by Rachel Norris
A complete GEM of a book!
Going back a few years and ever since I first spotted any
of Rachel's work, I have admired and loved her individual
style and the quality of craftswomanship in all her artistic
Rachel Norris has been a deserved winner of numerous accolades,
including 'Best Design' in 2012 and 'Design of the Year' in 2016
on JEWELLERY MAKER TV (on which she has been a guest
designer/demonstrator since 2011). She has also been voted
'Best Designer' in Beads and Beyond Magazine in 2015 and
(how many people can say this?!!) has had her work exhibited
at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London!
So, as a fellow maker and author and 'wire missionary', I thought
I must review her new book which has hit the limelight and
become a best seller!
On first impression, the words that came to me when flicking
through Rachel's book were: 'beautiful', 'stunning', 'intricate'
and 'inspiring'!! It is completely evident from the layout of the
publication, that she has put her heart and soul into every project.
The designs are like timeless 'treasures', all themed around nature.
The publication is divided into 3 sections, beginning with an excellent
introduction to fundamental techniques, as well as tools and
materials, followed by the main content of 15 gorgeous projects
and brought to a conclusion with templates, a bibliography and
a list of suppliers.
Visually, the photography is wonderfully instructional and
beautifully clear and this is what makes this book a 'must have' for
any aspiring wireworker, or even someone like me, who has been
dabbling and making for many years!
At first glance, you could feel that Rachel's style might be too
intricate and meticulous for you, due to her love of weaving and
wrapping in all of her projects, however, you can still use it as a
brilliant resource for inspiration and techniques! For instance,
talking personally, my jewellery style in comparison, is very honed
down and extremely simplistic, yet Rachel's clear step by step images,
still provide me with little triggers of insight as to how she accomplishes
her beautiful pieces, and give me new challenges to aim for, especially
in her approach to setting stones and forming and shaping! I'm not
sure if I will ever have the patience that she has, but I can really enjoy
seeing the way she builds up her finished pieces and can admire
plenty of elements that will fuel new creativity in me!
Not only are the visual instructions excellent, she's also added
little tips and advice along the way ... as you pour over the book
you can almost feel you've got Rachel there, helping you along.
There is no doubt that you will learn something new if you
follow her clear step by step instructions, even if you choose to
put your own individual stamp on it!
To conclude, it is a complete 'gem of a book' and the title is spot
on! If you're a just starting out with wirework, you will learn and
comprehend so many basics in Rachel's excellent 'Mastering'
introduction. This should be read and studied in detail before jumping
straight into any of the projects. Whilst intermediate wireworkers,
will be inspired by the wealth and detail of her stunning projects,
ranging from a 'Spring Daisy Necklace', 'Egyptian Cat Brooch', 'Indian
Elephant Necklace' to 'Running Horse Brooch', to name but a few ...!
I will definitely treasure this book, just as I admire her as a
individual artist and will share it within my workshops, as I think
it is a valuable resource when I teach to inspire others on their
'Mastering Wirework Jewelry' by Rachel Norris is published by:
GMC Publications Ltd
ISBN 978 1 78494 331 8
It is also available through 'amazon.co.uk'