Saturday, May 30, 2009
I've been reading Ronna Sarvas Weltman's new book Ancient Modern: Polymer Clay and Wire Jewelry. It's quite different from most of the polymer clay books on my shelf. Her aesthetic seems to invoke stone and bone, pod and seed. It's a good approach for beginners, encouraging experimentation and setting aside the scourge of perfectionism. So many contemporary pc artists are producing exquisite, tight, detailed designs that it is refreshing to dip into Ronna's much looser and free style.
Ronna writes for Step-by-Step Wire Jewelry magazine, and she brings her expertise in that arena to her book. The section on wire working is thorough without being labored, and she includes one of the most useful charts I've found in any wire working book. You'll find the coiling grid on page 21, that shows how much wire you will need for various coiling projects. One of her very bright young students mathematically developed the chart, and it's been tested several times by the student, Ronna, and the folks at Interweave Press.
I also appreciate her section on the mechanics of jewelry design. It may look terrific on the bench, but if it doesn't fit or hang properly, it'll never get worn.
The projects themselves won't be to everyone's taste (I happen to like them alot). But even readers with very different taste can be inspired by the shapes of her beads, the way she puts colors together, and the various ways she uses texture.
Within the projects, I would have liked more step-out photos, but overall, the design of this book is elegant and clear. The cover is fabulous and inviting, and what's inside delivers the goods.