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The Bead Maker by Mary Maguire

The Bead Maker

by Mary Maguire

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332524,188 (3.25)None
Featuring 30 recipes for crafting beautiful beads of all shapes, sizes and styles, this unique guide teaches crafters literally everything they need to know to create their own original handmade bead jewelry. The initial section covers basic materials, including easy-to-use self-hardening clay, polymer clay, paper, felt and foil, as well as techniques for embellishing polystyrene and wooden formers. the second section applies these techniques to specific projects that guarantee success through step-by-step illustrations and complete instructions. A final section shows readers how to put their beads together to create a range of elegant and fun jewelry pieces, including bracelets, barrettes, earrings, pins and more. Projects include: bull; Painted, embossed and inscribed beads bull; Millefiori flower and animal beads bull; Marbled felt and patterned felt beads bull; Embellished ready-made beads bull; Encrusted beads and natural beads Mary Maguire is an artist specializing in fine art and textiles. She continues to develop and exhibit her own work and is also the author of several craft books, including Wonderful Wire and Magic Lanterns. She lives in Buckfastleigh, England.… (more)



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This is a very basic guide to bead making from simple materials. No precious metals (or very little) in this book, clearly geared at beginning crafters. The instructions are well laid out with lots of images and step by step guidance. However the projects themselves are not very well designed or thought out and quite a few of them are just ugly, and look rather like craft day in grade school type work.

The polymer clay designs especially fall prey to this, some of the beads being really worth a shudder instead of admiration (with the exception of the phosphorescent fish, which are pretty). The millefiori beads are really awful, in an eye watering combination shown on the front cover of the book. Bad choice for a cover photo. The cane making directions are clear, but I personally would have chosen something other than color clashing millefiori and little white ducks for poly clay beads.

In the Naturals category you have a mixed bag. The shell beads are the usual day at the beach type wear, with little creativity shown. The beaded beads are a bit gaudy but the color combinations are much nicer than the polymer clay designs. The floss choker with the cockle shells is a lovely, relaxed design that is one up on the ugly shell necklaces one usually finds for sale near the sea shore. The slate pieces wrapped in wire is visually lovely, but I suspect the piece is less sturdy than I prefer to make. Also the wire wrapping really needs work, so this is a good idea poorly executed in my opinion. The flowers made out of seeds are just hideous, some of the worst designs I have ever seen actually published, with an even worse choice of paint colors. The safari beads, made of paper mache are similarly pretty awful, and would not hold up if the wearer sweated on a hot day heavily enough. The rolled paper beads are rather nice, though I have seen them done better in other books, and the less said about the paper flower necklace, the better.

The ceramic and air dry clay beads are much nicer, and are earthy and simple. These designs are well put together, and the ceramic bird design is one I may actually use in my own work. The embossed hearts are also pretty, and the idea is a sound one if done in fired ceramic or oven bake ceramic clay, like Laguna OvenCraft.

I am not a fan of felt beads, as I tend to feel that they all look like my cat threw up in technicolor, so I will leave comments on that for those who specialize in fiber arts and jewelry.

The section on spice beads is the reason I originally bought this craft book. The idea is a good one, and with the exception of Ghost Beads (made from Juniper berries) we very rarely see anyone making beads out of aromatics and reminding us that spices were once as precious as silk and gold. The Arabian Nights spice necklace looks interesting and would likely smell good, though I would have used stone spacer beads or sculpted the herb paste into more interesting shapes. The rose petal beads, classics and the reason that Christian Prayer Beads have the name of Rosaries have a good overview, though I would have mentioned keeping rose beads with cedar, as bugs love to eat them otherwise. The other spice and aromatic necklaces are likewise pretty and casual, and for a Pagan like me have the added advantage of being wearable offerings at festivals.

The section on Friendly Plastic just makes me shudder. Terrible color designs again and poor execution. The directions are clear, but really, I cannot imagine using the finished product.

I am not one given to fiber arts, as stated, but the embroidered components are actually prettier than other fabric beads I have seen. The rolled tubes especially are nicely done.

All in all, a decent book as far as directions go but very poor as far as examples, color and design. One star out of five for the designs and projects in the book, three stars out of five for clarity of directions and simplicity of materials, and on a scale of one star for extreme beginner level to five stars for extremely advanced, this book is about a two. Overall, two stars. ( )
  Orthaevelve | Mar 7, 2011 |
A thorough book of how to make different kinds of beads from stones, felt, polymer clay, paper,candy foil wrappers,seashells, and seeds. ( )
  beadinggem | Nov 29, 2007 |
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Learn everything you need to know to create beautiful hand-crafted bead jewelry. With The Bead Maker you can make beads from clay, polymer clay, plastic, paper, felt, fabrics, and natural materials such as shells, stones, seeds, and nuts. Inside you’ll find:

* Over 30 unique recipes to try with ideas for threading beads and using them as jewelry, embellishments, or as home decoration.
* Detailed instructions along with useful tips and step-by-step techniques to give you the knowledge and confidence to try out your own designs.
* Advice on threads, clasps, and bead tips, as well as mixing color, shape, scale, and materials to create striking effects.
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