Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Chain and Bead Jewelry, Geometric Connections

Scott David Plumlee makes chain jewelry very approachable and the designs are fresh and engaging. I've always been interested in chain jewelry but before I saw this book it seemed too time consuming and imposing.

I got excited when I thumbed through this book and saw all the earring and pendant designs.  One of the most versatile designs is the Tripoli.  I have lots of ideas for using the Tripoli formation in different ways.  Following the directions in the book I made some 18 gauge copper jump rings and made this Tripoli formation:

Tripoli chain formation

It's about an inch high and will be perfect for some earrings when I get a second one made. I sawed all the rings, except for the one on the top right which I cut with pliers.  I need to file it a little.  Plumlee's design in the book called for rings in copper, bronze, and silver.  Since I'm a newbie at this I made mine out of copper.

Plumlee uses the Tripoli formation and other formations as pendants woven into Byzantine and other chain necklaces. The geometric designs also include dimensional  earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and key fobs. Gemstone beads augment many of the designs. 

Chapters 1 and 2 cover basics and tools. Several tables show measurements in both metric and inches.

Chapter 3 covers variations of Byzantine chain and shows several ways to use it with other chains and geometric connections.  Chapter 4 illustrates the very interesting Tripoli formation.  This formation is a building block for most of the designs in the book. It's amazing how many ways it can be combined, either with other Tripoli formations, or with other chains and beads. Chapters 5 through 7 cover triangle, quatrefoil, trapezoid, and pentagon formations.

Several organic forms are covered in Chapter 8, including beaded fish, cross earrings, snowflakes, and butterflies.

 Photography is excellent throughout the book.  The color photos are presented on a white background, and are larger than life size.  There are step-by-step photos accompanying all the instructions as well as many photos of finished jewelry.  Mixed metals are used throughout the book, making it easy to follow the instructions.

Seven chain styles and two flower formations are covered in the book, but the focus of the book is on the geometric shapes.    There's a two page spread that shows all the aspect ratios and indicates the mandrel sizes to use for specific aspect ratios in different gauges of wire. 

The appendix details the use of Argentium silver and how to make headpins with a torch.  Also included are color diagrams of chain variations.  A note in this section refers readers to Plumlee's website for chain configuration tutorials.

Chain beginners (like me) can do one of the smaller projects and have a completed project in a short amount of time.  Intermediate and advanced chain artists will find lots of inspiration and many different and challenging ways to use geometric forms.

Disclosure: The publisher provided a review copy of this book.


sundownbeaddesigns said...

That would make a wonderful pendant. I've done a few chain maille pieces and I'd like to do some more...maybe a good book for me to get.

Leslie Todd said...

Yes, and it can be hung point up or point down. I'm going to try some in a larger gauge wire for a bigger pendant.

Joan Piwowar said...

I just love the copper Tripoli formation you did-good work for a beginner! I may get this book, thanks for writing about it.

Leslie Todd said...

Thanks, Joan. I'm having fun with it.