I am so pleased to be able to bring you this book review! My wonderful and talented friend Belinda Saville has agreed to be Guest Blogger today, and she's done a terrific review of this book. I specifically invited Belinda to review this book for you, as I didn't feel qualified to do it myself, being a bead artist and not a jeweler. Belinda is beyond qualified, and makes the most gorgeous and amazing jewelry!! After the temptation below, if you'd like to see more of Belinda's work, stop by her Etsy shop HERE!! Here is the lovely lady herself (I love her smile, and she is just as sweet as she looks);
and a tiny sampling of her stupendous talent (aren't they incredible?!?):
Secret Sky Necklace
'As a self-taught silversmith who relies heavily on the written word to learn and expand my skill base, this is the kind of book that I get excited about. Carles Codina had me hooked from the introduction:
“To understand jewelry making, it is not adequate to know it on a theoretical level. It is essential and necessary to practice is directly on the workbench... There are an infinite number of skills you can learn through practice.”
This appealing invitation to learn through practical application sets the tone for the entire book. Brimming with information and practical tutorials, it is a learning resource that any silversmith would find inspiring and useful. Both modern and ancient techniques are covered, from keum boo to granulation, to the many and varied forms of casting.
I particularly enjoyed Part One of the book which focuses on the ancient techniques of ornamentation. Mokume Gane, Keum Boo, Granulation and Patinas are covered in inspired detail here. As Carles says, it is 'an invitation to work the way people did centuries ago in Asia, or millennia ago in the Mediterranean cultures.' What a wonderful way to feel connected to our ancestors, with our feet firmly planted in the present, yet our hands working just as theirs did lifetimes before us.
Part Two of the book details modelling and casting utilising a wide spectrum of techniques. Ranging from the modern and increasingly popular computer rendering and design technology, to the more archaic techniques of casting in dirt, clay or cuttlefish bone, these chapters offer techniques attainable to both the established jeweller and the home studio silversmith. I think Carles sums up the attraction of this multi-faceted area of jewellery-making perfectly:
“Casting metal and turning it into an object is a magical thing...for the immediacy of producing the shape...and because it is one of the most ancient ways in which humans have created art objects.”
Not for the absolute beginner, this book will allow a novice silversmith with a solid understanding of the basics to successfully expand their repertoire of skills.
Each technique is thoroughly covered with detailed, easy-to-follow instructions and an abundance of clear, coloured photographs. No detail is overlooked, and I felt as though I could confidently walk into my studio and practically apply any of the techniques in an instant. I was not left with any unanswered questions, and each chapter is loaded with useful and practical tips that could only be offered by someone with years of experience.
Carles writes with precision and clarity, leading the reader through each technique with a firm hand and gentle encouragement. He provides troubleshooting where necessary, intuitively pointing out where you may become unstuck.
I love the photographs in this book, not only for their ability to teach in such a beautifully visual way, but also for the examples of each technique as put into practice by real, talented artisans. I was delighted to recognise some of the names here, including one very lovely Etsy seller!
A feast for the eyes and an inspiration for one's Muse, 'Color, Texture & Casting for Jewelers' is a wonderful tribute to techniques ancient and modern, and a useful addition to any silversmith's bookshelf.'
Listen to Belinda if you are looking to enhance your own silversmithing skills - she most definitely knows whereof she speaks! Thank you so much for featuring in my blog today, Belinda!! It makes me tempted to jump in myself, if I had the equipment!
I've finally finished and submitted my Battle of the Beadsmith entry. Whew!! I think it's a bit different than what I usually make, since it involves a great deal of peyote stitch; if you have followed along for a bit, you know that this is the only stitch that gives me trouble, as for some unknown reason it always makes my tendonitis act up. This time, it didn't. Amazing, and surely a good sign! I really wish I could post a teaser, but the rules say nope, nothing can be shown until the reveal - which is happening on Monday, July 16th - please stop in and look at the insanely talented entries that are going to be showing up then, and cheer on everyone.