Thursday, June 29, 2006

Felt Possibilities for Jewelry Makers

Fiber fanatics will find a lot to consider in this book that combines felt making and beadwork: Hand Felted Jewelry and Beads by Carol Huber Cypher (Interweave Press, $21.95 US; $29.95 CA). If you always wanted to try your hand at felt making and you enjoy creating jewelry pieces that make an artistic statement, then the unique techniques covered in this text might be for you. If you prefer toned down jewelry designs but have wanted to incorporate fiber into your work, then while most of the projects might be over the top for you, many of the fiber methods may still have an appeal.
My personal jewelry taste usually leans towards classics and every day, easy to wear styles, but I could still appreciate the way Cypher uses felt as a sculptural medium, creating stemmed flowers that wrap around a neck or wrist and felt beads to incorporate with more traditional jewelry components such as gemstones beads.

In fact, what I found most interesting in this book was the idea of making felt beads. Even though I tend to be a little conservative with my jewelry tastes and I may not want to wear a sculpted flower around my wrist, the idea of making felt beads got my wheels turning. Considering the difficulty many jewelry makers have when it comes to being accepted into high-end art shows, felt beads might be a great way to include a unique medium that allows you to make your own beads and thus be able to qualify for more shows. It is akin to the idea of lampworking, but instead of hot glass, you use fibers to make beads – definitely some wonderful possibilities there!

I can’t say that every jewelry maker will find this book appealing, but if you love fiber and have wanted to learn to make felt, or want to break out into a new medium and make your own felt beads, or if you really like unique and artistic jewelry projects to try, then you will probably like this book.