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June 6, 2014

Designer's book puts bohemian twist on jewelry

As an employee of Riverwalk Gallery & Healing Arts in Amesbury, Erin Siegel helped people use beads to create custom jewelry and other accessories.

Now a jewelry designer and instructor living in Salem, she has shared some of her design techniques in a book, “Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry.”

“The main purpose of the book is to provide inspiration to beaders and jewelry designers,” Siegel said. “It’s also a book for beginners because it’s got instructions, and the techniques that are used are basic jewelry-making techniques: stringing, wire wrapping, basic knotting and things like that.”

Siegel, who will be at the Boston Bead Company in Salem tonight from 6:30 to 7:30, said bohemian styles are popular right now.

“A bohemian ensemble that a woman might wear may include a flowing floral dress, leather sandals with wooden soles, and she’d be carrying a leather bag — natural materials,” Siegel said.

The jewelry in her book is designed to fit with that look.

“The key features in bohemian styles are vibrant colors and organic, natural materials — wood, stone, clay — patterned or textured fibers, cords and leather ribbons,” Siegel said.

She started making jewelry while going to arts and crafts shows, where she was drawn to handmade jewelry and always brought samples home.

“It’s something that holds my interest,” she said. “It’s a passion for me.”

Siegel, who has been designing jewelry for 10 years, found there was a lack of information on bohemian design and put her book proposal together in 2010. “Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry” was published in 2012.

“I had this idea that this style of jewelry wasn’t really being talked about, and it wasn’t out there in a book form people could find out about,” she said. “They didn’t know how to add these materials we talk about in the book, like the leather, and incorporate it in jewelry design.”

The 50 designs in the book include illustrations, which accompany the instructions, and there are also plenty of photographs.

“There are pictures of the tools, beads, all of the materials that you’ll need,” Siegel said. “The book has got a very large list of resources.”

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