I have looked at lots of jewelry books over the years, but I have been more inspired by the designs in this book than in any other. The author, Barbara Case, collects unusual beads that she finds on her travels, in vintage resale shops, antique shops—wherever she goes, she is on the lookout for interesting beads.
The jewelry in her book is designed to highlight her unique bead finds, so this is not a book of designs that you can copy exactly. Mostly I just dream over it, poring over the beautiful pictures of her creations to get my own ideas. I especially like the way she alternates her big, spectacular beads with smaller ones in complimentary colors. She also intersperses different shapes with each other, and colorful glass beads with plainer metal ones. Even fabric, embroidery floss, and leather are brought together to provide a pleasing mix of textures.
Most jewelry books seem to favor a particular style, but Barbara’s book covers them all. Some are elegant, some whimsical, some earthy, some sparkly—the styles run the gamut. She also intermixes styles, which has emboldened me to try making some of my own beads out of clay, painting them, and intermingling them with store-bought beads.
All in all, this is really a book to have fun with. All the photographs are clear and beautiful, as are the descriptions of the types of beads, string, textiles, and so forth that she used. There are very helpful diagrams of any technique that is not self-explanatory. This is a great book for beginners and experienced beaders as well!