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Book Review- Japanese Beadwork

Sonoko Nozue's Japanese Beadwork

I've loved all the books in the Beadweaving Master Class series, and got very excited about this book when it was announced. The sneak peeks posted of the beaded jewelry heightened the anticipation even more.

Personal side note: While I was reading this, apparently I talked to myself. My husband said "Wow, that must be a really good book."

It starts with a brief introduction to the artist written by the editor, Nathalie Mornu.

All the pieces in this book are extensively diagrammed with very clear thread paths. The instructions are complete and easy to follow. You do need to be good at following both written and diagrammed instructions. The diagrams show the thread paths very well, but the beads are not scaled, so you'll refer to written instructions for the bead sizes. The written instructions don't always include bead counts, so you'll need to follow the diagrams for those.

Chapter 1: The Basics covers the tools, beads and the techniques that are used, as well as an explanation of the diagrams used. Most of the beads used are very commonly available. She also talks about thread a bit, but doesn't push her own thread. I do recommend using her thread. It's strong enough to bear a fair amount of weight with a single strand, and fine enough for the multiple passes a lot of her pieces require. She explains how to add in new thread as well, which is an invaluable skill.

The next chapters are the bead projects. They use simple stitch techniques in unexpected ways. The designs are sculpted one pass at a time, starting with a base stitch. They are curved and shaped with different bead counts and sizes to create shapes that are wearable and won't flip or gather. A lot of the designs show how effective monochromatic color schemes can be using different bead finishes. The curves on some pieces are like mathematical models, and look like they have more planes than you'd believe possible. It's very wearable and elegant. Some of her designs could easily be a signature piece worth building an entire formal outfit on to wear to any dressy event.

Chapter 2 is Casual. Cheerful Midafternoon, the first project has a neat construction method that involves beading on one plane, then folding the piece to create a light, fun layered necklace that would look wonderful with a sundress. The Waterdrops bracelet is textural and colorful. It's a bracelet that begs to be touched and possibly just the perfect piece to make with your bead soup. Like with all the projects in the book, you'll build skills and ways of thinking about design that will serve you well in your own designs. She works in white frequently, or metallic colors.

Chapter 3 is Feminine, the chapter is full of lace and curves. My favorite piece in this chapter is the Sonoko Wave which delicately spirals and is embellished with sparkly crystals. It's sculptural, and the technique is one you can use often.

Chapter 4 is Elegant, which actually describes many of the designs in the book. So what does the author consider Elegant? Lush, rich pieces starting with a netted bracelet called Night Dew, which drapes elegant and shining on your wrist. It's a wide, sparkly cuff made to be reversible.

Chapter 5 is Noble, clean colors and metallic shades create jewelry that's reminiscent of fine jewelry, the sort of thing you would see on the red carpet for an awards show. The Midnight rope is fluid and elegant, the example uses black, gold and silver and it would look equally stunning in garnet, gold and copper and it's a toss up between that and the set cabochon piece, Morning Glow which has several suggestions for how to wear it.

Chapter 6 is Gorgeous, and these pieces are complicated, layered, rich and amazing. These are the show stoppers. The incredible piece pictured on the cover is in this chapter. The pieces are big, dramatic, and still absolutely elegant. My favorite piece in this chapter is the Sound of Raindrops, which combines spiral rope with peyote stitched circles in a way that's both elegant and exciting.

Order this now from Amazon.com (affiliate link)
U.S.A. U.K.


Lark Books has a project available for download now from this book for free, the intricate crocheted and beadwoven Crystal Rose Necklace.

Amazon.com affiliate links don't affect your cost, and provide extra income to me personally, which helps support my book addiction.

Lark Crafts provided this review copy of Beadmaille to me free of charge.
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