Irina Miech is an artist, teacher, and the author of a series of popular how-to books on metal clay jewelry design for beaders. She also oversees a 6,000-square-foot retail bead supply business and classroom studio, where she teaches classes in beading, wirework, and metal clay. The metal clay certification program she designed is recognized by the PMC Guild. Her previous books are Metal Clay for Beaders, More Metal Clay for Beaders, Inventive Metal Clay, and Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders. Her jewelry designs also have been featured in Bead&Button, BeadStyle, and Art Jewelry magazines.
HOW TO USE THIS BOOK 7
WIREWORKING BASICS 8
About wire 9
Wireworking tools and supplies 10
Wireworking techniques 15
BEGINNER PROJECTS 19
Uptown Chic | necklace and earrings 20
Burst of Color | necklace and earrings 24
Crystal Rings | chain-and-wire bracelet 28
Sparkling Ladder | bracelet and earrings 30
Cornucopia of Gems | pendant and earrings 34
On the Vine | necklace 38
Hammered Spirals | pendant and earrings 43
INTERMEDIATE PROJECTS 47
Whimsical Pins | three styles of pins 48
Celestial Gems | necklace and earrings 52
Wire-wrapped Heart | necklace 55
Wire Findings | hook, toggle clasp, and earring wires 60
Zigzag Rings | three styles of rings 65
Wire-wrapped Donut | pendant 70
Framed Pearls | necklace, bracelet, and earrings 73
ADVANCED PROJECTS 77
Beaded Leaf | framed pin 78
Wire-wrapped Cabochon | pendant 82
Wire-wrapped Stone | pendant 87
Celtic Knots | necklace, bracelet, and earrings 91
Leaf Silhouettes | necklace and earrings 97
Spiral Cuff | bracelet 103
Window Wrap | necklace 107
ABOUT THE AUTHOR 111
Beautiful Wire Jewelry by Irina Miech crossed my desk this week and it certainly gets a thumbs up from me. Published by Kalmbach Books and designed and edited in their easy to follow, well thought out style, this book contains step-by-step project instructions for all skill levels. As someone who does not follow instructions, I'm happy to say that each project also teaches techniques that can be applied to your own designs and projects.
Beginning to wireworking basics and progressing to advanced cabachon wraps, I think this is a beautiful book that will appeal to a broad cross section of beaders and jewelry makers. I especially loved the Framed Pearls and Celtic Knots projects. They are elegant and very wearable. Be sure to give it a look.
Charlene Anderson Unravelings
Admission time, I bought this book because of the full page advertisement I saw in the May issue of Art Jewelry Magazine. The bracelet featured in the ad is very much my style of wire work, so I bought the entire book for one project.
However, Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders by Irina Miech is so much more than one project. The book is set up as so many of these books are. It starts with wire, tools, and supplies and explanations for them. One handy thing in this section is the chart that shows the conversion of wire guage size to inches AND mm. Often when I am buying beads and need to know the hole size that will fit with the wire, the beads are given in mm while the wire is in inches. Then I have to look up the conversion each time. I am thinking I will photocopy the chart and post it on the wall for easy reference.
The next section is very basic wireworking techniques needed to know to do any wirework at all. Although they are explained again in the the beginner projects, it is a good reference section for beginners to turn back to without wondering which project they saw the instructions for how to make a basic loop or a spiral.
Next the book is divided into Beginner, Intermediate and then Advanced. Each project builds from the previous project. For example, the first project in the Beginner section uses basic loops to construct a necklace and earrings. The second project covers making a necklace and earrings using wrapped loops. By the end of the Beginner section, you could potentially have a full jewelry box AND a set of basic skills that results in beautiful pieces. Although I had all the basic skills down, there are some really cool ideas that I never would have thought of in that section.
Intermediate starts out with instructions for 3 different Whimsical Pins and covers a wide range of projects from pendants, to rings, to creating your own findings.
And guess what? That bracelet I was so entranced by? It's the 2nd to last project in the Advanced section of the book. Let's just say I skipped ahead and started on the Spiral Cuff first. However, Irina's cuff uses a variety of sizes and materials of beads in her demo cuff and I decided to do my first one in copper (cheap if I screw up!) and used all 4mm swarovski bicones. Honestly, I don't like the look of all bicones. So, I am going to cut the wire used to coil the bicones on and redo it using a variety of stuff laying around.
Interestingly, I didn't like some of the advanced projects. It is mostly due to my wire wrapping style and what appeals to me asthetically. I prefer a more organic, loosey goosey look. My first foray into wire wrapping was the more rigid, almost architectural look using square wire, etc. I hated it. I still have that piece, but gave up playing with wire for a long time until I learned not all wire wrapping has to be like that.
However, the fact that there are 21 projects in this book and I don't like 2 or 3 of them...is a pretty darn good deal. One of the best features is that immediately following the instructions for each individual piece is a gallery of ideas for other ways to use what you just learned. Many books have a single gallery. This book has a gallery for each and every single project. I think I got as much out of those as the original piece shown.
Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders really has something for everyone: from the beginner that has never picked up a pair of chainnose or a wire cutter, to the most seasoned wire worker, this is an excellent book. There are very few wire working books that I personally love. This is one of them and I think you will love it too.
Glass Addictions by Jennifer Cameron
This is such a terrific book, I can hardly wait to tell you about it! A friend of mine purchased a copy of Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders, and she recently loaned it to me because she was curious to see what I thought of it. I've seen all the jewelry making books out there, you see, and I own many of them, too. Would I be inspired by the author's designs, or bored by the same-old, same-old content that is typical of so many jewelry books these days?
Well, I'm so happy to report that this truly is a stand-out book on wire jewelry! Many of the author's designs are quite original and refreshing, such as her Whimsical Pins on page 48, her unique Wire Wrapped Heart on page 55, fantastic Zigazag Rings on page 65, and—my personal fav—the Beaded Leaf on page 78.
You know, when I first started perusing the book, I thought it was going to be ordinary. That's because the first 46 pages are taken up with the usual stuff: tools & materials, a discussion on wire, etc. plus lots of beginner-basics that we've all seen before: wrapped loops, spirals, attaching commercial chains to wire to make jewelry pieces, and lots of simple, easy projects for newbies.
Since I have written five art & craft books myself, I understand the importance of providing this information and instruction. It levels the field, making jewelry techniques more accessible to everyone. But sometimes, after picking up one book after another that is taken up with beginner basics, I just want to say, "please, no more wrapped loops!!!" Can't we get beyond that?
Well, no. I myself included plenty of beginner-basic instruction in my most recent book, Contemporary Copper Jewelry, which releases this September. I had to do it—there's no way around it. But getting back to this terrific new book by Irina Miech: If you're an intermediate to advanced (experienced) wire jewelry artist, once you get past the first half of the book you'll be rewarded with some very rich and satisfying content.
I love the author's fun and whimsical yet sophisticated and feminine approach to jewelry design. Irina offers some really cute projects, some challenging ideas, designs that can easily be altered to your own taste, and—best of all—a wealth of creative options. I like her step-by-step instruction with full-color photos, her galleries of art jewelry that follow each project, and her originality. You'll find no copies of other artists' work here. The author shares some really terrific new designs that I have not seen elsewhere in other books or magazines.
One of the best features of this book is that the projects have been divided into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced groupings. The publisher color-coded the pages with a strip of color to alert the reader: a burgundy strip for beginner projects, brown for intermediate, and green for advanced. This way, you can easily find the type of project you'd like to tackle based on your skill level. Brilliant idea!
I don't often find a book that captures my respect the way that Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders has done. This title gets a very high recommendation from me!