Sunday, September 30, 2018

Metal Jewelry Workshop: Essential Tools, Easy-To-Learn Techniques, and 12 Projects for the Beginning Jewelry Artist

Metal Jewelry Workshop is a new tutorial instruction manual for aspiring metalsmiths by Helen I. Driggs. Due out 8th Oct, 2018 from Fox Chapel, it's 160 pages and available in paperback format.

This book is a nice beginning introduction to metalworking and presupposes no experience.  The author follows a logical progression, starting with an introduction to tools and materials.  One thing I really appreciated was how she grouped tools into an essential 'jeweler's dozen'. The introduction also includes a necessary and understandable discussion of safety and sensible precautions to prevent injury and ensure the best results.

The projects themselves are presented in series, with more complex items using concepts and techniques from earlier chapters. Although the projects are more 'artsy' and modern, the lessons presented include cold connections, chainwork, shaping, sawing, fabrication, work hardening and all the basic coldworking techniques one would expect from a more formal jewelry course.  The materials are inexpensive (copper, base metals) but the techniques are perfectly applicable to more precious metals and materials.  I especially liked the author's suggested uses for gallery wire and patterned sheet.

The book's final section includes more advanced cold techniques to expand the beginning artist's repertoire and the author gives some good advice about potential further exploration. There's a nice full color gallery along with a glossary, index and resource list (aimed at North Americans).  This book does not cover torchwork and none of the projects require a torch. The toolbox is very basic and easily acquired.

The last project in the book is a tabbed one-piece cabochon setting which is large enough to not frustrate newer metalworkers and detailed enough to give a nice finished wearable result.

The photography and illustrations are well done and support the instructions well.

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

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