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Book Review: Global Style Jewelry

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“Fascinated by other cultures, I have always loved to travel”

That is the opening line of this recent publication by Interweave. Author Anne Potter seems to be speaking directly to me or reading my mind. I have an Art History degree, and spent numerous years as an arts educator crossing curriculums to tie in art with history and Social Studies. This IS SO MY THING! So when Kerry Bogert of Interweave offered me this to review, I jumped. ( The book was already released when I received it in April – you may have seen it on the shelves. But it was 100% new to me. This was freely given, no $ or favors exchanged hands) 

Global Style Jewelry by Anne Potter

First let me say I liked the book. I liked the diversity of the projects and for the most part nodded in agreement with what the author was saying as to history, culture, peoples, places. The materials section is clear and informative. The book is geared towards beginner/intermediate beaders – and the techniques range from stringing, macrame, bead weaving, and wirework. 

The book is written as a narrative, a travelogue of sorts. This was a tool I thought was engaging – offering a chance to interject cultural references/geography/history with out becoming didactic. Some episodes were more flushed out than others – and I confess I wondered IF the author had actually travelled to all the places. Realistically? Probably not. If so – then color me VERY jealous. 

My biggest fault was the LACK of images to reference the inspiration of a piece. For example: a Celtic woven bracelet, inspired by and referencing the Book of Kells. No images of Irish art included. Now was this a publisher’s decision to keep size/pages down? Was this money saving decision – to save on fees for stock photos or image licensing? I do not know. But it was a detriment to the book overall. With my background I was aware of many of the art/places/cultures/traditional crafts that were referenced. But even I fell down a rabbit hole on Pinterest looking at the “real thing” so I could see how the author had adapted the inspiration into her own work/projects. 

So here are my collages – pairing the image of the book project with the actual inspiration: 

Plaited beaded bracelet and Kells references/Celtic knot work.

Gaudi inspired mosaic bracelet. This one was not my favorite – a bit over simplified, and I would prefer a more refined final piece.

Multi strand bracelet inspired by Ukrainian “vyshyvka” embroidery. I think this one is spot on – taking the palette and the feel of the original and translating it.

Wire wrapped “mosaic” earrings inspired by the palette of Turkish Iznik tile.

Maasai wrap bracelet. Another win: the author discusses the color symbolism in the book – keeping the project culturally sensitive and respectful.

The “asparagus” cuff: Apsara are female nature divinities ( Hindu & Buddhist traditions). This project referenced Angkor Was in Cambodia and the apsaras carved there on the temples. These carving in turn inspired Khmer dance. This was a thread of inspiration I had to pull, following the trail to make the connections. This was a perfect example of how a few well curated images could have improved the book’s message and context greatly.

Inspired by Indian block prints and textile designs! This one I have to try!

The “Bagru, India Block Print earrings ( similar to the “Polish Pottery earrings” earlier in the book) made sense for the first few steps when reading through the directions. I jumped in – having faith that it would make more sense as the beads were in my hand. It did. The directions neglected to say anything about thread tension! I persevered. The results are lovely! ( And I am reminded that I hate Nymo bead thread. ) 

 

Figuring it out one bead at a time.

The directions never called this bead weaving technique by a name. I think it was Brick stitch! At least when I started acting like it was Brick stitch it made sense and worked well! Im not sure I like the contrasting thread color with my palette… andI would like to try the design with Fireline and see how the thread make a difference. I have one more to do – and I will finish it. I omitted the top teardrop as the earrings as shown would have been 3″ long. I chose to reinforce the stitches where the ear wire is attached – although that was NOT mentioned in the book. I felt it needed that security. 

One earring done! I will wear these! Not sure I will go into production for shows though…

So in closure: I know! Very long post! I DID like the book and the projects. I was inspired – with by what was included and by new ideas that spun off from the images and my resulting research. There were numerous projects that incorporated similar techniques. (see below) While I first that that was redundant – it grew on me as a valuable teaching tool to show readers how to vary and customize designs. Some techniques were simple: a multi wrap bracelet strung on memory wire. But the cultural inspiration made it more appealing to me. So – I’m off to buy memory wire! 

1. Maasai cuff 2. Raked pebble bracelet (Japan) 3. Ukranian Vyshyvka bracelet 4. Aspara cuff (Cambodia)

 

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Jenny Davies-Reazor

Jenny Davies-Reazor is a mixed media artist inspired by myth, folklore and the natural world. A proud Jack-of-all-trades, she concentrated in metals and painting in art school, turned to clay during her teaching career, and is truly happiest when mixing materials in unusual ways. From clay to resin, paper to polymer... Since leaving her ceramics classroom, Jenny is always in the studio: fabricating jewelry, creating ceramic shrines and decorative tiles, and teaching in a variety of mediums. " I love sharing my passion for art, and seeing sparks light up in student's eyes..."
  1. Reply

    Thank you for your review. I actually love your picture combinations and the lack of images that inspired the work would actually be a no for this book for me. I also do love the bracelets, though they would not be enough for me to buy this book.

    A general question (also for the other who read this): I am still looking for good jewelry book that are not basic and or redundant with their techniques. Most of the time although I love the general look of a book I won’t buy it because I don’t need the tutorials. (I do buy them if they inspire me enough though 😉 )

  2. Reply

    Jenny I loved this blog post! Thank you for finding all the extra reference for the areas that were lacking, I have to agree with you I would have been disappointed for the ‘missing links/photos.

  3. Reply

    Very interesting. And may I suggest you might consider writing a book with the level of detailed references you provided here. I for one would read it!

  4. Reply

    Thank you for this review. And your added photos really helped pull it together. I would still like to check this book out as it sounds very inspiring. I am definitely going to pull my memory wire out and play with it;-)
    And I agree with Karen…you should write a book!

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