If you follow jewelry design books, you know the name Sherri Haab, author of nearly two dozen editions on crafts. Now, she's back with an updated version of "The Art of Metal Clay: Techniques for Creating Jewelry and Decorative Objects."
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This latest edition, due out July 27, includes a CD designed to help crafters with a variety of skills and experience to take up her suggested projects.
Among the tips in the new book are:
A better way to calculate accurate ring sizes
Working with new bronze and copper clays
Methods for expanding the color palette
Techniques for etching metal clay
For the uninitiated, metal clay is a moldable material that turns into metal after firing. It comprises tiny bits of metals mixed with water and an organic binder, allowing the soft material to be shaped into many different kinds of creative art before it is fired into its permanent look. The result is a huge range of distinctive jewelry, from rings to earrings, necklaces, bracelets and many more items.
My daughter has been venturing into this craft, partly as a way of creating items for a school fundraiser. Getting started is relatively simple, as long as you choose an easy metal to work with and don't try to test beginner skills on the more complex projects. (An art teacher provides the firing process, since we don't keep a kiln around.)
What the book offers is detailed guidance in the selection of materials, since the kind of metal can affect which project is chosen. Charts and explanatory text are very thorough, indicating what material fires at which temperatures, what other material it works with, and ideas for the actual end work. Projects are accompanied by close-up photos illustrating how to carry them out, as well as the completed item.
There are also lists of resources, such as places to buy the wires, metals, powders and tools needed for each project. The writing is simple and clear, going a long way to easing any anxiety newbies might experience. And best of all, Haab's creativity should fire the imagination of crafters who have run out of ideas.