The Absolute Beginners Guide: Making Wire Jewelry Paperback – Apr 10 2012
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About the Author
Martine Callaghan has been passionate about wire and wirework for more than 10 years, ever since she took her first certified college course in jewelry making. In 2005, she launched a full-time career in jewelry, creating and selling unique, handcrafted pieces to individuals and boutiques. She also creates commissioned jewelry, has a successful line of custom-made bridal jewelry, and creates educational tutorials.
Inside This Book(Learn More)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
This book, The Absolute Beginners Guide: Making Wire Jewelry is for novices who want to try making their own jewelry for the first time. There is no soldering and very little special equipment needed to make classics like drop earrings or wire chokers. Since it is a beginner's book, it's too basic for people with more experience, but might be good as a guide if you're teaching someone basics.
The introduction covers the tools and materials, all photographed and explained. You'll learn what different kinds of pliers are used, get ideas for mandrels, and learn about hammers and bench blocks. The author gives tips for working on a budget when you first get started using alternative tools. There is a brief section that explains tempering and work hardening wire. It also talks about beads and findings.
The techniques are taught in the projects, which are all very wearable. Picking the beads and metals helps you design pieces to suit your personality from the start. Each of the projects lists on top of the page the skills you'll learn doing it.
Following the projects you'll learn how to:
Make loops for eye pins
Open and close jump rings
Make eye pin connectors
Shape wire with a ball tip hammer
Make wrapped loops
Make tight spirals
Make spiral components
Make open spirals
Make shaped components like S curves and U curves
Make jump rings
Make figure 8 links
Make double spiral components
Make clover leaf components
Make a pin
Make a spiral around a bead
Design your own simple decorative headpins
Make heart and hook clasp
Make secure earring wires
Wrap a wire with a finer gauge wire
Make coil beads
Make a frame
Make coil ends and a coil bail for cord
One of the final projects is a charm bracelet that uses the techniques you learned in the book.
This is just a great book for people just starting out. The clear photographs and text make it easy to follow. While most of the projects are feminine, with the right cord, beads and metal, the coil ends and coil bail and the coil bead are very wearable by young men as well. I used the coil ends and bail project to make a drilled dice necklace for myself and my son wants the necklace!
If you are looking for a good book for beginning to make wire jewelry, this is a good choice. It's not intimidating and very well explained.
[I received a complimentary copy of the book to review on my bead site- BellaOnline Beadwork. My reviews are always my honest opinion]
I was wrong.
Martine has some very interesting tips that I wish I had thought of years ago.
However, let's go back to the beginning. The premise of this book is a person with absolutely zero wire working skills can pick up a few basic tools, some wire, a few beads, plus this book, and make wire jewelry. I read this book cover to cover and can honestly say that yes, this is true. The photos are some of the best I've seen when it comes to showing the process of wire working. The instructions are concise. The projects ordered from super basic to what Callaghan calls a "Masterpiece Charm Bracelet" in which you make charms using the all techniques you have learned in the book.
There are helpful descriptions and photos of tools needed and tools that are optional, an explanation of wire types, beads and findings. Did you know that the word "findings" in the jewelry world came from the practice of goldsmiths making them from the scraps of metal found on their workbench at the end of the day? I didn't! I always wondered why they were called that as it seemed a strange word for them.
The book contains 25 main projects each with alternative ideas and tips sprinkled throughout. After the masterpiece charm bracelet, there are 3 more projects (for a total of 28) that feel like "bonus" projects since they are small and come after the masterpiece charm bracelet.
If you work through the book from beginning to end, there is no reason you couldn't be making wonderful wire jewelry by the end of the book. But it's set up so you can create a successful piece of jewelry even if you don't get past the 1st project.
If you are an experienced wireworker, this book is probably not for you. If you are interested in it, you might want to visit your local bookstore or maybe see if they will get it at your library so you can preview it before spending money on it.
The title of this book says it all. For several years, I have enjoyed utilizing wire-working techniques. Since practice should make perfect, I am now pretty adept at this. But, this wonderful publication would have been so helpful. Proper tools, types of wire and gauges, etc., would have taken the guess work out of "how to."
Twenty-eight well defined projects are presented. The photographs have wonderful resolution. Numbered instructions are featured to take readers through the creative process. None of the jewelry examples require a large expenditure of time, effort, or money. One can quickly learn to master the techniques: twist, bend, and wrap, etc. Soon you will be creating your own special jewelry.
I would highly recommend this book. It offers an "easy does it," fun-filled creative adventure.
It told me exactly what tools I needed to get started, what was optional, what I could substitute for cost savings (like a second hammer instead of an anvil), the gauges of the wire, the different parts. I have so far made the first project and it was so easy! I then made a pair of earrings on my own, and am about to start on the second project.
I watched a youtube video or two, and I think this book really teaches you proper technique. For example, none of the videos I saw on youtube talked about "breaking the neck" of the loop before closing it. If you don't do that, it's not formed as nicely.
I love that the projects teach you skills and then keep building. They use the skill you learned in the project prior, and then add a new one. This is good design. Thank you for a great book! I'm so happy with my purchase.