Archive for category Subject: Jewellery

Metal Clay Animal Jewellery || Natalia Colman

If you’re a sculptor, you may have heard of metal clay, but I’ll admit it’s a new one on me. It sounds pretty amazing, though – particles of metal in suspension in water and a binding agent that can be moulded like mineral clay.

The results here are amazing, too, and look convincingly cast rather than moulded (as they are). Although this is a project-based book, the technical introduction is thorough but straightforward and discusses materials, firing techniques (you can even use a portable gas stove) and some basic jewellery techniques such as stringing and looping. This is easy to understand and I get a strong sense at the end that this is something I could do.

The projects are basically technical exercises broken down into step-by-step demonstrations which you can either follow or use as inspiration for your own creations. I would have thought that you’d be branching out pretty quickly and that your confidence with the medium would develop pretty quickly.

All round, nicely done and producing attractive results.

Click the picture to view on Amazon

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Setting Up A Successful Jewellery Business || Angie Boothroyd

This is another in Black’s occasional series that looks at the business side of art and craft.

It could be said that a business is a business and that it doesn’t really matter what you do within it. The basic principles of premises, staff, marketing, costing and record keeping are all the same. It’s also true that it’s as important that you run your business well as it is that you’re good at the process it supports. Make stunning products but fail to control your costs or get behind with your tax returns and the business will fail as surely as if your work is rubbish but your records exemplary.

So, do you need a book on running a jewellery business, or just a good accountant? Well, the truth is that it’s a lot easier to understand the common requirements when they’re presented in the context of what you’re familiar with than it is if they’re just abstract. If you make jewellery, it’s unlikely you’ll be setting up any other business, so it makes sense to buy this book rather than any other. And, anyway, what you learn in this context will apply if you turn your hand to pottery (more or less) and you can apply the lessons you’ve already learnt.

There’s plenty of meat here and Angie Boothroyd starts from the very beginning – whether to be a limited company or a sole trader, choosing a name, opening a bank account, etc. She also gives a helpful list of the things you absolutely need, such as a workplace, a computer and business cards. Those new to business have a tendency to over-invest in this area, so this is a particularly useful section and could save you a lot of wasted money.

From here, Angie looks at pricing, including wholesale versus retail, an important area to consider if you’re going to get maximum value or if you’re planning to sell to other outlets. Once again, beginners often make the mistake of under-pricing at the outset and this can hamper later development.

In the section on selling she looks at the various markets, including individual sales, fairs and the development of a website and thus online sales. Under the heading of presentation she offers sound advice on branding – giving yourself a recognisable identity – and the PR that protects and develops it. The final section covers the basic business skills of time and money management.

All-in-all, this is a nicely worked guide that should give you the confidence to start your own business without making many of the easily-made and elementary errors that bedevil the inexperienced. At £12.99, it’s excellent value, will probably pay for itself if the first few minutes, and could be your first business expense. Actually, the sale-or-return agreement in the sample documents at the back probably merits the cost alone.

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Ceramic Jewellery || Joy Bosworth

This handy and well-illustrated guide packs a lot into a small space and introduces the design and manufacture of the increasingly popular form of ceramic jewellery. Joy Bosworth covers the whole gamut from the original concept and looks at moulding and firing as well as tools and fittings and the practicalities of simply putting a piece together. With illustrations covering both the practical and aesthetic aspects of jewellery and also showing work by and international range of artists, this is thoroughly comprehensive.

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The Complete Guide to Wire & Bead Jewellery || Linda Jones

This is a simple project-based guide that will satisfy the requirements of the beginner while at the same time giving them a solid jumping-off point if they wish to pursue the craft further.

There is a well-established style of craft book of this kind which offers colourful demonstrations that perhaps make things look a little easier than they are but which, nevertheless, encourages by showing successful results that the reader will, for the most part, feel that they will be able to achieve with a little work. These books are a million miles away from the rather more specialist volumes aimed at the serious, and even professional, practitioner, but they don’t disappoint by covering only the very basics and leaving the reader wanting a great deal more.

If you feel that jewellery-making is something you’d like to have a go at, this will give you enough information and ideas without swamping you. It should satisfy your initial needs and, if you don’t want to progress very much further, may be the only book you’ll need. This is its aim and, as such, it succeeds and represents very fair value for money.

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Hot & Cold Connections: a bench reference for jewellers || Tim McCreight

This is a book which does exactly what it claims. Spiral-bound to lay flat for hands-free reference and hardbacked for durability, it’s a guide to fastening one thing to another in very many ways. Clear instructions and illustrations combine with the layout for ease of use and the author brings his three decades of experience to bear on techniques from brazing and riveting to modern adhesives and laser welding.

Although this is aimed at the serious practitioner, the clarity will not put off the beginner and the book has a place in the workshop of any halfway serious jewellery maker.

A&C Black 2007

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The Earrings Book || Yvonne Kulagowski

A&C Black are masters of the niche market. In this case, it’s craftwork for those who want something a bit more than amateur kitchen table stuff, an area that’s positively saturated with books, materials and kits.

To be honest, you couldn’t produce the kind of work that’s illustrated here (from a variety of professional makers) without quite a lot of experience, but there are good, clear explanations of the design and construction processes if you feel like having a go. There’s also a look at a selection of contemporary workers, making this a surprisingly in-depth guide for something of quite modest extent and price.

Not something for the beginner, but the book has much for anyone interested in jewellery whether as a practitioner or a wearer.

A&C Black 2007

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