Earrings, earrings, earrings! Edited by Barb Switzer – A Review

Earrings, earrings, earrings! – edited by Barb Switzer – was a lovely gift from an even lovelier person. She has supported us in our passion for jewellery making from the start, and we are truly grateful for her encouragement.

The book is a beautiful one for anyone who needs a little inspiration. As the name of the book suggests, it is filled with earring projects, and a few projects for sets – earrings with a matching necklace or bracelet.

Earrings, Earrings, Earrings!

Difficulty Level

This book is sympathetic to the novice earring maker. The basic techniques of jewelry making are covered – opening and closing jump rings, crimping, making eye pin loops and making wire-wrapped loops. Many of the pieces are stunning because of the materials used, and not so much the techniques. So while the difficulty level isn’t high, this is a book I would suggest to anyone, simply because many of the pieces are unique and inspire you to think of different ways to make earrings.

Instructions and Photos

Some of the instructions are a little confusing, and there are no step-by-step photos. However, you can figure out most of the steps just by looking at the photo of the completed piece. The book also has a photo index at the end, and I absolutely love that!

Variety of Projects

There are 70 earring projects – yes, 70! – divided into ‘hoops and posts’ (12), ‘short dangles’ (25) ‘long dangles’ (20) and ‘sets’ (13).

My Rating
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Buy it if
•    You’ve just started making jewelry, and want some fun projects that don’t require too much technical skill.
•    You need some inspiration with earring designs.
•    You want to make some quick, easy and unique earrings.

Don’t buy it if
•    You’re looking to learn a lot of wire related techniques.
•    You don’t have access to a lot of unusual connectors and findings, because, as I said, the beauty of most of the pieces featured in the book comes from the materials used.

Here are a few pieces we’ve made, taking inspiration from the projects in the book.

EarringsEarringsEarrings

~Kirtana

Wire Art Jewelry Workshop by Sharilyn Miller – A Review

Frontispiece

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!

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.

Difficulty Level

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

Sharilyn’s Dancing Man necklace – the last project in the book, and one of my favourite pictures to look at for inspiration

My Rating

star-20-coloring-page 5 stars

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.

*Ammu* 

Beaded Macramé Jewelry by Sherri Haab – A Review

Beaded Macramé Jewelry by Sherri Haab was my first (and only) Macramé jewellery book. There are many options out there, and as a new comer to the world of macramé, I was pretty overwhelmed by the choices available to me. So I did a bit of research, shortlisted my possible buys, went with my gut, and bought Beaded Macramé Jewelry.

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There are so many wonderful things about this book. I wouldn’t call it the perfect match for what I’m most interested in making (earrings), but it gave me an amazing foundation in the basics of macramé. It’s been over a year since I bought it, and I sometimes still refer to it for certain tips and techniques! My favourite take-away from the book is the sliding closure, which allows you to adjust the length of your piece.

Difficulty Level
Beaded Macramé Jewelry is aimed at novice macramé artists. So if you’re just starting out, this is the book for you. While the projects in the book gradually increase in complexity so that you are constantly challenged, the difficulty level rarely exceeds the capabilities of a beginner. In fact, some of these projects leave you wanting to learn even more about this wonderful art of knotting! Sherri provides a nice write-up about various materials required, essential supplies, and tips on how to finish your projects neatly. She has also dedicated 8 pages to the basic knotting techniques that are used in the projects featured in her book, which is great for a beginner.

Instructions and Photos
Sherri takes you through each project step-by-step, with clear photos for each step. An overload of verbal instructions can be very overwhelming in a macramé project; Sherri doesn’t make that mistake. And in the rare event that you find any of her verbal instructions confusing, the photos come to your rescue.

Variety of Projects
This book has twenty two projects including project variations. In all, there are twelve bracelet projects, three earring projects (that are more variations of a particular style rather than three unique earring projects), a ring project, two necklace projects, one belt project, one watch project, one purse project and one iPod pouch project.

My Rating
star-20-coloring-page 4andahalf edit

Buy it if
•    You want a basic introduction to macramé.
•    You’re looking to make a lot of cool and interesting bracelets.
•    You want to try some fun non-jewellery macramé projects (belts, watches, purses, iPod pouches).

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Don’t buy it if
•    You’re already well-versed in the basics of macramé and are looking for really challenging and intricate designs.

A little about the author (from the book)

Sherri Haab is an award-winning author, illustrator, and designer who teaches classes in crafts and jewellery making. She is the best-selling author of several crafts books for kids, as well as The Art of Metal Clay, Designer Style Jewelry, and The Art of Resin Jewelry, all published by Watson-Guptill. Sherri lives in Springville, Utah.

~ Kirtana