The Art of Forgotten Things: Creating Jewelry from Objects with a Past
by Melanie Doerman is published by Interweave Books
(copyright September 2012). It retails in the U.S for $24.95 as a hard copy and $19.95 as an ebook version. The hard copy version is in a paperback format with 160 pages of text, full-color images, graphs, and illustrations.
This book marries mixed media with bead weaving and has a little wire included as well. The use of bead weaving techniques provide a unique way to embellish as well as connect found objects in the jewelry pieces included in the projects section.
Tools and Supplies
The tools as supplies section includes a discussion of beading supplies, primarily focusing on seed beads and related materials such as threads, needles, and an assortment of tools. A few tools that venture more into the mixed media realm include resin, a sewing machine, and an eyelet setter. Then this section is followed by a few pages that discuss different type of mixed media elements, or "treasures" as the author likes to refer to them; small bottles, chain, ribbon, sea glass, medals, and more are items she suggest you should start collecting as you venture into her style of jewelry designing that connects memories with beads and wire.
For techniques, much of this part of the book discusses traditional bead weaving stitches like peyote and right angle weave. There is a sprinkling of other techniques such as wire wrapping, but primarily the techniques in this book revolve around bead weaving. She uses these in a few different ways. Sometimes they are used to connect pieces together. Sometimes they are used to enhance items. Sometimes they do both. For example, one technique I really liked was how she created tubes of seed beads (aka the beaded bead
) and then used these to cover areas on a piece of jewelry that might connect something like a clasp and a piece of ribbon.
Techniques are both described with step by step instructions and include graphs as well. There are also color photographs of pieces that use the techniques that are explained. This section of the book is pretty thorough. Experienced bead weavers might already know many of the basic stitches discussed, but I think they will be interested in the way she explains how these are then used as different methods for forming connections with various jewelry components.
Finally, there are the projects. Most of them are amazing and detailed necklaces, but there are also a few very elaborate bracelet designs as well. There is a total of 15 projects, 12 necklaces and 3 bracelets. Many of them include variations as well. Instructions for each project include detailed step by step explanations, drawn illustrations, and color photographs. Additional sidebar tips are also added throughout this part of the book. As extended sidebars, there are four pages that divide up the projects section and discuss related designing information such as how to tell a story and setting up a creative space.
If you like working with seed beads and have an affinity for unusual found objects, then many of the projects will appeal to you. I particularly liked "The Story Pendant" that has a component in the center which pictures the Eiffel Tower that is then encased with seed beads, attached to a wire and bead necklace strap, and then attached to pretty silk ribbon.
Unfortunately, Melanie Doerman did not see the final publication of her first book, as she passed away before it was published. She is very much missed by the jewelry and beading community, and even before this book was published, she had inspired many other creative souls. This book is a testament to her unique creativity, and I believe it will inspire many jewelry designers in the future.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy