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 Polymer Clay Beads - Techniques - Projects - Inspiration
by Grant Diffendaffer
$24.95 Lark Books, New York, New York 2007. ISBN 1-60059-024-1

A quote from the front cover of this book describes it to perfection. "In this skill-building, authoritative guide, you'll learn more than 20 methods for making and decorating beads that will have you looking at Polymer clay in an entirely new light".
I had thought that I had seen most methods of creating beads with polymer - but this book goes way beyond anything else that I have seen published. It is a must have book for anyone who enjoys creating anything, not just beads, with polymer.

It begins with the basics of color blending and canes, but goes way beyond the basics with fascinating ideas for creating wonderful beads. One of the methods is called ghost imaging, where an illusion of three-dimensional texture is created on a block of clay. The resulting surface looks bright from one angle and dark from another. The author also shows how to use forms to shape and then bake curved beads to add another dimension to your work. One of the most fun ideas is to use a wood lathe to carve the surface of the baked beads.

Clear descriptions and great photography make this a very easy to understand and precise book.

 Glass Bead Workshop by Jeri L Warhaftig
$24.95 Lark Books, New York, New York 2008
ISBN 1-60059-123-X

While this book does have a section on basic tools and fundamentals it is essentially for the intermediate glass worker who has already mastered the basics and wants to take their work to the next level. There are ten different lessons, each completing a single type of bead. At the end of each lesson is a section on slightly different things you could have done to the bead to get very different results.

The subtitle of this book is "Building Skills, Exploring Techniques, Finding Inspiration", which is just what will happen as you turn the pages. Sand blasting, hollow beads, foil shapes, using molds and reduction glass powder are just a few of the techniques waiting to be explored. A multitude of photos compliment the text, leaving no doubt about what the author is trying to explain.

Also included is small gallery of work by other artists and a gallery of goofs, which every artist has. Each goof is explained as to what went wrong - or maybe you could say what went right as many lead to different or new techniques. All in all this is a great book that should be in every lampworker's library.


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