Irina Miech is an artist, teacher, and the author of five popular Kalmbach how-to books on jewelry design for beaders. She also oversees her two retail stores, Eclectica and The Bead Studio, in Brookfield, Wis., 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, Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders, and Metal Clay Rings. Her jewelry designs also have been featured in Bead&Button, BeadStyle, and Art Jewelry magazines.
Irina Miech, who is better known for her work in Precious Metal Clay has written a new book especially for beaders who like working with metal in cold techniques. This book is a sequel to Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders.
It says it's a wire book, and much of it is, but there are other techniques in this book as well.
The introduction starts with a description of the types of tools you'll need, then it goes straight into the projects.
In the beginner section, there are a lot of basic techniques which have been covered in other books before. They are all well photographed steps and create wearable simple pieces that are easy to personalize with your own style and color choices. She illustrates wrapped links, plain links, coils, wrapping and using filigree pieces to create very pretty pieces of jewelry. It's a well done introduction into the basic skills, and includes some very fun pieces like a bead wrapped skeleton key and a lovely bangle bracelet which could quickly become a favorite instant gratification project.
Then the part of the book that makes it truly worth adding to your bookshelf of wire working books. The projects increase in difficulty, building on the skills learned doing the projects from the previous chapter, the next chapter is Intermediate Projects. These include forged spirals, contemporary wire wrapping, more on making findings, using filigrees to create bezels for rivolis, and some very nice looking beads made with links of wire. At the end of the intermediate chapter is a project that uses riveting techniques to make a very polished pair of earrings.
The last chapter is Advanced, still building on the skills from the projects in the previous chapters, it starts with a stamped and riveted pendant. The projects are intricate and gorgeous. Providing ideas and skills for cold fabrication techniques that are very inspiring. I love the fibulas (shawl pins).
The end of the book has more information about the wire types, plier types and other tools and techniques, so if you do get hung up on something, it might be in the reference in the back.
-BellaOnline, Shala Kerrigan
I was inspired by one of the projects in Irina Miech's wonderful new book, Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders 2, to make this pendant bail. It's not exactly the way Irina did it...I don't like making exact copies most of the time, but I want to acknowledge that the idea of using the two filigree pieces came from her. She used two pieces that actually fit *into* the hole, so her method of joining them is quite different from mine.
I definitely highly recommend the book for those of you who are interested in expanding your wire repertoire! It's a beautiful Kalmbach publication, with the great pictures and clear instructions that you know you can expect from them. Irina's book is divided into beginner, intermediate, and advanced projects, and with each new section you will be introduced to new interesting elements, tools, and techniques. From making wire links using beads to wire-wrapping and simple metal fabrication, I don't think that you'll find any of the projects to be so intimidating that you won't want to try them! Everything is mouth-watering...
-Cyndi Lavin, Beading Arts
Irina Miech has done it again. She has written a wonderful book full of creative projects for beaders wanting to use wire in their work. I did a review of the first Beautiful Wire Jewelry for Beaders about 1 1/2 years ago and that book is still one of my favorite wire working books for inspiration. I was very excited when I learned there would be a second book.
So why would someone want to get this book if they already have the first one? And what about the brand new beginner that wants to start playing with wire but has no experience and doesn't have the 1st book so how could they possibly start with the 2nd book? Keep reading. You'll find out why.
The book starts out with a page of specialty tools. Some of these are new additions to the previous book because Ms. Miech has added some new techniques like stamping, riveting and dapping that were not included in the previous book.
After the specialty tools page, the book is divided into three sections, Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced Projects, then a fourth section called Working with Wire. The very first project in the beginner section might just be my favorite. Miech uses gunmetal ball chain and I just love it. It's something I never would have considered using before, but I ordered some and have been waiting for the opportunity to use it. LOVE it!
Anyway, the Beginner section has 7 projects, three of which are necklace and earring sets, so it's kind of like 10 projects. Plus, after each project, a variation is shown to help inspire further exploration of the techniques taught. What techniques? Basic wire wrapping with headpins or wire, creating a spiral, coiling beaded wire around a vintage skeleton key, and shaping brass filigree to fit around a stone.
The Intermediate section consists of 8 projects including 2 projects with matching earrings. The projects at this point are a little more difficult, but definitely within the grasp of a newer wire worker. In this section you learn to texture metal, punch holes in metal, coil wire and make eternity knots (I didn't know how to make eternity knots before and I'm feeling seriously deprived over that), free form wire wrapping a cab (gorgeous!) and several other techniques that build on what you learned in the Beginner section or even the early projects of the Intermediate section. I love the Exotic Coins earrings where she uses donut shaped coins and encourages the use of found objects.
The Advanced section starts out fast and furious with a pendant that involves stamping, riveting, hole punching, and filigree. It's a really fun project that is not at all intimidating. There are a total of 7 projects in the advanced section and they build off what you learned in the 1st two sections. On Thailand Echos, she created what is essentially a bead cap out of coiled and beaded wire. The Ribbon Fibula project is right up my alley and I keep meaning to check and see if I have any flat wire on hand because I just love how it looks when loosely coiled. it really does look like ribbon. Also included in the advanced section is a really cool ring that uses dapping, punching holes and more. The very last piece is an ammonite frame project for those of you who love a good wire wrapping challenge.
The last section is going to be so beneficial to new wire workers and has handy info for the seasoned wire worker. Wire types, gauges, hardness, etc are explained. Basic tools are pictured and explained. Findings are shown and explained. An interesting technique explained in both books is how to work from the wire coil so there is less wastage of wire. Also, you will learn how to make a basic loop, spiral, hammering, filing, using liver of sulphur to patina and more.
I highly recommend this book. I don't have a specific list of top 10 jewelry related books. But if I did, this would probably be in it because I honestly love every single project and that pretty much never happens.
-Jennifer Cameron, glass addictions