Go Behind the Scenes of Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry with Erin Siegel

Want to open up a whole new world of possibilities in your jewelry making projects? Learning how to use materials like ribbon, cord and leather in your jewelry projects isn't as hard as you might think it is, and it looks oh, so cool! But if you've never tried to use these materials before or feel intimidated at the prospect of doing a little mixed-media jewelry making, Erin Siegel has teamed up with Lorelei Eurto to bring us Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry: 50 Designs Using Leather, Ribbon and Cords.

Erin knows that "there are many beaders and jewelry makers out there who are apprehensive about creating with leather, ribbon and cords in their designs for one reason or another. In our book, we've tried to address all the common stumbling blocks most designers encounter. Are you unsure how to finish off leather, ribbon or cords in your jewelry? Do you just feel lost as to how you can incorporate these materials in a design? Are you afraid to use silk ribbons? Our book has all the answers you need and more!" 

I asked Erin a few questions about her jewelry making and her new book. Read on to get to know a little more about Erin and her work!

Erin Siegel is one of the co-authors of the upcoming Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry.

What inspired you to write a book of jewelry designs using leather, ribbon and cords?

One of Erin's gorgeous knotted necklaces from Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry.

Lorelei Eurto and I both gravitate towards bohemian design and mixed media jewelry. I love the way leather, ribbon and cords add instant color, texture and interest to a design. These materials really add that visual "wow" factor in a jewelry piece for me. I wanted a jewelry book that addressed these types of materials for my own collection, but there wasn't one out there. Bohemian-style jewelry with leather, ribbon and cords is becoming more and more popular in fashion, yet there's a lack of instruction on how to incorporate these materials and create finished jewelry for beaders and designers. I knew we weren't the only ones who wanted a book like this, so we decided to fill that demand.

Do you have a favorite material to work with in your jewelry making projects and designs?

I love natural, organic materials best. My favorites to work with are waxed linen cord, leather and silk ribbons. If I had to pick just one, I'd probably have to say Irish waxed linen cord. It's the one material I find myself reaching for time and time again. It's a natural fiber that's strong, durable and versatile. Irish waxed linen comes in different thickness called "ply", so you can string any kind of beads onto it and it also comes in a variety of beautiful colors!

Can you tell me a little bit more about your blog, A Jewelry Accord? Will you continue to update it?

We started our blog, A Jewelry Accord as an extension or companion to our book. Since we are co-authors and we both have our own separate blogs and websites, we wanted to create a space where we could come together and talk about our book and the jewelry making techniques in it. We talk about materials, share techniques, inspiration, publish interviews with other artists and write about whatever else we love that's related to using leather, ribbon and cords in jewelry making. We've also introduced our book editor and contributors, shared some "behind the scenes" experiences from the book publishing process, book updates and sneak peeks. We plan to keep the blog updated and also post about upcoming book events and appearances, so readers will know where they can meet us and have their book signed. We plan to continue to blog about all our adventures as first-time authors and we hope readers will enjoy follow along on our journey.   

Tell me a little more about yourself. Do you have a day job, or is designing your full-time occupation?

I'm a full-time stay-at-home mom. Taking care of my 16 month-old daughter takes up most of my daytime hours. When I have some time, I love designing jewelry for publications, writing tutorials and sharing my love for all things jewelry on my blog. I also love to teach! I teach jewelry-making classes on the weekends at a local bead shop. I'm also teaching my first national workshop this year at Bead Fest Philadelphia in August, called Bohemian Knotted Earrings.

Do you have a favorite technique for using leather, ribbon or cord?

A technique I use frequently in my work is the half-hitch knot. It's an easy, versatile knot. I use it to make loops for button closures on multiple strand designs, to embellish jewelry components with beads or to make a unique bail for a pendant.

How did you get started designing jewelry and what led you to use materials like leather, ribbon and cords?

I've always loved the arts. Many years ago, I started attending a number of art shows and craft fairs. I found myself constantly drawn to the artisan jewelry vendors. When I walked away from any show, I had always purchased an item of jewelry. This pattern went on for several more years before I finally got the hint that I had a passion for hand-crafted jewelry and maybe I should give beading a try for myself!

My personal style is earthy, causal and bohemian. I am naturally drawn to the organic feel and textures of leather, ribbon and cords. I think I was originally looking for ways to set my jewelry apart and to find my unique design "voice" in the craft. As I worked with these materials more and more, I became passionate about using them. I fell in love with the color, texture, interest and feel they added to my beaded jewelry designs.

What are your jewelry making plans for the future?

My biggest dream for the future would be to continue on the path of publishing. I would love to design jewelry and write for beading magazines, contribute projects for other jewelry-making books and possibly author more books of my own in the future. I plan to continue teaching jewelry classes both locally and nationally as well and also write jewelry-making tutorials on my blog.


Have you wanted to start working with leather, cord or ribbon in your jewelry making projects, but aren't sure where to start? Stock up on some gorgeous hand-dyed silk ribbons, a couple of spools of leather cord and make sure you pre-order your copy of Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry: 50 Designs Using Leather, Ribbon and Cords! Erin Siegel and Lorelei Eurto answer all your questions about using these organic, earthy stringing materials to add a little boho-chic style your jewelry making style.

I've got dozens of hand-dyed silk ribbons sitting patiently in my bead stash, just waiting to be used in projects like these! What type of new stringing material are you most interested in using in your jewelry making projects? Leave a comment here on the Beading Daily blog and share your thoughts with us!

Bead Happy,


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