Crafty Book Review: The Art of Beadwork by Jane Lock

When I was in high school, I found myself desperately wanting to make my own jewelry. Making accessories was not only less expensive – but it also allowed me to customize the designs to whatever I wanted (and often didn’t find at the mall). I tried looking for books to teach me the basics, but never found one that made the process of creating beaded jewelry easy to follow. Not until a visit to a now-closed Royal Oak boutique did I learn how to make basic beaded accessories. It’s too bad that The Art of Beadwork wasn’t on the shelves back then!

Scottish jewelry designer Jane Lock’s The Art of Beadwork hit store shelves this past fall and is a comprehensive guide to bead working. Overall, the process of beading is actually quite simple. How complex the creation becomes is up to you and your skill level. And Lock – who fancies “tiny Japanese seed beads, Swarovski crystal and pearls, semi-precious stones and sterling silver” – is a wonderful teacher.

Throughout her book’s 160 pages are colorful directions, how-to demonstrations and finished examples. The step-by-step instructions carefully demonstrate the action taking place, going so far as to show the reader which direction her needle should be facing as she creates the design!

The book reads like a helpful encyclopedia for novice beaders. Toward the end, your kids will find additional helpful resources – like measurements for standard necklace sizes and the names for basic bead shapes. The glossary is a handy reminder to flip to as you expand your bead-working vocabulary.

After spending time with this tutorial, I can see a new beader feeling confident enough to try more complex designs and techniques by the end of the first read. It’s definitely an all-in-one presentation of how to get started! Lock offers tips on which supplies to buy first, how to store them and core techniques, like threading your needle for the first time. I really appreciated her advice on how to save time and money, such as recycling mint containers into needle holders (what a smart idea).

This guide is definitely advanced for middle/high school crafters – I’d look for something even easier for elementary-aged children. However, it’s ideal for tweens and teens looking to learn more about bead working, as well as for parents with a flair for jewelry design. The friendship bracelet project definitely has “winner” written all over it for teens looking to give their friends a birthday or holiday present.

If you or someone you know if curious to learn more about bead working, The Art of Beadwork is a must-read for you. You can keep up to date with Jane Lock by following her on Facebook.


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