Anna Draeger's previous book, Crystal Brilliance (see review) was a wonderful inspirational book on the joys of using Swarovski crystals in beading.  The elegant designs were imminently wearable and more importantly, doable as larger crystals help make the work go quicker.

Anna has followed up with a new book Crystal Play: Fun and Fabulous Designs for Stitched Jewelry which I recently received for review.  It does live up to its name because the author has clearly been playing with her beads!   She divided the 25 project book into 4 chapters : Beaded Beads. Component Craze, Playful Favorites and Another Dimension.

What she really played with best were the less popular beads. The lentil beads in the cover design helps give the piece texture and dimension. Her bugle bead bracelet above highlights how these long cylindrical beads can help give a design a geometric look. I also loved her Architectural Appeal pendant (not shown) because she used bugles and crystals to capture a rivoli. She also used various kinds of two holed beads like the Tilas.  Bicones are her favorite type of crystals so they formed the backbone of almost all of her designs.

The book consists of mainly bracelet projects with just a few necklace/pendant designs and no rings.  The instructions are clear and well illustrated as shown in the page for the Flat-Out Fabulous bracelet below which is a flat spiral design. What is helpful is the list of beading stitches at the beginning of each project - on the top left of the page.   Not every author includes this. It is handy to have some idea of what type of stitches are used before plunging in!

Anna included some great tips at the beginning of the book - the stitch basics at the end. She said, " Often I hear fans of my work say they want to make a project using the exact colors I did, down to the last seed bead, and then they drive themselves crazy hunting down colors that may be hard to find or even discontinued. My suggestion? Let go of the idea of having to make an exact replica. Bead colors get discontinued all the time and new colors are added." Sage advice indeed from this masterful AND playful beader.


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Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
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