by Jennifer Heynen
Two Books ... in One Fantastic Volume!
review by Jean Yates, guest editor for June 2008
This totally lovely hardback book, Ceramic Bead Jewelry, by one of our own beloved bead makers, the super nice and very cool Jennifer Heynen, is the first book of its kind to really get right to the heart of ceramic bead making. Additionally, it offers fabulous jewelry designs, all created by Jennifer herself. So, in one sentence: What a GREAT book! You are actually getting two books in one! A beading making instructional book, and a jewelry design book!
I was blown away by the projects, the glorious colors which Jennifer employs when creating her ebullient ceramic beads, and also her fantastically fun and innovative ideas, all of which are clearly explained.
In case you don't know, Jennifer owns the online bead business called Jangles (http://www.jangles.net/ ). If you go to her site, you will see right from the start, by looking at her photograph on the home page, that this person is a happy soul, doing what she loves... and she is doing a great job!
In her book, she teaches us to create the beads in the manner in which she does, and then to design with them. This is a first for ceramic bead making. What a great help to everyone looking for lessons in this beautiful and creative art process. Ceramic has not been a medium which has been covered sufficiently in print, although there are many fabulous artists out there who are extremely popular right now. The author is one of the leaders in this great group, and sharing her manner of working is a very wonderful gift which she has given to the reader.
The projects are myriad in variety, too. If you don't want to make your boyfriend a cool necklace (I personally love that "Boyfriend Necklace"!), move on, and try her "Cupid Ring"! If that doesn't suit you, prepare yourself to flip out over her "Cute as a Button" earrings or her neat, wrist-fitting "Polka Dot Fun" bracelet. Interesting to me as well are her "Flowery Cuff", where she has studded her flower shaped beads on a wide, soft, tan velveteen band, like something I have never seen anywhere before (Wow! Very impressive to me! In all honesty this is high praise from me--I am the original research geek who spends days online just looking around at all sorts of "stuff"!), and then, there is her "Fabulous Fiber Belt ", which shows off her superb sense of color. That sense of color is always on target, whether she is working with brights or muted tones.
Even if you don't plan to make your own ceramic beads, this book stands as a success simply as a jewelry design book. The author's website (mentioned above) is also cited right in the book. Her fantastic, gorgeous beads can be purchased there, which makes it easy to start at Step two, if you like. She has lots of kits, too! I hope she continues make her kits available and adds even more after Bead and Button is over!
To sum up, "Step one", which would be creating beads like Jennifer's, before designing, looks like lots of fun. "Step two"--buying her beads outright and simply enjoying her book, of course is a great alternative as well!
The photographs are wonderful (it is a Lark book), with very vivid and exciting colors.
I think that this book, with its many bracelets, pendants, earrings, rings, and even a cute pineapple pin, is a total winner! I am delighted to own this lively, high quality, clearly explained, well written, beautiful piece of work: Ceramic Bead Jewelry by Jennifer Heynen.
You can read more of Jean's writing on her blog.