I recently purchased the book "Links" by Jean Yates. It is quite a rarity for me to purchase a bead book, as I have been beading for many, many years and am familiar with most basic techniques, so the book has to be pretty special for me to want to purchase it. "Links" fits that criteria for me. While this book is perfect for a beginner, full of basic techniques tho get one started in jewelry making, it also contains beautiful photos with incredible art beads, enlightening interviews, valuable thoughts on creativity and inspiration, and more advanced techniques to please even the seasoned bead artist.
The thing I like best about the book is that it features many incredible art beads from popular and well known artists such as Barbara Becker Simon, Aardvark Glass, Emma Ralph, Green Girl Studios, Kate McKinnon, and many others. I would say that more than half of the projects contain art beads, and the others use high quality, beautiful materials as well. Scattered throughout the book are mini features called "Creative Connections" which are snippets of interviews Jean has done with the bead artists whose beads she has used in the projects, which really brings a nice collaborative feeling to the book.
I especially enjoyed Jean's introduction to each project, each of which tells a personal story of inspiration...what she was thinking of when she designed the piece. Some of her jewelry stories are about people she knows, family and friends, or memories of her youth. Yet others are a response to the beautiful materials she created with. Each story helps the reader to understand the *why* of the project, which is followed by *how* with the instructions. As an advanced beader, the *why* is what interests me, as I am continually searching for sources of creativity myself.
But the *how* is an integral part of this book, as it is full of projects and instructions. And the first day I sat down to read "Links", I was inspired to learn a new technique! The more advanced projects near the back of the book called to me. There are several beautiful chain making projects in the book, many which feature art beads. Chain making is a technique that I am often intimidated by, but Jean shows the basic techniques in such vivid detail and direction, I was able to whip out my first Byzantine bracelet in no time! And since then, I have been itching to try some of the other chain techniques shown in the book as well. My bracelet project is not a direct copy of the one in the book, and again and again Jean shows us that that is the point to creativity...to become inspired by projects and techniques and make them our own!
I highly recommend Jean Yates' "Links" to everyone who is interested in beads, at any level. I believe it has something for everyone!