Ancient Modern: Polymer Clay and Wire Jewelry by Ronna Sarvas Weltman ($22.95 Interweave Press) includes 15 projects and numerous jewelry making techniques, showing how to combine wire and polymer clay media. The unique perspective of the author combines a primitive style with an artistic sensitivity in this 136 page text that include 300 color photographs. While you would expect to see these jewelry pieces exhibited in trendy galleries, Weltman also takes wearablity into account during her designing process.
Normally, you would expect to find a book about polymer clay that has polymer clay techniques and a book about wire to have wire techniques, but as Weltman explains, she was looking for a way to create a distinctive style and realized that by combining these she could accomplish just that.
Wire methods covered include how to make clasps, wire beads, and even ring shanks. Basically, the wire is used to attach some of the polymer clay pieces together, to enhance the clay, and also to provide a way to wear the finished piece.
Some of the polymer clay techniques include a large assortment of bead making techniques, color blending, and canes.
The text includes a techniques section for methods used multiple times in some of the jewelry projects as well as information on the necessary tools you'll need. There are lots of color photographs to help you through the steps as well.
While the book as 15 projects, that can be a little misleading I think because some of the projects require a variety of pieces to be made and then assembled. For example, the first project is a beaded necklace called "Serendipity's Sister." However, this one project shows you how to make 8 different types of polymer clay beads. Then you assemble the beads into the necklace. So there is more "bang for your buck" so to speak when it comes to many of the jewelry projects in the book.
There is a lot going on in this book, and I think anyone who is interested in learning some solid polymer clay techniques won't be disappointed. The wire is a close second when it comes to what is covered. There is also an interesting section concerning designing, covering issues of color, mechanics, and inspiration.
If you strongly prefer traditional jewelry styles, then you may not find the projects in this book fit your aesthetic tastes. As the title suggests, Ancient Modern, you can expect some unusual designs in this book that have a primitive look to them and organic flair. In fact, that is what the author is known for, so just keep that in mind. However, that's not to say you couldn't use her techniques when you design your own jewelry-style. This idea of finding your own design voice is something she discusses as well, and considering the combination of polymer clay and wire is pretty unusual, there are a lot of possibilities between these pages.