Anodized: Brilliant Colors and Bold Designs for Aluminum Jewelry
by Clare Stiles (Lark Books $19.95 US) shows how to color, paint, and form anodized aluminum into jewelry. Instructions include using pre-anodized aluminum, but also explains how to anodize the aluminum used as well.
The 128 page book includes lots of full-color photographs, information about aluminum and how to work with it, and 13 jewelry projects.
Tools and Techniques
Before getting into the tools and techniques used to make the jewelry in the book, there is a section that includes information about how to anodize the metal. This needs some specialized equipment and chemicals, which the author warns requires the jewelery designer to pay special attention to safety issues. She explains, as well, that she is providing an overview on the process of anodizing aluminum, and anyone who wants to do this on his or her own should do more research before attempting it.
Luckily, for those who are not ready to jump into a chemistry class, the materials, tools, and equipment section explains that you can also just buy pre-anodized aluminum sheet or you can bring aluminum to a company who does the anodizing for you.
Coloring the metal using dyes and inks and learning how to cut, form, and forge it is discussed next. Much of this section includes text-based directions and color photographs of the finished results.
Dyeing and coloring is again discussed further on in the book in much more detail, and this section is pretty extensive. Some of the techniques, like using rubber stamps, are very accessible. Other techniques include transferring a resist, mono-printing, and silkscreening.
Techniques take up a good 60 plus pages before getting into the projects section.
The projects section is full of color step-by-step photographs showing how to color and work with the metal. Some projects also include a few drawn illustrations to show how to assemble jewelry components together. A few of the projects, like the Forged Hair or Sweater Pin, require the use of a torch. Then there are some projects, such as the Stamp Cuff (shown on the cover as well), that are completely hand-fabricated, no torch required.
The projects are contemporary and (obviously) very colorful. I particularly liked the Disk Pendant project. A designs is added to an aluminum disc using an image transfer technique, and then this is attached to a neck wire using cold connections.
Projects include an assortment of earrings, necklace, pins, and bracelets as well as one ring project. None look overly difficult, but for those with no soldering experience, that may be an additional method to master in order to be able to complete all the projects.
Considering the cost of precious metals, aluminum can be a great way to use metal in your jewelry without adding a huge cost to the finished piece, so this book is very timely. It really focuses mainly on working with the metal as well as methods for coloring it, so those with zero jewelry experience may have to use additional resources to have a full understanding of how to assemble the finished jewelry pieces.
Beads are most often the first jewelry component we think of when it comes to adding color to metal jewelry, so being able to color the metal and using this to create color, textures, and patterns is inspiring.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy