I recently purchased Marie le Sueur's book " Bijoux en cristal: Dentelles de perles" or "Crystal Jewelry: Bead Lace". I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was to understand, particularly since I am not fluent in French! The book begins in the classic bead-book style with an introduction that covers materials. After that however, it presents its projects in a slightly different manner: The second section of the book ("Techniques") covers the basic construction techniques for the jewelry components and the third section ("Realisation") illustrates how to put the components together. At the end of each project are lovely photos illustrating the finished work.
There are a few things that I really like about this book. First are the diagrams. They are fairly self-explanatory so that you don't need to decipher the instructions that accompany each step. What is particularly nice about the diagrams is that they are done using images of the beads themselves (a crystal bead is drawn to look like a crystal bead). I found this very helpful. I also like the format of the book - first explaining how to make the components and then providing a series of applications (projects) at the end. For example the beautiful "Maya" motif: The book illustrates variations for creating the motif and then shows how to use it in a pendant, a ring, an earring, and as the centerpiece for a bracelet (my version of the pendant is shown above in Lilac with sterling delicas and charlottes). The other thing I really like about this book is the style of beadwork. It is delicate, lacy, and not overly done. I found all of the items to be extremely attractive, feminine, and inspiring!
As the title suggests, the book uses beads and crystals. The crystal cabochons are in settings and the settings provide an important base for weaving from. Not all the projects have set crystals however, so don't let that dissuade you if you don't have any. For example there are gorgeous beaded lace projects- Motif's Valmont and Elliandre - that use crystal drops and rounds, and the "Tourvelle" bracelet (shown in my earlier post). If you are somewhat skilled at beadwork and can follow diagrams then I would highly recommend this book! To view some of the finished items be sure to check out Marie le Sueur's website HERE.
Unfortunately there aren't many places where you can purchase this book in the States. The only online U.S. retailer I found was Laci's which offers it for $42. They also offer Marie's earlier book "Bijoux en Cristal: Tissage de Pearls" for $45. Thinking I'd save money, I bypassed Laci's and went directly to Amazon.fr (France) and purchased the book. I saved ~$8. If you go through Amazon.fr you will need some knowledge of French to navigate the ordering process and it will take two weeks to arrive (if you click on the book image, you will be redirected to it's page on Amazon.fr). Note that overseas shipping costs ~$12 - there's no getting around it!
If you're looking for inspiration and a well-illustrated book for creating lacy beadwork with crystals, then consider this book as your next purchase. If you do buy it, take a little time to go through it as I have - remembering that the "Techniques" section is where Marie diagrams how to weave the individual components and the "Realisation" section is where she puts them all together. I hope you will enjoy this book as much as I have.
bead, beading, French, jewelry, book, beadweaver