Metal Techniques of Bronze Age Masters: All Chained Up
($24.95 US) by Victoria Lansford
, well-known for her expertise in silversmithing arts including Russian filigree and Eastern repoussé, demonstrates the ancient tradition of making Mediterranean chain patterns in this fully-illustrated 102 page book. Victoria started making chains when she realized the commercially available chains available to hang her unique pendants from were not going to create the cohesive style she was after when it came to designing a complete jewelry piece. Not surprisingly, she turned to the ancient masters for answers and inspiration.
Tools and Techniques
Though it is possible to solder links and then create many of the designs shown in the text, Victoria prefers fusing because fused links require less clean up and provide more flexibility. In the first part of the book, she explains and shows (via color photographs) how to fabricate and then fuse fine silver links. She also shows a similar process for fusing gold links. Along with her explanations, she provides trouble shooting tips and suggestions for speeding up the process, which can be time consuming due to the large number of links required for making chains. There's also a section on studio safety and required materials.
Projects and Chain Patterns
The bulk of the text covers jewelry projects and, of course, chain patterns. The first project section concentrates on five ancient Mediterranean chain patterns, and in addition to demonstrating how to make the chains, the projects include other techniques such as fabricating and connecting clasps and adding dangles or pendants. So, you can end up with a finished piece of jewelry, not just a chain.
Then there is Victoria Lansford's own chain pattern designs, four total, which are a "take" on the masters' techniques but adapted to her own style, a mixture of filigree work and links. These also include full-color photographs for each project.
jewelry is stunning. Obviously, this master didn't learn to whip up these designs over night, and readers should also expect a learning curve, especially those jewelry makers who may be new to working with metals and torches. However, for the designer who is ready to advance his or her jewelry skills, Victoria's text is a wonderful learning tool. She is also very accessible, even including her email in the introduction.