Book Review: Narrative Jewelry - Tales from the Toolbox by Mark Fenn

As an art jewelry student, I'm always looking for things to inspire my own creations. I look for books, articles and websites to keep close at hand for research and inspiration and this book, Narrative Jewelry: Tales from the Toolbox by Mark Fenn is absolutely one of my new favorites.

I don't remember exactly how I found Mark Fenn and his work, but as soon as I did, I had to know more. To my surprise, he was about to drop this new book from his publisher and I quickly pre-ordered the book and waited for my copy! I am so happy I did. I have included some of my own photos taken from the front cover, interior and back cover to give you a taste.

 Front Cover - Narrative Jewelry: Tales from the Toolbox.

Front Cover - Narrative Jewelry: Tales from the Toolbox.

 Back Cover - Narrative Jewelry: Tales from the Toolbox.

Back Cover - Narrative Jewelry: Tales from the Toolbox.


This is a significant book, not only in the respect that not many books like this exist for contemporary jewelry, but also from the perspective that Mark allowed the makers to comment on their own work. Some chose to write an excerpt and others wanted to let him make observations. I really love this format.

I think it's important that we, as artists, have the ability to say what we want about our work and then let our viewers decide what they think.


 Interior Pages - Narrative Jewelry: Tales from the Toolbox.

Interior Pages - Narrative Jewelry: Tales from the Toolbox.

I wrote the book I wished I’d had while writing my dissertation. I was always interested in narrative jewellery — my dissertation was about exploring why we assign stories to inanimate objects.
— Mark Fenn

To read the full article about Mark Fenn, visit the BLOG here.

I have spent a bit of time looking at this book and just sitting in gaping awe of the amazing talent compiled into this beautiful book. It's definitely one I will have in my library permanently. The stories behind the pieces are fascinating and gives me a lot of food for thought while I progress through my own journey on  my way to finishing my master's thesis work.

Anyone who loves unique jewelry that tells a story should have this book. It's a great conversation starter for your coffee table and if you're like me, in art school, it's a bonus inspirational book that really should be in your personal library.