Book Review – Metal Clay and Color

I’m always on the lookout for new books on jewelry design, especially metal clay.  There are lots of books that are good for beginners but few, in my opinion, that can engage an experienced metal clay artist.  One of my most recent acquisitions is Metal Clay and Color: Inventive Techniques from 20 Jewelry Designers compiled by Mary Wohlgemuth from Kalmbach Books.   This book is filled with well known designers…. Janet Alexander, Lorena Angulo, Lorrene Baum-Davis, Maggie Bergman, Pat Bolgar, Susan Breen Silvy, Barbara Briggs, Sandra Butchko, Catherine Davies Paetz, Pam East, Joy Funnell, Vickie Hallmark, Hadar Jacobson, Patircia Kimle, Irina Miech, Kim Otterbein, Cindy Pankopf, Cindy Silas, Jewelyn Vanoni, and Michela Verani….with a forward by Celie Fago.  That list of artists alone should be the reason to get this book.

Barbara Briggs – Prairie Blossom Bracelet
(Image courtesy of Kalmbach Books)

Most metal clay books devote a major portion of the pages to teaching the basic techniques…which is good for a beginner but a waste of time for those of us who have been working in clay for a while.  Metal Clay and Color starts the projects on page 10 and they don’t end until page 108.  Techniques include metal clay combined with keum-boo, dye oxides, polymer clay, resin, ceramics, Gilder’s paste, alcohol inks, mokume gane, enamel, beading, colored sand, cement, gemstones and glass….and I probably left out a few.  I found myself pouring over the pages.

Cathy Davies Paetz – Brilliant Fibula
(Image courtesy of Kalmbach Books)

Each project starts with a section on the the source of the color and the tools/supplies you need to create the project.  The artists also give their special tips, tricks, and templates for their projects.  Plus you get an inside look at how these artists do what they do.  Have you even wondered how Barbara Briggs makes her beads, or Cathy Davies Paetz does her enameling, or the techniques Pat Bolger uses for her polymer…you get to see the process in this book.  It is filled with pictures to walk you through the techniques.

Pat Bolger – Polymer Petals
(Image courtesy of Kalmbach Books)

I think this has become my favorite book right now and as soon as my art shows are done for the year I am going to play with some of these projects.  My dilemma is choosing one.  Which one would you choose??

Gail Lannum

About Gail Lannum

My day job is research administration but my making jewelry. I work primarily in bronze and am inspired by ethnic and tribal art. You can see my jewelry at


Book Review – Metal Clay and Color — 7 Comments

  1. Yeah Mary did a great job and you perfectly described it. Somewhere there are also rings from my decals series hidden in the book as color technique examples. My book didn’t arrive yet so I don’t know which page.

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