Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects

Diane Fitzgerald is one of the first bead artists who had a name that I recognized. I think that her book Beading With Brick Stitch was the very first beading book that I purchased. (It certainly has seen better days - "well-loved", I believe is the correct term.)

So, seeing what Lark has been doing in the beading book world the last few years, I've been looking forward to seeing their new book, Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects. Sure enough, sprinkled throughout the projects in the book are some Diane Fitzgerald classics like her One-to-Many Strand Necklace, Yao Necklace, and her Knotty Necklace. There are a few bracelet and pin projects scattered throughout the book, but the majority of these projects are necklaces - which is great for a necklace-lover like me!

I was a little surprised when I saw the range of jewelry-making techniques in these projects, but then I remembered Diane's beautiful fiber finger-weaving work with artist Helen Banes, and I realized that these projects represent the very best of Diane's extensive technical knowledge when it comes to crafting beaded jewelry. There are knotting projects, beadweaving projects and assemblage projects that use some basic wire skills to create.

Not all of the projects are technically challenging for an advanced beader, but they are most inspiring. In the Buddhist tradition of getting back to a "beginner's mind", some of these projects will provide a wonderful and welcome break when you just want to bead something beautiful. If you want to expand your general jewelry-making skills to include work with fibers, fabric and knotting, this is the book for you.

I don't know if I could pick just one favorite project from the book. Diane's Yao Necklace is something that I've wanted to try for years and years, and the range of color palettes presented in the book did little to discourage me from dropping what I was doing and diving right in. The Pussy Willow necklace takes my breath away - so simple, but so beautiful! It's a graceful reminder of what the beads are capable of just by themselves without a lot of difficult maneuvering and complicated thread paths. Her Sea Urchin Necklace, with its row of flowers made from those yummy matte glass daggers stitched to a knotted cord base, is bright and bold and definitely not for the faint of heart. (For the faint of art?)

Diane has really allowed herself to develop as an artist over the course of her career, and this book is a delightful compilation of all the skills and techniques she has mastered along the way. For any serious bead artist looking for something new to try, Diane Fitzgerald's Favorite Beading Projects will provide hours of enjoyable beading projects.

If you check out the Lark Crafts website, you'll find a free project from the book: Fortune Teller Beads Necklace.



Katie said...

I love the book! Sometimes it's nice to have a fun, not so challenging piece, to work on! Plus, I was SO excited to see the flowers on the cover and in the book! I saw the flowers when Diane taught in Baton Rouge, and I fell in LOVE!

VanBeads said...

I got a whole hank of those funky daggers when I was in NYC back in December, and now I know what to do with them! I'm still not sure if I'll use a fiber base like Diane does or if I'll try to do a beaded rope base... I'm still partial to tubular herringbone!