French beaded flower
with found object

I just love the work of Mario Rivoli, which is distinguished by his incorporation of found objects and especially his visual colour mixing: seed beads, like the dots pointillist painters used in Post-Impressionism, lend themselves to this technique. In fact, with beads, you can take the process a step further, as beads can be transparent, opaque, translucent, reflective (i.e. with lustre or iris coatings), smooth or faceted, or even metallic: in that sense, each petal of a french beaded flower can be a tiny mosaic.

Here are sepals in progress.

To be honest, I don't know that sepals, even on as erratically and messily made flowers as mine, are really that necessary, except perhaps to assure a buyer who can inspect the underside that you actually know what you're doing. At any rate, I used (what I think is) a fun combination technique to make these:

  • start with a wrap around loop;
  • make a second wrap around loop around the first, but twist a loop of about 10 beads at the tip of the sepal, leaving 1/8–1/4" bare twisted wire (that is, make a picot loop at the tip);
  • wrap a third time, wrapping the third loop as for basic frame around the bare twisted wire part of the 2nd wrap-around picot
  • space out approximately 1/4" (about 7 beads) and repeat 4x for a 5 sepal continuous wrap-around variation.

In effect, the extended picot on wrap 2 becomes the frame for a row 3 of a basic frame. Fun, no?

Assembly. 05may2018. As you can see, I'm using inexpensive paddle wire. Also that the petal in the upper right sticks out much further because I misjudged when making the continuous loop.

I had some roadkill—that is, colouristically mixed—seed beads that had been traded...why yes, I do trade people's leftover seed beads for lampwork:)[1] ; but I also have this desire to tidy and use stuff up, and rattier or less ‘good’ it is, generally the greater desire to get it out of the way. Using up roadkill is delightful, then I don't have to sink a lot of time sorting beads before they're ‘useful’. I also have a lot of iris beads and black bugles. Those would make a nice edging, right? On they went. I also tried incorporating some matte iris magatamas drop beads as petal frills, but wasn't that thrilled, so only did that on one or two petals. Because I used a variation of the continuous frame method to make the petals, the petioles were (widely) differing lengths, so I made some nice big sepals to hide that. Definitely a learning process, so this is only one of the more obvious kluges going on.

champagne cork cover (muselet), wire, seed beads, czech iris beads. May 2018

I'm not sure how I acquired the metal wire cork cage from a bottle of champagne[2] , which as it turns out is called a muselet —a muzzle. Those 4 wires mean it would be perfect as a frame for a flower center, so I promptly incorporated it.

I've had all these 4 and 6mm (and other) iris coloured glass beads laying around forever with no idea what to do with them; and the gold centred muselet perfectly brought the whole piece together. Transitioned to gold-colour beads, to gradually increasing iris seed beads, to the czech iris. Yes! Now I have finally emptied out that half-empty bead box, and can put something I use regularly in it, instead of beads that have probably sat for close to two decades, waiting for me to figure something out...[3]

Here's the back side, showing the stem. In keeping with the mixed nature of the design, I used mixed green beads for the stem[4] This is a pretty big flower: I used an 18" long piece of 3/32 mandrel wire for the stem.

Nevertheless, I'm pretty happy with this piece:)

[1]Email me if

[2]I think perhaps my bestie got it for a birthday tea, and f2tE & hir bestie kindly drank the contents, leaving me with the most useful bit...

[3]Of course, now that I've successfully used them, I'd consider (shudder) buying more. This always happens to me!

[4]I like them, but have so many they won't fit into the container.