Betina Clark got tired of watching her musician boyfriend toss out used guitar strings. There must, she thought, be something she could do with them to save them from the trash.

Clark, a jeweler who lives in Portland, thought back to when she was little and made bracelets out of her father’s colored electrical wire. “To this day, I still wear the first bracelet I ever made,” she said.

So she started experimenting and now her business, Stringin’ Along with ME, is based on jewelry made out of recycled guitar strings. She’s expanded from the guitar and also uses strings from cellos, the bass, violins and fiddles. All of her pieces have a hand-forged or hammered aspect to them, she said, “and I keep the integrity of the string as part of the design element.”

She gets the strings from a variety of sources, including musicians themselves. Some give her their used strings so they can sell the jewelry as keepsakes to fans. Clark also attends music festivals, including the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island, and gathers strings there. Customers who have bought her pieces in the past save up their strings to bring to her.

“I just had a customer bring me a can of neatly wound guitar strings and a box of bass strings that he had been saving,” Clark said. “And every so often I’ll get a bundle of strings in the mail from someone who saw me or picked up my card.”

Her favorite pieces are memorial pieces commissioned by grieving families. One woman ordered a set of bracelets for her daughters, made from their late father’s old guitar strings. Another woman did something similar for her daughter, and then called back to say her late husband’s mother wanted one, too.


“Those are the biggest honor to do,” she said, “because of what they mean to people.”

She makes bracelets ($20), earrings ($20-40) and pendants ($30-50), and says the earrings sell the best. And she sells more of the jewelry to non-musicians than to musicians.

Clark often works as a street vendor during First Friday Art Walks, but she is also has a booth at Portland Flea-For-All every Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. You can also find her designs at Lisa-Marie’s Made in Maine in Portland and Bath, and at One Lupine Fiber Arts in Bangor. Clark shows her new pieces on Instagram (@silversun65) first.

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