Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry, by Lorelei Euro and Erin Siegel, is a collection of jewelry projects featuring sensual color palettes, natural materials, and fibers. It's an especially good resource for learning how to work with ribbon and leather in interesting ways, and it demonstrates techniques that you won't find in most other beading books.
This soft cover book from Interweave is just as gorgeous as the jewelry, with enticingly colored and textured backgrounds. Many of the pages are devoted to the 50 projects, most of which take up just two pages each.
In the Introduction, we learn that the authors began experimenting with alternative materials like ribbons and fibers as a way to make their designs unique. It's clear that they understand that some readers may find those materials intimidating at first, and they've crafted the book to address those concerns.
The first few sections of the book are essential. They describe all of the different types of ribbon and cord used in the projects (who knew there were so many different types of ribbon?), as well as the findings you'll need. The tools section covers basic beading supplies, along with the supplies used specifically for ribbons and cords. Those include big eye needles, an anti-fray sealant, tweezers, and binder clips, to name a few. Nothing here is over-the-top expensive or difficult to find.
The techniques section is one that you may want to bookmark. It covers the basics, with illustrations, but also the more specialized techniques used in the projects. They include the authors' approaches for making wrapped wire bails, coil cord ends, half-hitch knotted loops (which are very cool), and sliding knots.
The great thing about the presentation of the projects is their use of big, detailed photos of the completed jewelry. Those photos are important, because for the most part there are no photos or illustrations of the individual steps. As you read through the instructions for each piece, you'll need to refer to those big photos to help you follow along. This isn't too difficult, because the photos are always on the facing page, or the same page, as the instructions; there's no need to flip through lots of pages.
There are lots of projects that combine techniques, which helps to give the jewelry its eclectic look. For example, a portion of a design may use knotting techniques, whereas another section uses strung beads or basic wire work. Ribbon is used for straps and bands, and as accents that are woven through and around other components, such as chunky chain.
At minimum, there are lots of interesting ideas here. Even if you don't replicate the designs exactly, you'll find lots of inspiration to invent your own designs.
I definitely recommend Bohemian-Inspired Jewelry for anyone who loves eclectic, colorful, textural, and casual jewelry. In particular, I think you'll enjoy learning so many different ways to use ribbon and combine it with other jewelry components in interesting ways.
To learn more about the authors and get a better feel for their work, visit their websites:
Bohemian style jewelry projects on About.com: