This little craft book by Sarah Drew is a lot of fun, and it contains 25 different jewellery projects that can be made on a fairly tight budget.
Junk-Box Jewellery uses found objects as its starting materials, and turns them into unique pieces of jewellery. The premise is that you can start being creative with a minimum of tools/outlay and not too much experience, which is an empowering idea, and one that’s very appealing.
The author comes across as keen and friendly, and is very natural and non-patronising. You can really feel the enthusiasm, and get a good idea of her adaptability – everything’s about making the most of what you already have.
There are sections on tool kits, places to find and buy materials, specific suggestions about wires and findings (very useful, as any jewellery-maker knows), presenting or selling your work, and the 25 actual projects themselves. The jewellery ranges from simple earrings to wedding day tiaras, and includes vintage beads and pebbles that wash up on the beach.
My only real criticism is that wire-cutting tools are referred to as ‘snips’ throughout the book, instead of cutters. If you went to buy snips (a tool used in areas of the textiles industry) you would end up buying the wrong thing, and that’s never a good idea when sharp implements are involved. Other minor niggles are that the good-quality illustrations aren’t numbered, which would have been a great help to match the step-by-step instructions, and files aren’t mentioned in the equipment list, even though they are used in the third project onwards.
As someone who has made jewellery before, I’d say that the book isn’t quite right for absolute beginners, but it’s ideal for someone who already has a tiny bit of experience. It’s great for getting some interesting and unusual new ideas for projects, and it’s also easy to see how you could adapt all of them to suit your own individual taste. The home business section at the end is really nicely written too, in case anyone was thinking about setting up a financial sideline.
Junk-Box Jewellery is published by A & C Black with an RRP of £14.99. You can currently buy it from Amazon for £12.74.