Anna Elizabeth Draegers book Crystal Play is a treat for beaders who are captivated by the versatility of crystals in jewelry. Stitchers will explore even more combinations of crystals, new crystal shapes, seed beads, and even some new bead shapes like Tila and peanut beads. Anna showcases these crystals using techniques that include plenty of favorite stitches such as peyote, St. Petersburg chain, herringbone, and right-angle weave. But Anna also includes a few surprise alternatives, like crossweave, fringe technique, and easy wireworking. The projects include many bracelets (which readers love as they are quick and satisfying), a few necklaces, and many bonus design variations (earrings, rings, pendants). Annas playful, imaginative look is what truly sets this book apart!
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Author: Anna Draeger
Softcover; 8 1/4 x 10 3/4; 112 pages; 130 color photos; ISBN: 9780871164766
Anna Draeger's previous book, Crystal Brilliance was a wonderful inspirational book on the joys of using Swarovski crystals in beading. The elegant designs were imminently wearable and more importantly, doable as larger crystals help make the work go quicker.
Anna has followed up with a new book Crystal Play: Fun and Fabulous Designs for Stitched Jewelry which I recently received for review. It does live up to its name because the author has clearly been playing with her beads! She divided the 25 project book into 4 chapters : Beaded Beads. Component Craze, Playful Favorites and Another Dimension.
What she really played with best were the less popular beads. The lentil beads in the cover design helps give the piece texture and dimension. Her bugle bead bracelet above highlights how these long cylindrical beads can help give a design a geometric look. I also loved her Architectural Appeal pendant because she used bugles and crystals to capture a rivoli. She also used various kinds of two holed beads like the Tilas. Bicones are her favorite type of crystals so they formed the backbone of almost all of her designs.
The book consists of mainly bracelet projects with just a few necklace/pendant designs and no rings. The instructions are clear and well illustrated as shown in the page for the Flat-Out Fabulous bracelet below which is a flat spiral design. What is helpful is the list of beading stitches at the beginning of each project - on the top left of the page. Not every author includes this. It is handy to have some idea of what type of stitches are used before plunging in!
Anna included some great tips at the beginning of the book - the stitch basics at the end. She said, " Often I hear fans of my work say they want to make a project using the exact colors I did, down to the last seed bead, and then they drive themselves crazy hunting down colors that may be hard to find or even discontinued. My suggestion? Let go of the idea of having to make an exact replica. Bead colors get discontinued all the time and new colors are added." Sage advice indeed from this masterful AND playful beader.
-Pearl Blay, The Beading Gem's Journal
Anna Elizabeth Draeger is a very well known jewelry designer, former editor for Bead and Button Magazine, and the author of Crystal Brilliance and Great Designs for Shaped Beads. Since 2009, Anna has been an embassador for the Create Your Style with Swarovski Elements Program. Swarovski Elements program is a handpicked worldwide network of artist who are very well known for their design expertise and passion for teaching. Make sure to visit Anna's website firstname.lastname@example.org and check out her well known designs and beautiful wearable jewelry. At the beginning of this book Anna invites you to, "Come Play in My World." Anna truly wants you to relax, be stress free and have fun while learning and creating. Anna offers you alternate design ideas as she did in her first crystal book. You'll find all of Anna's favorite stitches used in this publication such as Cross Weave, St. Petersburg chain, right-angle weave, and peyote stitch just to name a few. Some of the topics Anna covers even before the projects begin are: color choices, crystal shapes and sizes, seedbeads, bugles and cylinders, findings, needles, beading thread, beginning and ending thread, thread tension, stretching and strengthening, and work area. Anna truly and deeply wishes that as you use this book, you will be inspired to try new ideas. Now let the 25 brilliant new designs begin. First you learn how to make perfect beaded beads. What fun this was for me. Then there are projects which cover : cubic right-angle weave, right-angle weave, netting, modified netting, beadweaving, herringbone stitch, peyote stitch, tubular and modified herringbone, St. Petersburg chain, chevron chain, circular peyote stitch, tubular netting, a two-drop peyote stitch,fringe, flat spiral rope and cross weave just to name a few. Each project includes Materials needed, colors, and easy to follow step by step figures. At the end of all the projects you will find a very generous basic review section of this book. This section covers stringing, wire work and bead stitching. But the book doesn't end there. On page 110 you are presented with a bonus of a Swarovski color chart which includes the name and number of each crystal. What an absolute brilliant wealth of information this book holds. This is yet another area of beading I have yet to explore thoroughly. I think now with Anna's help I am brave enough to venture in and get my feet wet as they say.
-Jacqueline Marchant, jacquelinesjewels.blogspot.com