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I started making jewellery back in the summer, but so far my skills are limited and my imagination even more so. I thought buying a book may help me and so I purchased the Encyclopedia of Wire Jewellery Techniques for £12.99 in Hobbycraft.
The book has introductory sub chapters on wiring, the tools to do it and the materials needed to start making your own creations. There is a detailed contents double page spread at the beginning of the book which outlines the three chapters with several sup chapters within them.
Chapter one is based on the Core Techniques of wire jewellery making it goes through the uses of all findings needed to make basic items of jewellery. Findings is the term used to collectively describe, fasteners, earwires, links, loops, headpins and eyepins, which are all the pieces used to link, loop and hang beads and wires.
The chapter goes through making your own findings, as opposed to buying them ready made, making shapes using tools such as pliers to bend and twist the wires and wrapping or coiling around beads to produce a professional finish to earrings, bracelets and necklaces. This chapter also offers a step by step instruction in knitting and crochet techniques, which is all done with fine wire, and probably not for beginnings like me. I love the idea of being able to coil and wrap around my beads, but am yet to be brave enough to try it. I imagine I will get quite frustrated and be more thumbs and fingers than elegant and graceful jewellery maker, but that's the way it goes.
The second chapter starts on the 118th page and is entitled Towards Silversmithing. It goes through how to solder and melt. I expect this is a chapter for the more advanced jeweller and it will not be something I try, regardless of my ability. For me this chapter, whilst interesting is redundant.
The final chapter is the Gallery, which offers photos of beautiful works by various artists; it also has an index and acknowledgments section.
Throughout this Encyclopedia, it is beautifully illustrated with very detailed step by step instructions both written and graphically. The language is easy to understand and not littered with unnecessary jargon. The photos are an inspiration if you are truly keen to learn and I can only hope I could make something so lovely to look at as some of the examples photographed and displayed within the pages of this book. Many are a work of art.
Each page has a tip highlighted in a grey box for the learner to pick up and each example has a box outlining what is needed, tool wise to re-create the examples in the book. For example to attach ready-made findings the book suggests you will need round nosed pliers, chain nosed pliers and wire cutters. On buying this book I quickly realised my kit needed to expand dramatically to reach my full potential and without doing so I was going to be extremely limited in what I could actually create.
As it stands I am currently collecting beads and old necklaces, trinkets etc from jumbles sales and car boot sales, taking them apart and building up my collection of things to use. I am also looking for a good storage box (a bit like a tool box) with different compartments to store things in. This is much harder than it sounds as some beads are so small and very easy to disperse if not held in one place securely.
Until my collection is adequate enough to move from making basic earrings to learning to wrap and twist I am not planning to move forward with my making, but I look forward to having all the materials to do so, and when I do, this book will come in very, very, useful as my guide.