In November 2011, Dan Cormier and Tracy Holmes released their ebook Relief Beyond Belief. I’ve had time to read it several times, and to use the techniques. I find myself referring back to it often. Several parts of the dieforming technique have become regular bits of my bead/pendant making process. While finishing up beads for the annual Bead Bazaar, I started thinking about this book. So… here I am, finally getting around to writing my review.
First of all, I think this is a fantastic book. It’s possibly the best, most fully developed polymer clay technique book around, in part because of its narrow focus, but largely because of format and content the book itself. Dan and Tracy refer to the book as a “master class” and it truly is that. It’s a perfect road map to making beautiful dieformed beads with polymer clay. It’s full of clear photographs and text explanations, as well as a gorgeous gallery section of finished pieces. If you follow the instructions, you can’t help but make a beautiful and elegantly constructed bead, and you will learn a lot along the way.
One reason I wanted to write this review was that I recently heard someone comment that they thought Relief Beyond Belief was very expensive. Personally I think this book is a real bargain because it is a complete master level workshop. You would have to pay at least a couple of hundred dollars to take a comparable class. In fact, I took a version of this workshop when Dan came to Connecticut to teach a couple of years ago. I can tell you that the ebook goes far beyond the workshop in the amount of detail and visual information. And you can go back to it again and again. My class notes don’t even come close. I loved the process and the results when I took the workshop, but I didn’t start to really use the technique a lot until I got the ebook.
I am hoping that Dan and Tracy will come out with other ebooks because they’ve really done such a fantastic job with this first one. The layout is graphically pleasing, logical and easy to follow. The format is perfectly suited to use on an iPad, but I am told it’s great as a pdf on a traditional computer as well. Clearly I admire Dan’s work and I like his teaching style. This book is very indicative of Dan Cormier’s approach to polymer clay, lots of thought and attention to detail.
If your main focus in working with polymer clay is not jewelry, this probably isn’t the book for you. If your style is very loose and fast-moving, you tend to create on the fly and just the thought of multiple steps makes you twitchy, it may not be your cup of tea. But I still think it’s worth considering. If you like very specific instructions along with explanations about why you should do certain things and not others, you’ll love this book. If you’re interested in making polymer clay beads or jewelry, and you’re interested in taking your work to the next level, I highly recommend Relief Beyond Belief.