Friday, March 18, 2011

Book reviews: art quilts, bead embroidery, making glass beads

It’s long past time to catch up on some book reviews, so without further ado:

Twelve by twelve is a beautifully designed book that arose from a challenge group of a dozen artists who created one 12" X 12" art quilt every two months over a two year period (Thanks to Gerrie Congdon for straightening me out on the time factor). The themes varied from Water to Shelter to Mathematics.

There are comments from each artist, detailed photographs, works in progress, studios to see, discussions of techniques, and much more in this 176-page book. As you can see by the cover image, some of the quilts have non-objective imagery, many are abstract, some are more realistic.

I’ve made a few quilts this size for the Quilting Arts calendar contests and for auctions to benefit SAQA and it is a good size to work with. However, making the commitment to creating so many so consistently is way beyond me... hats off to these artists for getting it done!

My only complaint about Sherry Serafini’s Sensational Bead Embroidery is that the cover image doesn’t begin to do justice to this artist’s glorious work. It's an odd view of a bracelet and all that darkness looks gloomy, while her beaded pieces are a delight to the eye. Check out her web site to get an idea. And don't miss her handbags, they are amazing.

I’ve been a fan of Sherry’s (along with a zillion other beaders) for years, mostly from seeing her work in Bead & Button magazine. Have only attempted some small pieces, but love the technique. It allows you to turn humble seed beads along with a few stones, jewels, or Scrabble tiles into gorgeous one-of-a-kind colorful, textured jewelry.

There are 25 projects in this book with clear directions and supply lists and good closeups of the beaded earrings, brooches, rings, bracelets, and necklaces that show the details. There are projects for all levels of experience.

Creating Glass Beads by Jeri L. Warhaftig is designed as an intermediate level workshop, so beginners should probably start elsewhere. However, the tools and materials for the craft are well covered. Each “session” takes the reader through the process of making a project such as a pendant with gold leaf, an eye bead, and an intriguing combo of glass and silver “clay.” At the end of each session are numerous examples made by students plus a gallery of other professional artists’ beads made with similar techniques.

Making glass beads is a craft I admire but have avoided due to the use of actual *fire*...but if I ever dare to try it this book will be an excellent guide to exploring different techniques. After learning the basics from a very patient teacher, first.

It’s been fun being on Lark Crafts reviewer list, they publish some very inspiring books!


Gerrie said...

Thanks for the look at our book, Loreen. Actually, it took us two years to do the quilts. We did one every two months.

Loreen Leedy said...

Oops, that makes more sense... guess I was skimming too fast there for a second!

Diane J. Evans said...

Thanks for all the helpful info, Loreen -- you always have great taste in books.