Melissa Cable has been creating jewelry for over 10 years and owned a bead store in Washington State for seven years. She has a passion for teaching people how to make jewelry and has traveled and taught at bead stores and shows around the country. She has been a popular instructor at famed shows such as the Bead&Button Show, Bead Expo and the Puget Sound Bead Festival.
I'm always thrilled when a wire book has techniques in it that I haven't used before. Spotlight on Wire fills that description nicely.
The layout is great. The end of the book has the basic techniques and they are indexed with abbreviations used in the instructions in the beginning. So if you're stuck on a basic technique that's new to you, you can find which page it is on easily.
Each chapter starts with a section on tips, techniques and tools for the types of projects in that section.
What makes this book exciting for me is that a lot of the projects use strip wire. Strip wire is a flat wire. Sort of like sheet metal but in a measured thickness and width. I haven't seen it much used in cold techniques so seeing it used in cold jewelry techniques is wonderful. Wire work has such come a very long way! The author texturizers the wire a few ways. Corrugated, milled and hammered textures with instructions for all of them using tools that are a lot less expensive options than have been available in the past. She has some wonderful stamped pieces that are stamped using nail sets and screwdrivers which are less expensive than metal stamps.
The projects themselves are very wearable. They are artistic without being too much for a corporate environment. All of them are worked using cold techniques only. The complexity of the projects and the time it takes to make them builds skill and familiarity with the techniques.
My favorite projects in this book are the Continuum Cuff, which uses textured strip wire, beads and coiling, Christina's Cuff for it's very clever use of a beading loom and it's prettiness and Roundabout Road because it reminds me of some of the textured foil gold jewelry that was made thousands of years ago.
The texturing and jewelry making techniques in this book are ones that my whole family will use frequently.
-Shala Kerrigan, BellaOnline
When I was recently at the Bead & Button Show, I snagged this recently-released book my Melissa Cable. As the title indicates, the book shows how to twist, fold, hammer, weave, and wrap metal and wire. The cover project immediately caught my eye, and a quick flip through the book showed a number of other projects that were beyond beginner level. Don't get me wrong -- a beginner will both learn and be able to accomplish many projects in this book, but there are plenty of projects for more advanced wire-lovers.
The chapters are broken down into styles of wire:
1: Woven Wire
2: Textured Strip Wire
3: Corrugated Wire
4: Heavy Wire
5: Chain and Wire
The tips and techniques pages explain how to do interesting things with wire and strip metal -- texturing, using a "poor man's rolling mill" (something I found really cool), and patinating. There are plenty of step-by-step photos, too.
If you aren't used to working with wire, dealing with the many different gauges and lengths of wire in each project might be a little confusing at first -- lots of numbers to deal with in some projects. However, if you're new to wire, start with the simpler projects first and you'll get the hang of it quickly. The font is also a little small, but the projects are worth it.
I'm looking forward to trying out some of the projects in this book in a challenge with my friend soon. Stay tuned for that!
-Art Bead Scene Blog
There are many wire jewelry books out there but few are as truly innovative and exciting as this latest book I just received from Kalmbach Publishing for review.
I also did not need to read the introduction to know Melissa Cable and her two co-designers behind the book, Spotlight On Wire are experienced wire work instructors. As an instructor myself, I appreciate how tutorials are written especially from the perspective of the learner.
The book is just brimming with new ideas, tips and techniques I've not encountered before. Intermediate and advanced wire and metal workers looking for inspiration will not be disappointed.
The book is divided into 5 main areas - Woven Wire, Texturing Wire Strips, Heavy Wire and Chain and Wire. There are no project times simply because these will vary depending on individual skill. However, the projects are labelled with the require skill sets or materials needed like BL (basic loops), WW (wire wrapping), HM (hammered metal), JR (jump rings) and PT (patinas).
The authors recommend a number of tools to increase your creativity. If you don't have a simple metal hole puncher, now might be a good time to purchase one. This tool is definitely under used in my opinion. Punching holes in findings where there aren't any before will allow you to do more wiring such as these "Captive Clusters", the second project in the Woven Wire section.
"Jeweled Wires" is also in the Woven Wire section.
Melissa covers two methods of adding texture to metal. One is hammering using different types of hammers or stamping tools. The other is using a rolling mill on metal strips. Rolling mills are usually way too expensive for starving artists like us but she has a solution. Get brass texture plates from metal clay suppliers and a pasta machine! Her tips on how to make this unusual combination work is one of the highlights of the book. Pasta machines are not just for polymer clay artisans!
A couple of the designs which showcase this technique is the pendant on the book cover and this bracelet.
In another section, she also introduced another substitute for a very expensive tool - a corrugator - which adds wavy elements to wire or metal strips. One of those, which I wrote about here, will set you back a few hundred dollars.
However, many artisans like her resort to the humble tube wringer which is used to squeeze out tubes containing industrial gels and pastes. Melissa warns it takes some practice to use one to create jewelry such as the "Berry Vines" below. She has some great tips on how to get even corrugation.
Lateral thinking is part of the creative process and these designers have it spades. If you have a beading loom collecting dust, consider using it to make awesome chain and wire work bracelets like they did for Cristina's Cuff design below.
I've only touched on a few highlights. The book is full of gems, pun intended. I highly recommend it if you are an aspiring wire and metal artisan hoping to expand your range. It's definitely going into my list of favorite books.
Wire is an essential tool in creating many unique trinkets. Spotlight on Wire is a guide to using wire in do-it-yourself jewelry and related endeavors. Melissa Cable walks readers through understanding all the tips and tricks for making wire work for your project, the tools you need to manipulate them, and many techniques to use wire as a subtle enhancer to many designs. Necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and more are all discussed, and makes Spotlight on Wire a strongly recommended pick for anyone who likes to make their own jewelry.
-Midwest Book Review