Ronna Sarvas Weltman
I’ve loved seeing Ronna’s work, I love the organic, fluid nature of her work. So this book had been on my wish list for a while.
The book starts with a lengthy (33 pages) introduction section that covers jewellery design, wire techniques and polymer clay basics.
She starts by talking about the 6 principles of design, the color wheel and where to find inspiration. She then jumps into jewellery mechanics, giving suggestions for weighting the elements so necklaces, bracelets and rings hang correctly. She includes really helpful charts, like the one showing the names and ranges for standard necklace sizes. The wire work section I found really informative but there were lots of extra pieces of equipment you’d need to buy to complete these techniques (quite expensive items too. I decided I’d like to acquire a couple of the tools but the price to buy these here in the U.K. meant a ball-peen hammer and bench block we’re all I could justify buying)
In conclusion the first section was informative, educational and inspiring and the information would be good for beginners and intermediate jewellery makers alike.
There are 15 projects, including 6 necklaces, 4 bracelets, 2 earrings, 2 rings and 1 brooch. Each of the projects is then broken down into multiple parts. For example, the first necklace has instructions for making 12 different beads.
This for me is where is starts to go wrong.
For each project there is an image of the finished design.. Each bead has a few step-by-step photos. But she doesn't show detailed photos of each completed bead. Each bead type has a ‘name’ which wasn’t always helpful either. I kept having to flip back and forth to the beginning of the chapter to see which bead we might be working on next and to see how the bead should end up looking.
The step-by-step photos are pretty good. I like that they were large enough to show detail. I just wish they had lined up better with the text they were illustrating.
The instructions were well-written overall, but two things bugged me. First, the Zebra Cane was repeated word for word — THREE times! The wire-ball bead instructions are also repeated. But even though there's plenty of other information in the book to make it worthwhile, those repeats made me feel cheated though. I kind of expected more, it was like they were just padding the book out. It undervalued the book.
The second thing that bugged me was the other extreme. Often, instead of writing out the steps again, you were asked to repeat steps 1-5 in previous chapter or where step 17 says to repeat 19-21, step 23 says to repeat 24-27, and step 19 says to repeat 19. Sometimes it was mind boggling to follow. So I didn’t! All in all I felt it was a clumsy construct of a book.
On to the positives.
The glossy photographs of the projects are wonderful eye candy.
On the whole the instructions were easy to follow. It helps that the polymer clay techniques in this book are pretty basic beginner level techniques.
Reviewed by Debby Wakley