Friday, 22 June 2012

Bohemian-Inspired Jewel{le}ry Hop

Welcome to the Bohemian-Inspired Jewel(le)ry blog hop. I am totally thrilled to be a part of this hop - and what's more, the only representative not in North America. {you can probably tell that I'm from the UK by my little spelling alteration to the title....I find it hard not to change these things!}How cool is that? I was chuffed to bits when Jaime of Interweave contacted me and asked if I would take part. 

Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry is written by Erin Seigel and Lorelei Eurto, with contributors Maire Dodd, Tracy Statler and Denise Yezbak Moore. This is a book that I, along with many others, maybe even you reading this now, was incredibly excited to get my hands on. I have followed Lorelei's blog for a few years now, and Erin and I are both part of the Art Bead Scene team, and I have really enjoyed getting to know her and her beautiful jewellery through the team. These ladies have some serious talent wracked up between them. If you haven't already, then I THOROUGHLY recommend getting your hands on a copy - either electronically or paper copy. It is chock full of beautiful designs, drawn together by two main elements - fibres, cords and ribbons, and artisan-made beads. Two elements of which I myself am extremely passionate about. 

I started my beading life back in the early 80s by stitching beads onto book covers made of old curtains with my Grandma, dabbled in cross stitch and then moved onto bead weaving and bead embroidery, before 'discovering' wire in my 20s. I think this background with a needle and thread is part of what makes me love working with fibres so very much. There is something so soothing about knotting, about the direct physical connection you have with what you are making, holding the cords and fibres in your hands and directly manipulating them - twisting and turning them - without tools getting in the way. I also love using handmade beads in my designs - I have long been enamoured with handmade lampwork, but I really have to credit Lorelei herself for introducing me to the world of handmade beads beyond lampwork - ceramic, metal, polymer.....it's an amazing world to be a part of; incredibly inspiring and there is always something new popping up - a new artist, a new style of bead; even a new material. So put these two things together, and you have a very happy and inspired me
Firstly, I must just talk a little about the first section of the book - you know, the introduction; the section where there are lots of pretty pictures about materials and tools. I don't know why, but I always love these bits of beading books. Let's face it - I don't really need to read that beads are 'typically small pierced objects' but somehow, I always devour these sections, pouring over them eagerly, as if I expect to discover something new in the description of a headpin! However, Erin and Lorelei don't just take you through the obvious - there's so much on a variety of different ribbons and cords but also, an interview with Marsha Neal on how to care for and store your silk ribbons - very useful. They also don't just introduce you to 'ribbon', as you might expect, but to a whole variety:
Look at all these delicious styles of ribbon! I am particularly enamoured with that thick velvet ribbon - I must try and get my hands on some of that. Oh, and the printed cotton ribbon is pretty awesome too....There are actually 4 whole pages of different ribbons and cords. I love how this makes you realise how very versatile incorporating such things into your work can be. It's easy to feel limited by what we are used to working with but think what a different vibe using the crepe cord would bring to a project, compared with the velvet ribbon.

Enough about the 'tools of the trade' section; beautifully photographed and laid out as it is, it's the jewellery itself we're really interested in, isn't it? Never fear. It is every bit as beautiful and inspiring as you would (and I did!) expect. Another thing I like about the way this book is laid out is that the projects themselves are not grouped in any kind of progressive order. You start with this totally cool bracelet.
It's one of my favourite pieces in the whole book - it's a great design, original and innovative but eminently wearable. I think you could describe all the jewellery in the book in this way. {This green bracelet also makes me think that I must try and get my hands on some Golem beads! They are absolutely gorgeous...} The closing bracelet (also by Lorelei) is just as lovely - gentles blues and  aquas, birds and a mixture of chain, cord and beads. There's no sense throughout the book of building up to that really tricky to make necklace in the back...the jewellery isn't about how easy or hard it is to create, it's simply a book filled with beautiful, boutique-style jewellery. Less of a crafting book (although the instructions are clearly written and laid out), more an art book. A book you could have on your coffee table; one that anyone with an interest in the decorative arts would love to look through. 

Another aspect that leapt out at me was the gorgeous use of colour - something all five designers featured in the book are fantastic at! Take a look at this lovely necklace from Erin:

This necklace is up for grabs! Head over to Beading Daily and check out their polyvore challenge. I think I will be too...

Blue and orange - complementary colours and typically a bold colour scheme. Erin has transformed this into something gentle and delicately feminine - opalesque beads and the rich terracota-coloured focal with it's rustic shape and whimsical pattern all add to it's softness. I am completely in love with colour, and always looking to stretch my colour boundaries and flicking through the whole book I can't help but feel inspired by the colours alone.

For this special blog hop, I wanted to have a go at one of the designs myself. There were so many different designs I want to put my my own spin on but I decided to keep it simple and try out Erin's beautiful earrings:


Very often when I buy jewellery books, (and I have a lot of them...), I buy them for inspiration, rather than to recreate the exact projects. To learn techniques, or simply to be inspired by the beautiful jewellery created by designers who I admire. Although I have been knotting for years now, macrame is relatively new to me, and so I was very keen to have a go at seeing if I could learn a new knotting technique from a book.

On the occasions when I do recreate a project by another designer, I am never encumbered by trying to use the exact materials that they do. It's unlikely that I will have exactly the same beads in my stash, and often with artist-made beads, they are one-offs and impossible to get exactly the same anyway. That's all part of the beauty of handmade jewellery! So I grabbed wooden rings, Czech glass and waxed linen cord and here's my take on Erin's Copper Antiquity:


Pretty pleased with these little babies. Alongside the giveaways at Beading Daily, I'm going to give these sweet earrings away to one lucky commenter. Just leave me a comment - if you are lucky enough to have a copy of the book, what's your favourite project? If not, why would you like to get a copy - what do you find inspiring in a jewellery making book? Let me know, I will be making a drawing next Sunday - 1st July.

If this blog hop has piqued your interest and you fancy getting your hands on a copy, Interweave have a great offer on at the moment for both the hard (paper) copy and the ebook. Check it out here. Or if you are in the UK, here it is for us too :-)

Now hop on over to Beading Daily to continue the Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry blog hop! There are loads more fantastic artists taking part and I can't wait to see what they have all come up with for this weekend's celebration.

19 comments:

Lorelei Eurto said...

Excellent post Rebecca! Thank you so much for participating in the blog event!
Your earrings are so sweet, love the rustic wood rings as opposed to the metal rings. Adds a whole new look with the same technique! Totally fab!
I hope the book continues to inspire you for years to come!

steufel said...

Love your earrings. They are so you!

Fiona said...

I love these earrings. It'd be great to win them as I really like your work and if I had the book I would probably do every project ---eventually!

missficklemedia.com said...

Oh, your post is juicy! I too, had to try my hand at the copper antiquity earrings! It is the perfect starting point for knots on metal and gave me confidence to take it further.
I am looking forward to seeing what else you make, Rebecca!

Copper Diem said...

I love those pretty earrings!

SmittenBeads said...

Hi Rebecca, what a fantastic post, I have already put a copy of the book in my shopping basket. I've only recently started buying jewellery design books, I really suffered from a lack of inspiration and imagination a while back and needed a little help. I now have a lovely collection which I browse every so often to help spark the imagination. I think this book will sit well with my others.
Thanks for the introduction. Claire :0)

Kathleen Lange Klik said...

I too really enjoyed the pages on the varieties of cords and ribbons as well as Marsha's write up on how to care for silk. Love the earrings that you created too-beautiful! I have so many pages marked for favorite projects that it is really hard to decide! Ocean Love is probably my top contender along with Autumnal Arrangement.

Lisa said...

Hi, Rebecca! As usual, your posts are so inspiring. No, i do not have this book, but after seeing your post and a couple of others, I would love to get it. I fully agree with some of the other commenters that your interpretation on Erin's earrings are so "you"!! Just simply gorgeous! Have a great weekend!

Pixiloo said...

I love those earrings. What a wonderful way to celebrate Erin's and Lorelei's book. I adore jewelry books and can look at the inspiring pictures for hours. I'm with you. I don't always have the right beads for the projects, but the projects usually inspire me to look at my stash of beads in a different light.

TesoriTrovati said...

My fave project by far is Erin's Elements of the Earth necklace. I was able to witness it in person on her lovely porcelain skin with that shock of gorgeous red hair and eyes the color of the Caribbean Sea! She is a knockout and so very sweet. The details in this one completely intrigue me! I already have a copy and am making my way through so please share the love with someone else. Those earrings are so pretty! Enjoy the day, Miss Rebecca! Erin

Beth Hemmila said...

Super cute earrings! This is one of Erin's designs that is sticking in the back of my mind.

freshbakeddesigns said...

Love reading your post today. And I am ordering this book! Love to learn more about mixing materials in my jewelry designs and this seems like the perfect start.
And thanks for the chance in the give away. Love the earrings!

Jane Knaub said...

Love those earrings and so many other things in this book. Hope I win it.

Becky Pancake said...

I would be pleased to win your earrings. I haven't made anything from the book yet but I am reading it. I did macrame back in the 70's (oops I'm giving away my age LOL)It has been fun revisiting this technique. I even had beads left from back then that I am using now.

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Pretty Things said...

Fantastic post! I love the book!

Shaiha said...

I have this book and I have to say that it is my favorite jewelry book! It has given me permission to play with my ribbons and cord and whatnot.

As far as a favorite design, I can't really say that I have one. I have used it as inspiration for a few of my designs recently

Erin Siegel said...

Rebecca,

Thank you so much for your absolutely fab and thoroughly thoughtful review! I can not thank you enough for your words. I'm so thrilled you are enjoying the book and even tried your hand at the knotting techniques in my Copper Antiquity earrings. It lends itself to many variations. Love your versions. I really like the contrast of the wood rings with the faceted Czech glass beads. Thanks again for all your wonderful support. It is very much appreciated!

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