First and foremost, I have to openly admit, I'm not a metal smith. I have worked with metal (cutting, hammering, stamping, drilling, annealing, adding a patina, and even ruining the surface of my chasing hammer during a impatient riveting attempt). I've done a lot of reading about soldering & forming, but I dont have any practical experience in those two areas. They are on the "to-do someday" short list, however!!
The "30-Minute" series is compiled by Marthe Le Van, featuring many designers' work. Each publication presents 60 Quick and Creative Projects for Jewelers. I have had the opportunity to flip through the following books: Rings, Necklaces, Earrings, and last but not least, the newest installment, Bracelets.
I would venture out to say that several (not all!!) of the projects in these books are geared for the experienced bench jeweler that maintains a nice stock of materials in their dedicated studio space. The books are all nicely laid out, with a modern style to them. They are easy to follow, but do lack the step by step photos that the inexperienced person would need to actually fabricate these projects in 30-minutes.
The projects themselves? They are amazing, and they do appear to be easy, once you have the proper skill set. True art at work!
Let's focus on 30-Minute Bracelets (releasing in June).
Not all of the projects require soldering, forming, or even metalsmithing!
I am pleased to see stringing, chainmaille, and even some bead weaving represented!
The innovative use of materials keeps you guessing.... (where to source some of these things? And what the heck is a carbon steel internal retaining ring?). But those are the questions that the more experienced might have an answer to. Me? No.. I'm still guessing -hahaaa!
Bottom line: don't avoid this series due to the skill set I believe you need to finish some of the projects. Get these books, and use them as a method to draw you into the creative process! Learn a new technique, get a new tool, and play! Soon, you'll be making your own 30-minute jewelry!
If you'd like to test out one of the 30-minute projects, visit Lark's web page for a sample pair of earrings, designed by Brenda Schweder.