imagine what I will learn from her in person. I am so excited but at the same time don't even want to think about it - it's still 4 months from now, and I registered back in September last year! Talk about delayed satisfaction...


  1. Oh you lucky girl... I have read her workshops are amazing...and to be in France...that would be a dream for me. You will have to write lots of blog posts and show us all.

  2. Jenni, I promise to write lots and take tons of pictures. I'm sure I won't have trouble finding stuff to blog about then!


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