Before writing this post. You can see Sharilyn’s website on my computer. 🙂
I find myself waiting for V at his office cafeteria – he’s inundated with meetings, and going anywhere with him has become slightly complicated! Luckily, I’ve come prepared with laptop and book, and am spending my time flipping through the pages of one of my favourite jewellery making books ever, and then it hit me – I’ll share my love for the book with you! I honestly don’t know why it’s taken me so long to write a review for Wire Art Jewelry Workshop by Sharilyn Miller. It’s the book that got me hooked onto wire work, and one of the best books in the category that I’ve ever read. You’d think I would’ve raved about it here ages ago, but I do keep mentioning how much I’ve learned from it – including things as basic as making rosary loops!
Thinking about it now, more than two years after I bought the book, I can’t tell you what drew me to it. It might have been the cover itself, which features one of the most beautiful pieces of jewellery I have ever seen. But it was one of the best purchases I’ve ever made, and I have learned so much from this one book. It truly is a workshop!
My book is beginning to look a little dog-eared!
Best thing about the book
I don’t really know how to pick one thing. Sharilyn has clearly detailed all the tools she uses, and all her supplies. About a third of the book describes clearly and beautifully all the techniques you will need to make the projects that are described later. There are unique coiling techniques as well as the basics of how to make jump rings or ear hooks. I love the photography, and the instructions are perfect. Even as a beginner, I found myself being able to follow her very easily, and my pieces always wound up looking like they were meant to! But if I have to pick one thing, it would be how clearly Sharilyn’s love for wire comes through in her descriptions. Generally, introductions in jewellery books can get a little repetitive, but Sharilyn talks about what inspires her, and also gives us tips on how to make our own pieces better.
The techniques in the book are easy enough for a beginner to follow, with a little concentration, but also still exciting to an experienced jewellery maker. I’ve learned almost every single technique described (I’d need a drill for the last one!), but some of the pieces are still challenging.
Instructions and Photography
Like I mentioned earlier, the instructions and photography are excellent. Steps are clearly marked and pictured in the best way possible, even when the step itself might be confusing. But what makes it all easier is the inclusion of a DVD with the book, where Sharilyn demonstrates all the techniques she uses, and talks a little more about wire work. I watched it after I read all the instructions, and tried some of the pieces, and it helped clarify things even more. If you’re smart, you’ll remember to use the DVD earlier, and may not have to learn everything the hard way!
Variety of Projects
There are a total of 17 projects, with nearly the same number of earrings, bracelets and necklaces/pendants, with a slight leaning towards bracelets. I think the beauty of the book is how easy it becomes, after making a few pieces, or even just learning the techniques, to mix and match different elements to create a plethora of pieces that are uniquely yours.
Sharilyn’s Dancing Man necklace – the last project in the book, and one of my favourite pictures to look at for inspiration
Buy it if:
– You are beginning a love affair with wire – or are considering one!
– You want to learn unusual and beautiful techniques, and how to do the basics correctly
– You want to challenge yourself
Don’t buy it if:
– You aren’t interested in wire (yes, channeling Captain Obvious here)
– You like to put pieces together quickly, and prefer to use ready-made components
A little about the author
Sharilyn Miller is one of my favourite artists. She has several published books, some e-book tutorials. She also has several instructional DVDs, and makes handmade jewellery and ceramic buttons she sells on her Etsy store. Not only that – she actually conducts workshops, and Gods willing, I’m going to go to one this year! Sharilyn lives in Idlywild, California, and you can read more about her at sharilynmiller.com.