Pros: Fun projects; a few genuinely new ideas
Cons: Materials you can’t get; specific projects can be of limited usefulness
Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Also posted on Epinions.com.
Easy Beading is a collection of projects from the first year of BeadStyle Magazine. I picked it up as one of my intro books because a project book seemed like a great way to get started and find inspiration. Instead, I found that the few projects in the instructional books I read were pretty much enough, and now I’m more interested in doing my own thing than in following others’ projects. That said, if you prefer project books, I think this is a good one.
It does have a couple of flaws, mind you, and one became obvious right off the bat: some of the projects call for specialized material or beads that are no longer available. The very first project calls for a specific type of bead available from one particular website; I went there and, beyond the website being so poorly designed that I could hardly find anything, it seemed that the beads from the project were nowhere to be found, nor was anything similar enough for the project’s purpose. Beyond that, some projects call for vintage beads or other lucky finds. If you happen to find some and are looking for something to do with them, great, but otherwise those projects won’t be of much use to you.
This goes back to my conclusion that I don’t like project books—they’re rather limited in some ways. You need to have the right items for a given project. Sure, there’s some wiggle-room for substitution, and you always have the option of using a project as inspiration and doing something quite different with it, but I tend to feel that something like The Beader’s Guide to Color will get you a lot farther in terms of inspiration.
I did find some great tips in here—for example, none of those intro books I read gave directions for using small beads strung together to create your own spacer beads, which is a fantastic idea! I also like the fact that the projects represent such a wide array of tastes, materials, and interests. From elegant to casual to fun, it’s in here. Some of the projects show multiple versions of the finished product (usually using different colors or stones), which is very handy. Unfortunately the photographs almost inevitably focus on a short portion of larger projects such as necklaces, so sometimes it’s hard to get a feel for how the larger whole will look. The projects do include a goodly number of smaller photos focusing on aspects of each project.
I know I sound like I’m waffling a lot, and that’s because I am. Basically, if you’re the kind of beader who prefers to work from projects, this is a great project book. If, like me, you prefer to design your own works, it’s okay for inspiration but not amazing. Decide based on your own needs.