I’m not one to sport a lot of bling, but I love jewelry. And lately I’ve been stealing glances at the lovely projects in Melinda Barta’s new book, “Custom Cool Jewelry: Create 200+ Personalized Pendants, Charms and Claps” (Interweave Press, September 2008, paper bound, 144 pages, $22.95). The book is packed with ideas for creating a wide range of jewelry using a variety of techniques and just about everything in your craft stash.
Barta, managing editor of Beadwork and Stringing magazines, seems to outdo herself offering step-by-step instructions for an extraordinary amount of projects. From baking resin bead collages in the oven to embossing antique playing cards, making fabric beads and shrinking plastic, this book forces readers to consider everything a possible jewelry supply. Paper, wire, fiber, found objects, you name it, Barta nudges readers to explore all possibilities and the technical guidance to make great wearable art happen.
I’m a fabric junkie, so I’m particularly inspired by the Patchwork Pendants on p. 38. This project incorporates fabric stamps, ink and a little embroidery for a delightful result. This evening the girls and I did a little fabric stamping before bedtime. We’ll pick up with the next step later this week and hopefully be sporting our new fabric jewelry very soon. I love the simplicity of this project and the that fact that the result is soft, kid-friendly, bling. (I admit it, I’m not just doing this for the kids. I can’t wait to wear these fabric pendants myself.)
While the number of projects contained in this book may be overwhelming to some and it’s a bummer that it’s not spiral bound, the shear volume ensures that most crafters will be able to find a project or two that they simply must try.
If you’re interested in learning more about Barta, check out CraftSanity episode 35, to hear the podcast I recorded in 2006 after the release of her first book, “Hip to Stitch.”