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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
French Beaded Flowers,
Or, the folk woman's approach to wire-wrapping

Though I don't subscribe to the theory that words absolutely control one's thinking, they certainly influence it. ‘Wire-wrapping’, as a medium, generally refers to the technique of using square and round wires, with cabochons or crystals, that became popular, oh, I don't know, perhaps the 70s or so. The square wires are often twisted for visual sparkle, and most of the guys I saw doing it back when I was on the art fair circuit were just that—men. Oddly enough its greatest practitioner, or at least the person who inspired me, was Mary Lee Hu, whose early work using inexpensive wire and beads (garnets) are still my favorites.

French beaded flowers, on the other hand, are mostly made by women. (And, for the record, its most inspirational [known-by-name] artist is a man, Mario Rivola.) Unlike ‘wire-wrapping’ I never saw french beaded flowers at art fairs. The craft was evidently nearly lost, at least in this country, until one woman, Virginia Nathanson, revived it. We're evidently on the second wave of revivals now.

But both are wire techniques, and I've been struggling, off and on, to incorporate them in my work since at least the early 2000s. (I'm a slow learner). So here are some pieces I've made using this technique.

File created 8apr08 (& finally posted 24apr14.)


notes on an original beaded flower design. 18sep2018


Mixed loopback frame & spoke technique 17sep2018


Tombo, a french beaded dragonfly pin 31jul2018


Some older french beaded flower pieces: lavender. 11dec2023


8/0 french beaded flower in blues 30may2018


My first, large, Mario Rivoli inspired french beaded flower features a muselet center 29may2018


french beaded flowers exploding, as documented on pintrest; dark patterns 06apr2018


French beaded flower in blues 25may2018


This post about 2 french beaded flowers I made as a gift collects together the french-beaded flower (and leaf) pages. 16apr2014


In which I circle back to blue french beaded flowers, and for much the same reasons... 21apr2014


Collects the howtofrenchbead pages. Stub created 05jan10, finally posted 30apr2014


Another french beaded flower featuring my new midrib technique. Originally posted 09feb09. 09feb2009


I made this flower to demonstrate frenched beaded flower construction techniques during my class at Glassact's retreat. Originally posted 05feb09. 05feb2009


French beaded flower class for glassact . Intro'ed 13feb12, though posted 23jan2009


First in a series of my own style of fantasy wire-wrapped and french-beaded flowers. Originally posted 14oct08. 14oct2008


Second in a series of fantasy style french beaded flowers. Originally posted 30sep08. 30sep2008


First wirewrapped/french-beaded leaf incorporating fine red wire . Includes images of 4 other green leaves. 21sep2015


French beaded morning glories , aka spoke technique practice. Originally posted 17may08 17may2008


Margaret and I got together to make a french beaded flower, lavender, together. Originally posted 20may08. 20may2008


In which I make a very large and complicated flower, to use up a lot of beads & get in some practice. Worked like a charm. Originally posted 9may08. 09may2008


This post explores some technical issues in traditional french-beaded flower making. 08may2008


2nd in the series of peach french-beaded flowers, this time featuring a pea flowers . Originally posted 23apr08. 23apr2008


2 peach french-beaded flowers, more or less in the traditional technique . Originally posted 17apr08. 17apr2008


I made an index page for french-beaded flower pages on 8apr2008...finally got around to posting it some 6 years later... 24apr2014


Series of 4 wire and bead leaves using the french-beaded technique as a starting point . Originally posted 8apr08. 08apr2008


Experiment attempting to mix beads and wire using french beaded flower techniques as a basis. 06apr2008


Hodgepodge experimental fantasy flower, originally posted 5apr08. 05apr2008


Oak style leaf made with a variant of the frenched beaded flower technique. 04apr2008


Part II of my heart shaped leaf pattern. 23apr2014