Jill Wiseman's Beautiful Beaded Ropes: 24 Wearable Jewelry Projects in Multiple Stitches
is from Lark Jewelry and Beading's
Mater Class series. It is a 120 page 8 1/2 x 10 inch hardcover book with mix of full color photographs, text, and colored illustrations. It retails for $27.95 in the US and was published in September 2012.
Jill Wiseman is a familiar name in the bead weaving world. She travels extensively as she teaches bead weaving and sells her hand crafted beading kits. Jill is also one of the owners of Tapestry Beads. You will often find her at many of the big beading shows such as Bead and Button and Bead Fest.
Introductory Section, Materials, and Techniques
The first chapter focuses on the supplies, tools, and techniques used in the book. For anyone who is familiar with seed beading, this is pretty standard information. Though I did find it interesting that the author talks briefly about how seed beads are now coming out of China. The quality, however, she explains is not very good, so she mainly prefers Japanese seed beads. A few hand tools as well as threads are also discussed here. She prefers Fireline because of its strength, especially when mixed with crystal beads.
The techniques part of the first chapter explains how to do a number of common bead weaving stitches such as peyote, right angle weave, and spiral rope. This part includes step by step instructions and colored beading graphs. All of these stitches, understandably, are geared towards weaving in the round.
The Book's Projects
The bulk of the book is project based and shows how to make 24 different types of jewelry designs using the weaving techniques previously described. In fact, the projects are divided up by stitches: spiral ropes, peyote ropes, netted ropes, herringbone ropes, raw ropes, and then other stitches. While you would expect mainly necklaces in this book, there are a fair number of other jewelry pieces including 9 bracelet designs, 3 earring projects, and even a ring. I liked to see that because, no big surprise, bead weaving can take a good chunk of time. If you only had necklaces to pick from, then you would be talking about a lot of super duper time consuming projects. At least with earrings or even bracelets, you can get your beaded rope fix and not spend a lifetime making the pieces.
Of course, as I just said, seed beading projects take a lot of time to make, but that is the nature of the medium. At least with these projects, I think the time is well spent. They are really all just gorgeous. I seriously can not see one piece that I would not love to wear. "Flirtation Bracelet" is a four strand piece with tassels that come from the center, and it is made with 24-karat gold electroplated seed beads and turquoise crystals. Another project that I really like is the "Heavenly Hoop Earrings." They look so rich because she uses dark metallic purples and hints of gold as well as tanzanite crystal beads. What struck me about all of these designs is that you could actually wear them comfortably. A few are a little on the large size (such as the cover piece "Abundance Necklace"), but none are so "artistic" that they can not actually be worn without feeling like you are a display stand instead of a person who can move around normally.
If you love the intricacies of working with seed beads and weaving them into beautiful and wearable jewelry pieces, then you will love this book. Beginners might find some of the designs a little daunting, mainly because of the time involved having to make though. The techniques are really pretty standard. What Jill Wiseman has been able to do with this book is to take standard bead weaving stitches and enhance them with fabulous bead combinations and elegant components (such as her choice of very pretty clasps for example). Total beginners will have to take the time to practice the stitches, but jewelry makers who already have some bead weaving experience will be able to jump into many of these projects.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy