Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Book review - Jewelry Made With Wire & Fiber by Nealay Patel

Nealay Patel's latest book is the perfect inspiration for the coming season. Packed full of unique and striking designs using both flat and tubular fibre cord, you will find lots of ideas for bracelets, necklaces and earrings in its pages.

Nealay was always a popular designer with Beads & Beyond magazine. His clever use of beading wire and knitted wire were the focus of his first two books (Jewerly for the New Romantic and Jewelry Designs with Knitted Wire). This time, Nealay has come up with 15 different projects using a variety of colourful cords, wire, and a wonderful selection of beads in various shapes and sizes.

The book begins with a helpful section on tools. Pleasingly, most of these tools are probably already in your jewellery making kit aside from the wire jig which, if you don't already own one, is definitely something you should think about investing in – you will find it useful for all sorts of tasks with wire from simple earwires to more complicated wire motifs. There is also a useful section on materials. I always like to be able to see what supplies I will need to complete the projects in the book in case there is anything unusual that I don't already have in my stash. You will be pleased to know that most of the resources needed are common items that you probably already have in your bead room. And then there is always the pleasure of discovering beads you've not seen before – check out the cage beads!

Once you've found all the tools and supplies you need, you are almost ready to get started. Nealay provides a techniques section to cover all the skills required by the projects in the book. Everything from simple coils and loops to attaching end caps is covered.

When you turn the page to the projects, you'll be struck by the photography. Nealay always provides a main image of the finished item in its entirety that is a great reference point for the design. Also included is a detailed materials list for the piece and then step by step instructions, each with a close-up photograph as well as text.

Flicking through the range of designs in the book, you'll notice that there is a mixture of pieces using different techniques to incorporate other components with the cord. However, unlike previous books from Nealay, you will not be using a beading needle to sew beads into your piece. Instead, you will discover ways to use wire to 'sew' your beads to the cord.

I think the book has a great summer vibe. There is a tribal feel to some pieces and others are definitely festival ready, especially with the layering of strands. Of the designs included, I particularly like the Artemis necklace which uses flat cord at different lengths to great effect. 

I was also pleased to see the Serpent design which makes use of SilverSilk knitted wire (a Nealay staple!) alongside fibre cord to make a pair of statement earrings.

If you like to work with wire, why not try the Tribal necklace and push your wirework skills further? This design changes the orientation of the cord for yet another stunning effect.

So, whether you are already a fan of Nealay's books or are new to his designs, you are sure to be inspired by the projects in this latest book.

Jewelry Made With Wire & Fiber is available from Amazon,
priced at £17.63
ISBN 978-1542371827