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Friday, March 19, 2010

Book Review: The Art of Jewelry - Plastic & Resin: Techniques, Projects, Inspiration

Book Reviewer: Roz Eberhard Swan

The Eclectic Studio

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Authur: Debra Adelson
Edition: Hardcover


I am literally jumping for joy over finally having a reference book that really shows what can be done with the marvellous media of Plastic/Acrylics and Resin.
Commencing with a solid Introduction to plastics and safety, you then progress to Techniques and Tools that are used in both media, incorporating plastics with other materials, such as Metals, there is even a brief section on techniques for metalworking. Certainly enough for someone unfamiliar with this, although to be honest, to get the best out of this, you need to work on your metalsmithing skills - and that does not mean soldering as the vast majority of projects use cold connections, sawing and piercing as the main elements.

Then we get to the awesome projects. Rings, necklaces, brooches, pins, bangles and bracelets. 22 projects that will be hard to choose which one to start with.

These are contemporary designs, no cutesy, no bling bling. Just clean lines and designers pushing your thought process of materials to use. Using broken headlight glass to create stunning sawn shapes for a necklace, using a billard ball to make a ring, dipping felted balls in resin and so on.

Sure there are more of the stock standard creations of making a simple bangle from a mould but there are some wonderful twists to the norm, for instance using paper to create a laminated ring.

If you have to have intricate step by step photos to work from, you will be challenged. This is very much a book that relies on written descriptions of the steps with a few photos. I found no problem with this at all and I am actually a visual learner. But, I do work with these materials already.

My only criticism is the area of finishing. This could have been explored a little further other than sandpapers, files and polishing machines, the later not being something everyone has. Products such as Micro-Surface polishing pads and Micro Glos polishing compounds have produced wonderful results in high gloss finishes without machinery were not mentioned and I am sure there are other products that do similar.

I also loved that every few pages you are presented with a gallery of work. The artists represented here have produced exceptional, varied, luscious pieces, each and every one. I have been drooling ever since I got this book!! There is a nice short bio at the back about the designers and in some cases their websites (thank you) and even a page of templates to use.

This is the first book produced on Resin and Plastic Jewellery that looks at both media in a modern, contemporary manner, that takes you to a higher level of craftmanship, while still managing not to be over daunting. I know my mixed media students will be buying this book in droves. I hope that Lark now goes one step further and produces a book for students on mould making, so they can make even more wonderful pieces in resin.

About the Reviewer: Roz has worked as a multi media artist for over 16 years. Disciplines used in her unique wearable art and jewellery pieces include Off Loom Beadweaving, Textiles, Felting, Polymer Clay and Resin. The past few years have been spent working with Precious Metal Clay (PMC). As a certified Teacher with PMC she incorporates its limitless possibilities in her jewellery and objet d’art designs. Roz is the inaugural President of the PMC GUILD of Australia/NZ and works with community colleges in Sydney and private workshops around the country.

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