Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Review: Enchanted Adornments by Cynthia Thornton

I usually don't gush about books. This one had me up reading until my eyes blurred! It's packed with faerie-inspired jewelry crafts using polymer clay, resin, shrinky-dinks and precious metal clay, not to mention found objects, charms, beads, fabric, fibers... They're beautiful, absolutely unique and very well explained. I've already chosen two projects to try out right away-- the "Sculptural Scrimshaw" necklace and the "Woodland Wings" necklace.

To the meat of the review:

  • The projects have a very mythical slant. If you're into the fantasy genre or like organic, slightly odd items, this book will get you drooling.
  • The projects use a variety of materials. I currently can't afford PMC, but when I can, I'll be using this book as solid inspiration.
  • Many of the projects have variations, using slightly different materials for a different final product.
  • Lots of pictures! In color!
  • Plenty of basic information on the materials used, like how to work with polymer clay to keep it clean.
  • An "inspirational gallery" in the back of designs that aren't explained, but are awesome to ogle.
  • A troubleshooting guide in the back to help with crafting snags.
  • Step-by-step instructions on making the "meat" of the project-- say, the focal piece for a necklace-- and then another set for how to string the necklace itself. Most tricky steps also have photos to guide you.
  • Did I mention there's faeries? There's faeries. Each project is accompanied with a beautifully illustrated "journal entry" about the creator meeting a fantastical creature, and drawing inspiration from it. For example: On meeting "Niabi," a deer with a female head: "I drew a picture of her, attempting to capture her grace and lithe form. I sketched the spiraling pattern on her coat, noting the way it resembled ivory inlaid in wood." The project in this case is made from polymer clay colored to resemble ivory inlay on wood.

  • There are a few steps that aren't spelled out. One example is in the Woodland Wings project. You need to glue tissue paper to small wire wings that will later be covered in resin. Alas, it doesn't say what sort of glue to use, or how exactly to apply the glue to the wire, or whether to cover both sides of the wings with it. A seasoned (or bold) crafter will figure it out, but it might deter beginners.
  • The "journal entries" are cute, but some might find them a pointless addition. They also used "+" instead of "and," and while I like it (it gives more the appearance that this is a handwritten journal), some might not.
  • Changes in materials for the variations are not supplied in list form. For those into making an exact replica of what they see, this could cause some frustration.

Seriously? I can't say enough about this book. I don't often find a source of inspiration and technique all wrapped up into one amazing package. The book is well-designed, filled with beauty and will be an amazing addition to any crafter's library. Pick one up-- I did!


Christina Allen Page said...

I've started making and selling necklaces and earrings that were inspired by the "Woodland Wings" techniques.

What not to use: Diamond Glaze. It makes the tissue paper weirdly opaque and uneven looking. Also paste glue will affect the resin.

E600 is what I currently use, applied quickly with a toothpick or small throwaway brush. You have to work fast though, 'cause it gloops up, be so far it's been the best in not allowing gaps between the paper and the metal, and staying put.

atlas said...

Thank you for the info, Christina! Your wings look great.

I'm hoping to experiment with non-resin solutions today. I love the look of the resin, but with little kiddos in the house, it's hard to find a safe place for it! Good to know about the glue vs. resin, though, for when I get my workshop resin-ready.