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Beading Book Reviews

The Bead Book Junkieís Choice by Jane Tyson

Adorn Thyself

by Suzanne Cooper

Soft cover, roughly A4 size, 36 pp in full colour. RRP US$19.95 © 1999

Adorn Thyself offers 10 basic peyote stitch designs with matching variations for earrings, bracelets, purses and pendants; 64 patterns in total. There is a return to clearer, cleaner photography of finished pieces. As usual, Suzanneís graphs come beautifully coloured in eye catching, wearable designs. Here is Suzanne at her best.

Bead colour suggestions are given which always helps the colour challenged among us.

A table of contents and page numbers have been omitted. This is a minor point but irritating nonetheless. A much more serious irritant is that a couple of the designs have multiple bead numbers for the same colours in the one pattern. While you can check the photograph of the finished design for clues, you cannot tell from the graph where the different beads should be used.

In addition, two design graphs have shades of colour so close that it is only through careful examination that you can tell which is which. It would have been helpful if these designs had had a dot or something similar (as in the Eagle design) to separate similar colours. Line numbers may have been of some use too.

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 Delica Bead Loom Part 2

Hard cover, 72 pp. Excellent black and white photo and line diagrams and wonderful full colour photographs of beadwork. A few patterns included with basic loomwork instructions all in Japanese.

Delica Bead Loom Part 2 is the next installment on the first Delica Bead Loom book put out by the Delica Bead Loom Association of Japan. I am indebted to Shige Fontana for inducing her sister to send me a copy of this book from Japan.

As is usual with all the Japanese beadwork books I have come across, the photography is superb, so the book is worth buying for the pictures alone. The loomwork instructions and patterns are reasonably easy to understand even though they are in Japanese. Another definite must buy for loomwork aficionados.

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© Jane Tyson 2000

Earlier Reviews by Jane Tyson:

Techniques of Beading Earrings

 by Deon DeLange ($7.95) 67 pp.
More Techniques of Beading Earrings by Deon DeLange ($8.95) 67 pp.
An Earful of Designs by Sigrid Wynne-Evans ($9.95) 58 pp.
Beaded Images by Barbara Elbe ($9.95) 77 pp.
Beaded Images II by Barbara Elbe ($9.95) 69 pp.
(all prices in US dollars)

Techniques of Beading Earrings and More Techniques of Beading Earrings are the earliest of the earring books I acquired. First published in the early to mid eighties, they would have been amongst the best books of their kind given the limitations of size and price.

The books are compact, inexpensive and have good descriptions, diagrams and some colour photos. As an introduction to Commanche stitch style earrings, they are good basic additions to anyone's library. This having been said, some of the diagrams are over simplified and there is something about the large areas of print throughout the book that I instinctively feel I have to avoid. Did I tell you that I am a firm believer in the saying that "When all else fails, read the instructions"? *** (3 stars out of 5)

An Earful of Designs

 appeared in 1995. Sigrid Wynne Evans moved away from the traditional concept of using a base row of bugle beads to create her earrings. Although this was not new, her use of colour and design is quite innovative.

Sigrid has quite a bit to say about making earrings and the craft business. This is very valuable and probably as important as any of the designs that appear in the book.

The writing is much more readable than that of Deon's (above) as the print is easier to read and the writing is broken up rather than presented in a large block. One small criticism I have of the book concerns the pattern diagrams. The beads as they are represented are very close together thus making the diagrams difficult to follow if you are working directly from the book.***

The Beaded Images books (also 1995) are fabulous. I really like the designs that move completely away from the traditional triangle topped approach to Commanche stitch earrings. The earrings are two dimensional sculptures.

The basic instructions and diagrams are very clear and the designs are very good. The pattern instructions make use of short-hand symbols which are explained (it pays to read the instructions, Jane!) but can still add confusion to reading the patterns as they require some flipping back and forth before the symbols are mastered.

The use of two diagrams for each pattern can cause confusion because of the need to look at one diagram for the colour scheme and another for the thread work. The Rearing Horse is a wonderful design but not for the faint-hearted as far as reading patterns go. If triangular Commanche earrings are old hat to you, Beaded Images I and II are the way to go forward.****

Jane Tyson 1997

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