Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry: A Workshop in Painting With Fire

 By Barbara Lewis 
Published by North Light Books
 Cincinnati, Ohio Copyright 2011

Review by Andrea Guyot Twombly

Cover to the book "Torch-fired enamel jewelry:a workshop in painting with fire"

Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry: 
A Workshop in Painting With Fire
 By Barbara Lewis 

  The best jewelry-making books will do a couple of things. First, the author will show the reader the effects of their magic, namely beautiful jewelry, and secondly, they will teach the reader how to make her own magic. Barbara Lewis accomplishes both with Torch-Fired Enamel Jewelry. 

The author cannot recommend this technique with brass components, but that hasn't stopped some artists from having success with this technique using brass parts. 

Nevertheless, this workshop book is colorful, organized, and filled with clear instructional photos ranging from raw enamel colors, through bench set-up ideas, and tutorials for extraordinary finished projects. The reader is left with no doubt that Ms. Lewis knows her stuff, and she shares her expertise fluently. 

Explanations of technical issues, like why an artist would want to vary the oxygen content in a flame, or how to modulate color, are easy to understand, even though the techniques are likely difficult to master. A tools-of-the-trade discussion and a troubleshooting table are valuable tools for learning artisans. Lewis also includes a short glossary of jewelry making terms and techniques.

The reader soon reaches the eye candy of the book. The numerous projects the author has outlined include materials lists and a list of required tools for completing each project. 

Ms. Lewis uses layering and a mixed media approach to her one-of-a-kind earrings, bracelets, necklaces, and beadwork. Brass components are not completely out- ruled, I was glad to see. One example is her "Winged Heart" pendant, in which brass wings are riveted to the enameled heart.

I have never liked to play with fire, but after reading this book, I'll be on the lookout for a studio class and see if I can't make some of my own enameled magic.

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