Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: The Jewelry Architect, by Kate McKinnon

by Patty Lakinsmith

I buy very few jewelry making books, and was delighted to receive Kate McKinnon's new book, The Jewelry Architect: techniques + projects for mixed-media jewelry, for Christmas. While I haven't yet viewed the DVD she included, I have been through all 143 pages and found it very inspiring. Possibly inspiring enough that I might actually attempt some of the sewn beadwork projects.

I first met Kate about 5 years ago, when she lived and worked in nearby Pacific Grove. I had stumbled across her excellent blog and saw that she was having an open studio (a rare event, I gathered, given the stern warnings on her website about drop-in visits), so a friend and I made the hour long drive. From the moment I met her she was free with her knowledge, and even helped me to solve a crimping problem I was having that very visit. It was enough to encourage me to sign up for her PMC class, which taught me how to make my own handmade fine silver clasps and more. Her previous books on Structural Metal Clay are valued residents of my bookshelf.

Kate's Ouroboros bracelet features a handmade fine silver (PMC) clasp, lampwork glass
beads (or felt, as you choose), and delightful sewn beadwork.

This book is a delectable smorgasbord of color, material, and technique, which not only enticed me to try some of the projects but to dream up new ones on my own. She offers basic skills in beadwork, metal clay, and stringing that you can incorporate into your own work no matter what style you embrace, and she teaches you how to build it so it will last a lifetime. I value books that can give me a foundation in some area that I may build upon later with my own experimentation.

If you're keen to learn ways to create your own handmade components that will enable you to build lasting, functional, beautiful pieces of jewelry, I highly recommend this book. I follow Kate's blog regularly and own most of her books, and found plenty of fresh inspiration and information in this one.

Kate's book is available at your local bead or book store, or you can get it from Amazon.com.

1 comment:

MaCarroll Beads said...

Her work is fabulous! I'm always amazed when people can work so creatively with those teenie tiny beads..... I can hardly even see them, let alone string them!

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