Friday 13 October 2017

Book Review - Start Making Jewellery by Nicola Hurst

Start Making Jewellery
by Nicola Hurst
Published by Apple Press 2008
128 pages

Book Review of Start Making Jewellery Workshop by Nicola Hurst

One Line Review

An excellent silver jewellery book, suited for those starting out and those looking to develop their techniques and skills.

First Impressions

In common with a lot of jewellery making books, the title is a little vague about the particular type of jewellery it means, but the cover photographs make it clear that it involves metal, heat, and tools. A brief look through the book shows a lot of photos and a lot of instructions, broken down into convenient steps.

At The Start

The Contents page is followed by a Foreword by the author, and then a couple of pages about the book itself, explaining its layout and commenting on health and safety issues.

Chapter 1 is called Getting Started and has details on Tools, covering pliers, hammers and files, and a small section on Materials, detailing that those used on projects in the book are brass, copper, and silver. It then includes information about creating an ideal work space.

The chapter also includes a very useful section on Inspiration and Design, as well as one on Planning and Design. This topics of ideas and how to develop them is often touched upon far too briefly in jewellery books, so it's good to see them covered in a little more detail here over 8 pages. This section also details methods of copying designs onto the metal itself, which is a very handy skill to have.

(Just as a side note; in the Contents page of the edition of the book I was reading, these two latter sections are both shown as being part of Chapter 2. In fact, they are here included in Chapter 1. This causes no problem at all in terms of using the book and I may not have even noticed if I hadn't been looking closely to write this review.)


In the Middle

Chapter 2 deals with Techniques and Projects and takes up much of the book, at 90 pages. It includes eighteen techniques, ranging from piercing, filing, and soldering, to texturing, doming, and riveting, as well as thirteen projects. The projects are mainly focussed on using metal, with a couple of beadwork ones included near the end.

The techniques are dealt with one at a time and are covered in detail, with handy hints included. They are clear and well illustrated with quality photographs and text instructions.

The projects are interspersed throughout the techniques, and include a list of tools and materials needed for each one, as well as an easy to follow sequence of steps to make each piece and excellent photos that also include extra close-up images to increase clarity at certain crucial points. These close-up photos also appear within the techniques as well and are a really helpful way to ensure particular details are well understood.

At the End

The last chapter deals with Resources. It includes a section on ideas for shapes for ring, earrings, necklaces and pendants, as well as brooches, bangles and bracelets, and cufflinks. A section on the most commonly used gemstones follows, along with some guidance on buying them. Next comes a few charts on topics such as ring sizes and melting temperatures of metals, and some notes on metal properties.

After this is a Glossary, then a page on further reading, detailing magazines and books, and only a few websites (this edition of the book was published in 2008). The book finishes with an Index and some photo credits.


In Summary

This is a very useful book, both for beginners to the topic and anyone with more experience who wishes to refine their skills and perhaps learn a few things via the hints and knowledge of an excellent jeweller. The photographs are excellent, both in clarity and composition, and the close-up photos are particularly valuable. A very good resource book that is worth having on your shelf if you work with metal and solder, or wish to do so.


If you'd like to read another of my book reviews, then check out this one of Stephen O'Keeffe's Practical Jewellery Making Techniques.

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