3 Jewelry-Making Books I Love
Oh, I definitely love books. For jewelry-making books, as for most ideas in general, my feeling is the bigger, the better. My bookcases are overflowing, and there’s usually a stack or two on the floor.
ABOVE: Enameling with stencils, glass threads, and foil can all be done by sifting dry enamel powder into place; from Jeweler’s Enameling Workshop by Pauline Warg.
I want to know all around a topic: how one material relates to another; how one tool or technique relates to a design. Why? In part, that kind of 360-degree approach gives you a better understanding when you try to apply some new knowledge at your bench. Partly, looking at the big picture can spark new ideas that you might not have thought of if some of those connections hadn’t been made visible to you. And in part, browsing and reading around a subject in jewelry-making books just serves to satisfy my natural idle curiosity. Here are three jewelry-making books that I love because they are excellent resources that offer that kind of comprehensive investigation.
Jewelry-Making Books: Jeweler’s Enameling Workshop
By Pauline Warg
As Pauline says at the outset of this book, “Enameling is an amazingly expansive technical area. It would be nearly impossible to cover every aspect thoroughly in one book.” So, while this is a big book about enameling, it’s not everything there is to know on the subject. But it is loaded with solid information that is presented in a well-organized, clear, and helpful way.
She gives you the basics about enamels and enameling tools and equipment, and then she demonstrates a few techniques in several different projects. The result: a comprehensive look at a few of the more accessible enameling techniques including stenciling, cloisonné, and champlevé.
She even includes basics about metalsmithing, so if you are new to working with sheet, you can still join the fun.
Jewelry-Making Books: Patina: 300+ Coloration Effects for Metalsmiths & Jewelers
By Matthew Runfola
A self-described “painter with chemicals,” Matthew Runfola is also a teacher who is both enthusiastic and disciplined in his approach. His exploration of patina gives you a tremendous grounding in the processes involved, organized so that you can find what you want easily and return to it when you need to.
He puts patina in context with other forms of metal coloration and demonstrates how color can be used effectively in design. He explains how to preserve patinas. And of course, he walks you step by step through creating patinas, combining multiple techniques, metals, and formulas to show the mesmerizing 300+ patina effects noted in the book’s subtitle.
Jewelry-Making Books: The Jewelry Maker’s Field Guide
by Helen I. Driggs
I worked side by side with Helen for over a decade, and I can tell you that her devotion to jewelry making and her love of jewelry-making tools is as genuine as it gets. So is her determination to explain how and why tools and techniques work, as well as what to do with them. This is a great introduction to metalsmithing for jewelry making. Its organization walks you through the many different skills you will want to acquire, giving you a tour of what’s involved in building a piece of jewelry from start to finish, and setting you on a path of good work habits that you will thank her for later on.
Learn how each tool works, how you should take care of it, and about the materials you use with it. Then try each technique out with an illustrated demo, put that to use in some larger application by making a part, and finish off by learning how to combine your newfound skills in several carefully selected jewelry making projects. Whether you’re completely new to jewelry making or have been at it for years, this book will help you work better and bring you more satisfaction from your jewelry making.
Merle White is Editor-in-Chief of Lapidary Journal Jewelry Artist and Editorial Director for the Interweave Jewelry Group.
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