Books can be so tempting; they take me to another world, a world where I can learn anything, be anything, do anything. Pure fantasy? No, not really - not when the authors of these books give such wonderful directions and encouragement.
First up is Gordon K. Uyehara's Metal Clay Fusion. I've dabbled in Metal Clay, and I've watched Gordon soar with it for many years. I've always wanted to look over his shoulder and learn from him; now I can. This book truly is a master class in metal clay; there is enough here to keep me busy for years.
Gordon has an incredible sense of design, his attention to detail is amazing, and his craftsmanship is inspiring. What he does with metal clay is art - and, in this book, he generously shares his secrets.
The techniques and projects presented are not for beginners; but even the rankest beginner will want this book. After all, no one stays a beginner forever, and you'll want this book within reach the moment you're ready for it.
Color, Texture & Casting for Jewelers by Carles Codina contains more information than I will probably ever need; it's a metal working course in and of itself. But, even if I never do try all of the techniques presented here, I have to admit that learning about them is fascinating. I came away from this book with a much greater sense of how metal has been worked through the centuries.
The aesthetic in this book is modern, but the processes are often based on ancient techniques. Keum Boo, Granulation, Mokume Gane, stamping, and various methods of casting are all covered in enough detail for the reader to jump right in and begin working with them.
I'm planning to keep this one on my shelf just in case. You never know, right?
And last, but definitely not least, Mary Hettmansperger's Heat, Color, Set & Fire, Surface Effects for Metal Jewelry, is a book that everyone who works with metal will find useful.
Color and texture add interest to even simple projects; this is a book that can be used by beginning and intermediate metal workers to take their work to the next level. Even advanced metal workers may find a few new tricks here.
Mary uses unusual materials - like grout! - to achieve some of her most interesting results; the designs presented range from tribal to very modern.