The romance of crystals is captured in this magnificent collection from Anna Elizabeth Draeger. Crystal Brilliance: Making Designer Jewelry with Crystal Beads showcases the brilliance and breathtaking hues of CRYSTALLIZED™ – Swarovski Elements in 26 projects plus creative variations such as alternate colors and coordinating earrings. Popular stitches including peyote, Ndebele herringbone, netting, and right-angle weave are adapted by the author in exciting new ways. The fantastic designs, combined with the reliable instructions Bead&Button magazine readers love, make this a valuable resource.
•Elegant and exciting new ways to work with crystal beads
•Appeals to both stitchers and stringers
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Author: Anna Draeger
Softcover; 8 1/4 x 10 3/4; 96 pages; 150 color photos; ISBN: 9780871162953
All about crystals – shapes, sizes, colors, and finishes
Projects in four sections:
Starlight (modified netting)
ITAL: Bracelet with earrings/charm option
Bracelet with earring option
Belle epoque (peyote stitch/stringing)
Faerie dust (right-angle weave/fringe)
Antique lace (chevron stitch)
Bracelet with petite option
Lattice (chevron stitch)
Taxi (chevron stitch)
Bracelet with petite option
Cubist (right-angle weave)
Bracelet with pendant option
Cages (right-angle weave)
Bracelet with pattern option
Sputnik (right-angle weave)
Bracelet/beaded bead with earring option
Princess (peyote stitch/chevron stitch)
Crown jewels (fringe)
Bracelet with colorway option
Courtly (modified netting)
Bracelet with contrasting color option
Bracelet with bold option
Empire (peyote stitch/fringe)
Majesty (right-angle weave)
Necklace with earring option
Lily (modified spiral rope)
Tide pool (netting)
Droplets (peyote stitch)
Clusters (daisy chain/netting)
Necklace with bracelet option
Necklace with bracelet option
Bright buttons (peyote stitch)
Bracelet with earrings option
Curving branch (herringbone/fringe)
Bracelet with necklace option
Today's book review is courtesy of Kalmbach Publishing, which sent a copy of Crystal Brilliance by Anna Elizabeth Draeger for me to take a look at and give my two cents. When I tore open the package, I didn't initially feel qualified to give a book review for a book that teaches how to weave crystals and seed beads together. After all, I have never done that before. However, I remedied that situation as you will see below.
The book starts out with Draeger giving a brief history of how she picked up beading. It's always fun to hear how a talented artist stumbles upon that which makes their heart sing. Then she goes on to say "Many of the projects in this book can be tackled by anyone who's motivated, even a beginner." Hear the wheels turning yet?
The next section explains color, crystal shapes, culling beads, findings, type of needles to use, beading thread and the various issues with using beading thread, using ergonomics to avoid damaging hands, wrists, neck, etc. Draeger also discusses the ideal work space, and creating new designs.
One of the best things about the first section are the crystals, lined up by color, marching across the bottom of the pages. So, if like me, you get frustrated trying to interpret colors online, these photos are high quality photos of each crystal. The color looks very accurate when I compared them to the pitifully small number of colors I have in my collection.
Following this information, the book is organized into four sections: Classic, Romantic, Geometric, and Organic and each project is assigned into the appropriate section. Each section starts out with the simplest project and works up to more complicated designs.
Each design includes a list of materials (size, number of beads, etc), and another list in a colored box off to the side with an inventory of the exact colors used in case you want to make an exact replica of the project. The directions are step by step and very clear. Illustrations are included for each step showing the line and direction of the thread with arrows and a clear, gorgeous photo of the finished product.
One of my favorite things about each project is the inclusion of a design alternative as well as the materials needed for the alternative. There are 26 actual projects, but with the design alternatives, that number technically balloons to nearly double the projects. While some alternatives are subtle, several are very different and help the beader see how to make a matching pair of earrings or completely change the look of a piece.
The end of the book contains a Basics section on things like how to end a thread (I had no clue how to do that before reading this book!)
Remember how I said I didn't feel qualified to review a book when I've never done anything like this before? I decided to test whether a beginner could truly be successful doing one of these projects. Luckily I had all the supplies I needed because my good friend Carol had sent me a care package so I could pick up peyote (no, I still haven't done it yet). I chose the very first project in the book and made my daughter this bracelet following the directions very closely.
After feeling pretty good about how it turned out, I hunted for the next thing to try. The main problem I have is the lack of large amounts of crystals. This next set of earrings is one of the design alternatives offered for a necklace project-actually it's the necklace in the top photo on the cover of the book. I was so thrilled with how they were turning out, until my daughter said "are those supposed to be cherries?" Now all I can see is cherries when I look at them.
Disgusted with the idea I just made a set of cherry earrings (those are fuschia pink and not red, by the way!), I decided to make the beaded crystal beads and use them to design something more my style. Let's face it, those earrings are not my style. They are definitely cute, but not me. The seed bead stems bothered me even before the girl child compared them to fruit.
So, I made another pair of earrings next and included a couple of my lampwork spacers and more silver. This feels like me ;o) I just wish I had thought all the way through and used a lighter color thread instead of the black fireline. Oh well. At least it isn't noticable from a distance, mostly just when you zoom in super close. I just love how these things are so SPARKLY! Yum.
I love the idea of beaded beads. That is the ultimate in bead addiction, right? When you make beads out of other beads? I already placed an order for more crystals so I can try more designs.
-Jennifer Cameron, Glass Addictions
The making of jewelry is an increasingly popular home craft. In "Crystal Billiance: Making Designer Jewelry with Crystal Beads", professional jewelry designer Anna Elizabeth Draeger has compiled a superbly organized and presented, profusely illustrated, 80-page compendium of thirty different do-it-yourself projects utilizing the impressive brilliance and many colored hues of Swarovski crystals. The project designs range from the Classic to the Romantic, from the Geometric to the Organic. Thoroughly 'user friendly', "Crystal Brilliance" will enable even the most novice jewelry maker to produce elegant pieces that suitable for any and all occasions, making it an enthusiastically recommended addition to personal and community library Crafts & Hobbies instructional resource collections.
-The Midwest Book Review