Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Contemporary Geometric Beadwork Review

 It's finally here! Well, actually, it's been here for over a week and I'm finally blogging about. Let me start by saying that this isn't really an unbiased review, since I've been popping over to Kate's house periodically to bead along with Jean Power, drop off beadwork to be photographed, ooh and aah over the contributions coming in from various beaders, and bellydance at her gem show party. So I've been a little involved. In fact...

 Look! I made that! Squeee! My 2mm crystal adorned olivine green Power Puff bracelet is in the triangles section.
 And what am I working on first? A rick rack bracelet! I need to master the rick rack technique before moving on to some of the other projects in the big, so I decided to make a nice big double-sided one, though mine won't be a bangle because I didn't feel like futzing with sizing. Because emerald is the 2013 color of the year according to Pantone, I decided that everything I make for the next little while will involve some shade of emerald green instead of olive, which has allowed me to explore with different secondary colors. This one has pale mint green, sky blue, and an edging of robin's egg blue which you can't really see in these pics because I was only a few beads into it. Anyway, the robin's egg was part of my pre-order swag so it seemed only fair that I use it in the first project I did from the book.

As you can see, I have been moving right through this zig-zaggy bracelet. Between the instructions and the diagrams it was pretty easy to get it started, even with splitting my time between beading and watching a DVD. The spiral binding means I can lay the book open on the arm of the couch and consult it as needed.

Spiral binding is just one of the things that separates this book from more mainstream bead book offerings. Another is the honest, conversational tone about topics like thread and needle preferences. There's no sanitized generic terms here, the book discusses actual brands so you know what to actually look for or avoid. This chatty tone continues throughout the book. There's a lot of text, making it a bead book you can actually READ!

As you can see, the photos are nice and clear on white backgrounds, so you can really see what an entire project looks like. I mean, I enjoy taking macro shots like the one above, but it's less than ideal for showing the whole of a piece and helping you decide whether you want to make it. Likewise this one below:
Great detail shots are ideal for selling beadwork on-line, but not really for beading books. Give me the full picture so I can really see what I'm making and know what it looks like.

Although beginners could do some of the projects in this book (and work their way up to the rest if they're good at going in order), I feel like it's best-suited to intermediate and advanced beaders with a love of beadweaving and thinking for themselves. There's some basic technique and a good amount of projects, and also photos of other peoples' projects and discussions of what they did differently, without actually stepping it out. It serves as a springboard for designing your own work -- which you can then send pictures of to Kate to see if she wants to include it in Volume 2 (by the way, since I do live just around the park from Kate, I've already seen some of what will be in V. 2 and I have to say it is AWESOME work. Lot of clever beaders out there!).

To learn more and/or order your copy of Volume 1 or pre-order Volume 2, visit the Contemporary Geometric Beadwork blog.


  1. My book arrived this week and I can't wait to get started...just wish I could magically dust everything else off my calendar so I could start turning triangles into puffs. Love your take on the emerald rick rack!

    1. Triangles are so addictive! Do you think you'll do a Power Puff bracelet? I love mine :)