Ribbon Cord, Ribbon Beads

Experiments in using fine rayon and silk ribbon to make cords and and ribbon beads in jewelry. New Three Muses jewelry creations!

How ’bout a Jewelry update?

Of course leave it the illogic of stress that I would schedule a jewelry trunk show for THIS weekend- smack in the middle of recording sessions. Argghhh! What was I thinking?!  New baubles for Friday’s show soon.  But for now, I want to share a break through from this summer working with textiles to make ribbon beads. Some of which you may have noticed a few of these turning up in my shop lately.

Do you collect ribbon? What to do with all of the fabric strips you’ve amassed?  For jewelry, I’ve tried varied things in design with mixed success; fabrics may fray and come apart; fine rayon and silk often snag on chunkier clay pendants that I’m so drawn to this year.

ribbonClay-WondrousFine ribbon (rayon and silk) can work nicely simply string up with single pearls, but finishing them around metal findings can be tricky for the long term life of your piece, and that matters.

While I have made my own cords covered in those gorgeous silk sari fabrics over the years, now I’m focusing on finer ribbons like those of AbbieANDEllie to make cords like the one on the right featuring a Fanciful Devices pendant.


While I love the messy look of the sari silk cord wraps for some designs- as with the ‘neatness’ of the Buddhist pendant, conversely, sometimes you want a more refined wrap to contrast a rustic clay pendant. Especially where the wrap shows a color gradient.  This led to making long cords and smaller chunks of chord, using the same fine fabric ribbons– whaaa-la!   Ribbon beads…


The left side shows sari ribbon, the right rayon and black-edged ribbon from AbbieEllie. I’ve spent a LOT of time experimenting with different materials- several adhesives (water repellent and non), and finishing products to ‘fix’ the wrapped fabric after- testing out the colorfast effects on the fabrics. The most important thing for me through all of this- seeing how the beads hold up to wear in everyday jewelry.

I’ve discovered that  waterproof matters with fabric on a necklace and especially bracelets: sometimes you just forget to take them off (i.e., I always start to wash dishes or cook before thinking of removing bangles.)  And I have clients who boast of never removing jewerelry. OK- I don’t think fabric beads will do well with daily showers!  But normal wear, they work great. In my exploration of materials- I talked to several artists and designers along the way too, including Patsy at Abby&Ellie about fabrics, and Kate of Quisnam (whose work is magical!).  My quest with Three Muses designs is to use natural materials- semi-precious stones & metals- in jewelry that lasts and that has little to no base metal. These ribbon beads and cord with fine fabrics add color and more to design with!

octopusNcklPendant: Wondrous Strange

chacoNckl8555Path of Water.  Pendant by Wondrous Strange

talisman1-31Four Corners Talisman:  My first ribbon bead features- feather, Navajo carvings, arrows, clay beads by Wondrous Strange, GreyBird, bone and deerskin.

Author: tara linda

musician, poet, art and jewelry-maker

Your Thoughts Welcome

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s