Book Review: Metalworking 101 for Beaders

As someone who has made the journey from beading into metalwork, I was interested to see how this book would approach the subject.  I know for me, it was not a simple or easy journey.  It has been a very worthwhile one.  With those experiences in mind, I will tell you what I think this book is and what I think it is not.

The author starts with the idea that jewelry makers working primarily with beads may want to begin to incorporate handmade findings into their work.  By findings, I mean components like earwires and clasps.  This is a valid premise from my perspective, because it is what initially got me interested in metal.  It is also a way to begin to distinguish ones work from others who are using beads and commercial findings only.

The book presents an overview of tools that are used to work with metal.  The author then explains a number of metal working techniques – from the basics like sawing, drilling, filing, and soldering, to more advanced techniques like reticulation and etching.  Speaking from my own experience, the overviews are well written, but would not have been sufficient to teach me these skills.  So, from that perspective, I question the Metalworking 101 title.

However, if you are a beader seeking to add custom metal findings, you’ve taken a basic metal class and are looking for projects that bring the metal and bead worlds together, this is an excellent place to start.  I love the projects and want to do a several of them.  The projects are beautiful if you make them as shown.  What’s more important is the fact that they can serve as excellent springboards for people who already  know how to work with beads.  Any of the elements in the picture below – the handmade paddle head pins, the custom bead caps, the oval links, or the handmade earwires – can fuel creative juices for use in many, many other jewelry designs.  I think that is the value that this book can bring for a very long time to come.

All photos courtesy of Sterling Publishing.  One copy of this book was provided to me by Lark Books for review purposes.  The opinions expressed about this book are my own.

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