Beaded Rings: To Wear or Not to Wear?

Feb 19, 2008
 

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis recently held an incredible Frida Kahlo exhibit. I've always admired her work, but now that I've seen her paintings up close, I'm a fan. Many of you know the story of her soap-opera life. . . . It overwhelmed me that she found so much comfort in painting. Most creative people can relate to that.

Anyway, her works were great to see, but I was just as drawn to the photographs of her. She was like a model, that one--eyebrows included. And as you might know, she loved to wear traditional Mexican dresses and often braided her hair with ribbons and flowers, all arranged as if she herself was a sculpture.

A huge part of the sculpture--like ensemble was her jewelry. It totally blew me away! She was a small woman, but she wore big, bold necklaces made out of stones, wood, and shells, like she cobbled them together after being stuck on a desert island. Or sometimes she donned enormous earrings resembling indigenous metalwork, as if she stumbled upon El Dorado in her wanderings. And other pieces look like Victorian filigree swiped from HRM herself. 

But the rings, oh, my goodness, the rings . . . always on her left hand. Not just one ring, and not just little rings, but sometimes five huge ones that covered most of her hand. Stone, metal, glass. She must have had boxes of them.

Do you have boxes of beaded rings? I do. I love making them. They work up quickly, are totally versatile design-wise, and are easy to store. But for some reason I forget to wear them. It's not because they're uncomfortable, or because they'll fall apart while washing my hands (most are made with fishing line, for cryin' out loud), but maybe they get in the way, are too flashy, or too, well, just too much. How about you? Do you wear them? Or are you like me and just make them and slide them on the nearest acrylic hand?

 Me, in a Frida-inspired moment

After seeing the beautiful Frida, though, the stately creature festooned with her fabric, ribbons, and baubles, I think I may be changing my mind. I have an inkling that a big honkin' beaded ring might be a symbol of power. And it just might be the ultimate signal of your beaderliness—just about no one but beaders (or people who know them) have beaded rings. 


Things about Rings 

  • Use the best materials you can afford. Rings are small, so you won't break the bank.

  • Don't use beads with special finishes or dyes. They'll eventually rub off.

  • If you're making a beadwoven ring, always use the heaviest fishing line (FireLine, Dandy Line, etc.) that will fit through your beads. It doesn't abrade easily and lasts and lasts.

  • If you can't find the fishing line color you want to match your beads, buy the white kind and color it with a Sharpie.

  • When making a wireworked ring, take extra care to tuck the ends into the work. This especially includes wire wraps and spirals—they each can catch on clothing really quickly.

  • Use a metal file to round the end of a wire after you trim it. It just takes a few seconds, and it greatly reduces the chances of getting scratched or ruining a sweater. 

Jean Campbell writes about beading and life every Wednesday on Beading Daily. If you have comments or questions for Jean, please post them on the website. Thanks! 


 


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Comments

tinakstep wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 12:09 PM
I say "WEAR THEM" and enjoy them. I have several rings and I keep them in a dish near where I get ready each morning, and I have gotten to the point that I feel naked without them. I wear all of my creations, after all, that is the point ~ to make something and enjoy it. If not, I rip it up and rework it, because if it isn't wearable, it should be.
ChristinaJ@9 wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 12:10 PM
I do sometimes wear my beaded rings. Not as often as I should. This post makes me want to break them out of my jewelry box!

http://www.thisgirlbeads.blogspot.com
jooleewoo wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 12:15 PM
I have a problem with finishing rings in fishing line any bright ideas?
on Feb 20, 2008 12:24 PM
I love beaded rings. I usually wear one everyday. The bigger the better. I love that I can quickly whip one up to match whatever I am wearing. I probably wouldn't wear a regular stone setting as big as I do a beaded ring but that is what is great about them, you can have fun with them!!
Blpmiles wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 12:25 PM
I haven't made rings, but after reading this, I will. Love'd the picture of Jean, really looked like Frida. Barbara L M
AllegraC2 wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 12:28 PM
To finish a ring with fishing line, bring the two ends of the fishing line to meeting each other by going through beads, and then tie the two ends together several times. Then go through several more beads (doesn't matter which ones) to secure the ends and then cut them short. This is to ensure your knot won't spontaneously untie itself. I have a beaded ring design I'd like to share with everyone at http://friendshipbeading.net/jewelry.shtml
I hope you like it! It's very flat so it doesn't get in the way, as Jean pointed out can be a disadvantage of bulky rings.
amitysprings wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 12:40 PM
Thanks for reminding me about Frida Kahlo. From what I know about her,she was an amazing woman. The jewelry she was wearing reminds me me of Miriam Haskell's..
Say Jean, remember the old Oregon College of Arts and Crafts on 18th or was it 19th St in Portland.. I took several weaving classes from you WAY back then.. It's nice to see your creativity continues to shine and inspire. Jennie
KathleenB@47 wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 1:04 PM
Jean, welcome to Beading Daily! Your writing has really breathed a quirky new life to this already fabulous site. I am enjoying your creative, edgy style!!! I think that, like Stephen Colbert's "truthiness" (Comedy Central), you may have coined a new word that many of us will enjoy using- beaderliness! BEAD ON!
DianaS@3 wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 1:54 PM
Must hurry. I'm off to the bead store to buy the perfect center bead for my new ring. But Jean, on Beading Daily there are two pictures of beautiful women whose wearing of jewelry inspire me, Frida and you, more than anyone. Thank you.
DorrieS wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 2:29 PM
Just want to say, I had never heard of Frida before today. I am not schooled in Art, so...Anyway, I did a search on her and am truly taken with her story. I started beading due to an injury that causes me to live in pain on a daily basis. I, also, am so into doing the beading that I can forget the pain and my phsical limitations. I work from patterns of others and I enjoy it. I am hoping to someday, be able to create from my own mind and am working on it with a beading friend from the internet, who is mentoring me, to bring out the creative juices.
Thank you, Jean, for bringing an interesting character and story into my life. I love it! Also, your Frida moment pic is fabulous.
BarbaraE@19 wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 2:30 PM
Jean, tell more about the picture of you, as Frida. Who did it and how was it made? Thanks. Barbara
Merita3 wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 2:37 PM
Hi, I'm new here and new to beading too. I do native american beadwork, and some non native jewellery too and I love the stackable rings. I've not made rings as they normally look too big and a little gauche for my taste, but I'll try these. I have a problem with Nymo, which I use all the time. The thing is with Nymo, you can't tie a knot, it always unties itself. Any suggestions?
Noreen@9 wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 2:53 PM
Wow, you really look like Frida in that picture. I have been fascinated with her since I saw the movie about her life, "Frida" She was totally wild and very gifted. Love her style, its funky and carefree. I have not yet made any beaded rings, but I have some pictures and directions to make them, just haven't gotten around to it yet!
Noreen@9 wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 3:05 PM
For any of those who are interested in finding out more about Frida, the movie about her life is on CD/video at your local video store. It is an excellent movie, I was very intrigued by this movie. She was married and lived with another famous artist, Diego Rivera.
NallaL wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 5:02 PM
For those who might be concerned about the durability of beaded rings I say this: Last year I made myself two simple beaded rings exactly like the stackable rings above. I began wearing them in early September and still have them on - this is wearing them 24/7 for nearly 6 months now and they still look as good as the day I first put them on. I used Fireline 4 lb. test and it shows no sign of wearing out yet.
on Feb 20, 2008 5:35 PM
I too am a great fan of beaded rings, especially since Dustin Wedekind's article using peyote stitch and different size beads. The middle finger of my right hand often has an oversized beaded ring on it which generally attracts quite a lot of comment. Love those rings!
on Feb 20, 2008 5:53 PM
About tying off your beadwork after you've been using Nymo or braided beading thread... After exiting a bead, I make an overhand knot that loops around the thread between beads, then pass through a few more beads to hide the knot. I repeat this as many times as necessary to secure the thread. To trim, I use a thread burner. If you want to be certain your knots won't fall apart, dab them with a little clear nail polish. (Oh, and who knows why I dressed up like Frida?! That picture was taken by my son, who thinks I've gone absolutely over the edge.)
Patchers7 wrote
on Feb 20, 2008 10:06 PM
I love beaded rings, that is mostly what I make. The peyote stitch is not a sturdy enough stitch for rings. The rings I make last for years, even on 5 yr old boys. LOL
Flbeader wrote
on Feb 21, 2008 9:05 PM
I just had the funniest thing happen. I was reading your article and as I was reading I was looking at the picture of "Frieda". I keep thinking of the striking resemblence you had to her. Once I scrolled down to read more, I then read that it was you!!
Roberta in cool Florida
SusanL@127 wrote
on Feb 22, 2008 8:10 AM
Just wondering if there is a good ring guard for silver rings that are a bit too big. It seems impossible to resize them, but a ring liner of some type may work.
SaraJ wrote
on Feb 24, 2008 1:26 AM
If we didn't go over the edge now and then, how would we know where it was?
kayenderes wrote
on Jul 12, 2008 2:41 PM

I would appreciate some patterns to make a few different beaded rings.  Starting with simple to a little more advanced

Please, some one help.........