It still astounds me to know soutache (pronounced as "su-tash") jewelry was pioneered as long ago as the 1980's by Dori Csengeri (see my past post) and yet it's only in the last few years that this technique has really become popular.  The internet surely had something to do with it!

There are just a handful of soutache jewelry books.  I received one of the newest, Soutache and Bead Embroidery by Amee Sweet-McNamara which showcases 18 beautiful combination projects designed to instruct and inspire.

The beginning of the book covers the basic materials needed as well as techniques on how to produce the distinctive shaping of layers of soutache braids. The book's three chapters takes the reader through progressive stages of Creating Basic Shapes, Adding Elements and Layers and Light.

Besides the obvious shapes like circles, spirals and pinwheels, the lovely swirling shapes unique to soutache jewelry making had equally names, a testament to the author's imagination and creativity - koala face, the harp and lily.  The halo - a bead and soutache arc - is a beautiful feature for the Sparrow's Nest earrings below.

One really useful technique shown was how to include jump rings into some of the designs. These allowed easy attachment to bails, ear wires and dangles.

One of my favorite designs from the book was not the most complicated. Far from it, it was a simple approach of using soutache to frame lovely shield shaped cabochons with beaded bezels. It is a good reminder that soutache braiding need not be heavily used.

Many of the projects in the book are not overly large physical projects. Indeed there are a number of earring designs which are perfect for those just starting out.  But if you like the bold and colorful look of soutache jewelry, there are also a number of bigger projects like the Triple Swirl necklace below.

This book is more than just a celebration of soutache jewelry. It also shows the coming of age of this technique as artisans seek to push the boundaries of what can be done with these braids.


Before You Go :
Original Post by THE BEADING GEM
Jewelry Making Tips - Jewelry Business Tips