Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Great New Metal Working Books--Reviews

There are a number of really fine new books out for jewelry artists.  I'll be reviewing several of these over the next few days, plus a giveaway a little later. 

I sometimes get review copies of books from publishers but the two books I'm reviewing today I purchased myself.  Both of these are great books.

First up is Kim St. Jean's Mixed Metal Mania. The subtitle is Solder, rivet, hammer, and wire exceptional jewelry.  

The book is divided into five sections.  The first section is about tools and techniques. My favorite part of this section is "Kim's Unconventional Tools," and "Kim's Tips." 

The four project sections are designed to build on the techniques learned in the previous sections. Kim states in her introduction that all the projects have been tested with students and each project is designed to teach and practice a specific skill. I think Kim's extensive experience teaching is well reflected in the projects. 

Chapter One includes techniques such as texturing, patina, cold connections, annealing and fold forming. Projects include rings, earrings, scarf pin, collar and pendants. 

Chapter Two includes the use of several different techniques in soldering, the rolling mill, forging and wire wrapping.  Projects include several pendants, including a three dimensional one, rings, a bangle, a bracelet, a chain, and two pairs of earrings. 

Chapter Three makes extensive use of propane or acetylene torches. Techniques include reticulation, soldering, riveting, pine straw casting, making a bail and bezel setting a stone.

Chapter Four has more complex projects involving foldforming, bezel setting, and other techniques.  

I especially like the foldformed projects in this book.  Kim's writing is clear and the projects and techniques are well illustrated with color photos. It's easy to see how you can take the techniques and skills learned through this book and apply them to your own unique designs.  

The second book I'm reviewing today is Karen Dougherty's Metal Style.  It's subtitled "20 jewelry designs with cold join techniques." 

The book begins with two sections on tools and techniques.  This is followed by a large section on projects.  There are 20 projects from 16 different designers. Designers include well known artists and instructors such as Robert Dancik, Thomas Mann, Janice Berkebile, Connie Fox and others.  The projects represent a broad range of style, as you would expect with a number of designers, and in addition to metal include some other materials such as resin, resin clay, faux bone, polymer clay, Lucite and several found objects. A number of the projects are complex, at least in the number of steps, but there are others with fewer steps that would be good for a student who has just learned to rivet and saw from the instructions in the front of the book. 

Some of the included projects are a riveted chain by Janice Berkebile, a hinged pendant by Dawn Bergmaier, a found object sandwich adjustable ring by Thomas Mann, and a found object necklace  by Kim St. Jean. 

Both these book are great addition to your metalworking library. 

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