Reviews: Setting Stones in Metal Clay

Holly Gage
All Things Metal Clay (blog)

I wanted to publicly congratulate the author of this book because I think others will definitely want to read it. There are so many things I like about Setting Stones in Metal Clay. I particularly like that it is not just a "how to," but most importantly "why to." I think the concepts presented are practical and will help artists to understand why certain techniques work and why others do not.

I also feel if an artist knows why and how things happen, then they will make better constructional and design choices. The clarity of the illustrations help readers follow along with the text and illuminate new concepts. I also enjoyed the gallery section.

Knowing the motivation behind the work makes the connection with the artist more personal. I am always fascinated as to why an artist may have created a piece. This will definitely be a reference book that will be picked up time and again for its wealth of knowledge, innovative solutions, and its common sense approach.

Jill Erickson
Art Jewelry Magazine

Maybe you started by pressing lab-grown stones into metal clay. Now you want to set natural stones, or maybe even unusual objects. You're asking questions like, "How can I make a bezel in metal clay?" and, "Can I use prong settings in my work?" Author Jeanette Landenwitch asked herself the same questions and explored the answers. In this book, she shares a repertoire of techniques for integrating stones and metal clay.

Before launching into the how-to-techniques, Landenwitch provides an overview about gemstones and introduces traditional metalsmithing tools and their applications, which can be modified for working in metal clay. She also addresses design elements to consider when selecting a setting for a particular stone or object.

I liked her "setting continuum" examples and illustrations. She uses this continuum to describe how a stone can be held with a peg, prongs, tabs, a partial bezel, or a full bezel. Detailed text instructions and helpful drawings show you how to build a variety of bezel settings using metal clay sheet, syringes clay, and extruded clay. The chapter on prong settings is equally comprehensive. Alternative settings are also covered, including pave designs, strap settings, inlay, and trapped settings. Photographs of work by various artists provide inspiration and demonstrate the versatility of stone setting.

This book is a must-have for metal clay enthusiasts looking to expand their knowledge of metalworking. It may also lead to a yearning for some bench tools!

Razine Wenneker

First of all, this is a spiral bound book. This makes it so much easier to read the pages. I don't have to hunt in my cabinet for a stack of cans to hold the pages open.

The contents section of this publication by Brynmorgen Press is very thorough. It covers gemstones, tools and materials, settings, bezels, prongs, and other setting options.

I have perused many PMC Yahoo Groups and frequently the question comes up about setting stones and the appropriate stones to use with this material. I learned that natural stones can be fired in the kiln, but others such as pearl, ivory, shell, coral, amber, and jet are verboten. Most, but not all synthetic stones can be fired in a kiln. Simulated gemstones comprise another category, such as the cubic zirconia that is ideal for kiln firing.

There is a table on pages 14 and 15 illustrating gem tests that were done by Kevin Whitmore and the staff of Rio Grande. Here one can find many answers to both torch and kiln firing.

The line drawings of the techniques and the setting illustrations are well executed. There is no guesswork here. As an example, the bezel strip on page 44 is a definitive "how to." One is presented with a heat tolerant gemstone pressed into a lump of clay, variations of the method, and final finishing steps.

The goal of "Setting Stones in Metal Clay" was to expand the PMC's artist's stone setting options. They are all here and are less than a stone's throw away!