How important is a book title? Would you pick up a book titled "More Jewelry Making?" or "More Teach Yourself VISUALLY Jewelry Making"? I probably wouldn't. (It sounds like a title picked out by a corporate marketing team.) In fact, I grabbed this book by accident at the library. (I thought it was a different title in the series.) I'm so glad I did; I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of information inside.
About This Book
More Teach Yourself VISUALLY Jewelry Making by Chris Franchetti Michaels covers a buffet of jewelry making techniques: simple metal work (riveting, sawing, metal stamping, making jump rings), metal clay, basic leather work (including painting and stamping), adhesives, resin, and wireworking. As the series name suggests, there are hundreds of step-by-step photos of all the techniques. While there are a handful of complete jewelry projects at the back of the book, this isn't really a project book. Instead, it's a technique book that will walk you through the steps on how to glue a bail to a glass tile pendant, saw simple shapes from metal, or wire wrap a piece of filigree. You can make those exact items by following the instructions, but it's more likely that you'll use the basic technique idea as a jumping off point for your own original creations.
This is the kind of reference book you'll want on your work bench. Sure, you can download YouTube videos and look up technique information on Google, but do you want to run to your computer every time you need to know which sealant to use for the metals you've just covered in alcohol inks or the specific brand of paint that works best for leather?
What I Liked Best
The tips are very good, ones that come from practical experience. Just flipping through the book, I've already been able to use the information to troubleshoot a problem I had a couple of years ago attaching paper to glass tiles. The author did two of the steps differently than I did and I can see how my way might have caused my problems of bubbles in the glue and peeling paper. It's been a long time since I've opened a jewelry how-to book and found that it solved an exact problem I've had.
Who Will Like This Book
If you already specialize in a technique such as metal clay, you'll likely prefer a book that goes more in-depth than this one. Likewise, those jewelry makers who can only craft exact replicas of finished projects may also be disappointed, since there are few start-to-finish projects for a book this size. However, jewelry makers who are past the beginner stage will find much to explore. This is a solid book for anyone who dabbles in multiple techniques or who wants to explore lots of jewelry making options beyond the usual stringing, wireworking, or knotting. It's also a great book for those days when you feel stuck and need an idea or two of something new to try or need some expert tips to help you refine techniques you've already tried on your own. This unexpected treasure left me feeling inspired and energized, which is exactly what a good book should do.