Thursday, June 21, 2018

Woven in Wire

 Woven in Wire is the second book from artist and teacher Sarah Thompson. Published by F+W Media and Interweave Press, it's due out 17th July, 2017.  The book is available in softcover and contains 160 pages. Like most tutorial instruction books, there's an intro followed by chapters covering tools/supplies and basic techniques including the different weaving techniques along with some very basic torchwork (basically just materials and some good safety advice and drawing a bead on wire (melting the end to form a ball)). One thing I really appreciate about the author's style is that she's encouraging without being too eager or smothering as well as giving some really valuable tips about her own working methods and the specific tools that work for her.  There's an awful lot of product placement going on in the world of how-to books and I really applaud the author for refusing to be a shill for any specific company.

The intro chapters (~20% of the page content) are followed by tutorial chapters for the (by my count) 13 projects from beginner(ish) to masterwork level.  Interspersed in these chapters are really valuable tips and tricks for working with the materials and saving frustration where possible. The projects run the gamut from earrings to pendants and everything in between including rings bracelets, clasps etc.  There wasn't a single project in the book which I didn't want to make.  That almost never happens to me.

I worked as a bench jeweler in the traditional commercial jewelry trade for over 16 years (until I went back to school to become a bio-engineer at a ripe old age; it's never too late to take up another career).  Anyhow, the point is, working as a jeweler I always wanted to flex more of my creative muscles and work more with wire as a structural element.  I never got my chance as a professional working for a paycheck (I was the faceless drone re-sizing your engagement ring, or possibly repairing your necklace when you lost it down the garbage disposal *true stories*).  I have set up a bench in my workshop now and share creative space with my daughter, also a budding bench jewelry artist.

I love the fact that many of these projects use forged wire as a basis.  The shaped and flattened wire structure gives the entire piece stability and solidity without losing any of the fluidity and organic-ness (it should be a word) of the woven wire. 

This is not a book for following slavishly. This is a book which provides loosely structured learning guidelines for developing your own style and finding and adapting your own techniques.  In that sense, Sarah Thompson is a fantastic teacher. This is a worthwhile book, lavishly illustrated and photographed.  Her passion for her art and her willingness to share the 'good stuff' she's learned is rare. 

Well worth adding to the jeweler's library. This book will age very well and remain current as your skill progresses.

Five stars, really lovely.

Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.

No comments:

Post a Comment