Crystal Play: Fun & Fabulous Designs for Stitched Jewelry is a marvelous, pretty, and frolicsome book by Anna Elizabeth Draeger.
Ms. Draeger is well known and much loved for her two previous books, Crystal Brilliance and Great Designs for Shaped Beads. She has also been an ambassador since 2009 for CREATE YOUR STYLE, which is a wonderful testimonial to her talents designing with crystals, as it is a program run by Swarovski Elements.
As a designer myself, I have studied many different styles of jewelry, but I never stray far from the breathtaking beauty of Swarovski Elements, whether they are used as accents or, as in this book, are the main attraction. They are just too beautiful!
On the other hand, the uniquely appealing aspect of this author's charming new book is the element of play which is mentioned in the title!
Often it seems to me that that playful characteristic is lacking in many designs which utilize Swarovski Elements. I am not saying that the designs in this book are any less beautiful that those which the reader might see in another book featuring these stunning crystals. However, I would like to point out the enjoyment one will derive from how this creative book marvels at its main components. You will find that it is a romp through utter beauty!
As I said, this does not mean that Anna's designs are any less stunning or beautiful than those found in other books. I simply mean that when the reader opens this book, he or she will be greeted with a ton of sparkle of all sorts! Fun rings, gorgeous bangles (note: these are some of my favorites from the book), spiky bracelets, beaded beads you will gasp over, necklaces and pendants galore will greet your eyes!
There is a clever natural progression in Crystal Play. It begins with a lively introduction by Anna Elizabeth Draeger, and continues with projects the reader can jump right into. Beaded Beads are first in the line up.
The second chapter is called Component Craze. If you haven't passed out with delight due to the author's vibrant and delightful imagination by the time you reach the glorious Northern Lights Necklace in this chapter, I will eat my 14 mm light vitrail rivoli I am thinking of using in one of the variations from this project. Note: DON'T EAT BEADS, OKAY?
As variations from the Northern Lights Necklace, one can make a ring, a bracelet, or change the whole color palette! This is typical of the "outside the box" thinking which the projects in Crystal Play offers consistently. You will find that this book actually contains about four books' worth of information for you to have fun with!
Playful Favorites, and Another Dimension, are the other two chapters. Wait until you see the Flat-Out Fabulous Bracelet in Another Dimension. It couldn't be any more ... well ... flat-out fabulous!!! It is TRUE! I love it, love it, love it!
I also love the Queen Anne's Necklace from the preceding chapter, Playful Favorites. It couldn't be any more elegant and is a symphony of soft greens, violets, and peacock- purples.
The author is known for her expertise in certain stitches. They are: herringbone, St. Petersburg chain, right-angle weave, and peyote stitch. If necessary, the reader can check the basic review at the end of the book to brush up on those and other techniques.
Anna hopes that you will enjoy her additional variations, which are called "Playtime" in the book. I assure you that you will, just as much as you will love her special way she uses the spectacular Swarovski Elements.
There is a Swarovski color chart, rare to see in a book, and it made my heart soar to see the amazing colors Swarovski offers!
If you choose to purchase this book for your design library, be aware that you will want to drop whatever project you are presently making and dive right into the wonder that is this great collection of projects and variations by Anna Elizabeth Draeger.
It has been a complete pleasure to review this jewelry design book, Crystal Play: Fun & Fabulous Designs for Stitched Jewelry. I hope you find it as innovative and lovely as I do!