Lifestyle Book Reviews

Book Review: Fabulous Woven Jewelry by Mary Hettmansperger

By Sandy Amazeen Jul 30, 2006, 2:25 GMT

Book Review: Fabulous Woven Jewelry by Mary Hettmansperger

Award-winning fiber artist Mary Hettmansperger reveals the secrets of using traditional basketry techniques to create 28 striking pieces of jewelry. It\'s a new and exciting approach that yields remarkable results--even for beginners. She covers four basic procedures--plaiting, knotting, looping, and twining--and incorporates materials such as copper, colorful wire, natural fibers, even bottle tops and bark. The array of projects includes soft-fiber necklaces as well as one made from looped linen ...more

Twining, coiling, and other textile working techniques are employed to create stunningly different jewelry designs. Materials range from waxed linen and embroidery floss to wire, pine needles and copper mesh providing plenty of inspiration for the experienced jeweler yet approachable enough to satisfy a beginner. Basket makers will instantly recognize most of the patterns and wonder, “why didn’t I think of that.”

Opening with a detailed look at the different materials and tools used in creating woven jewelry, Hettmansperger goes on to teach the basics of plaiting with clear diagrams and easy to follow instructions that walk one through from laying out the first foundation row to lashing the rim. The chapter on Twining demonstrates both circular and flat work before moving to the projects, which make effective use of color, first in reeds and embroidery floss, then in wire. Looping, perhaps the oldest technique of all is covered in detail and displays some innovative mold and metal use. Knotting and coiling finish the project section before moving on to the gallery that features some excellent examples of coiled and twined work.

Most craftspeople will have the required tools and wire already with the possible exception of a propane torch, which is used for burning copper foil, wire or mesh to add the quick finishing touches. Many designs incorporate beads, found items and natural accents, which add to the overall organic feel that comes with freeform patterns like the Driftwood or the Looped Wire Necklace. Whether you prefer strong, symmetrical lines or free flowing work, there are designs for every taste and more then enough information to spark the imagination while providing the “how-to” nuts and bolts to make it happen. This one’s a keeper.  


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