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the various and sundry creations of sylvus tarn
Howto French Bead Index
well, this never took off...

I know what I was thinking, when I created this page (or at least, thought of creating this page[1] ): that french beaded techniques were woefully documented on the web. I mean, you can find basic tuts, now, on how to do kumi, or glass beadmaking, or embroidery, but I couldn't find online free howtos on even how to do a basic loop, or explain what a frame was, or anything. —So I figured, some day, I'd document the basics.

fake in progress. I hauled all this stuff out, took a picture...aaaaand put it away again. I really have been kinda out of it, the past coupla weeks.

I mean, this stuff is simple, right? String beads on a wire, using a beadspinner if they're not already prestrung, then wind ’em round and round, or form the wires into loops.

That's it.

That's the entire basis of the technique, and though it can get quite involved, the initial projects are not particularly difficult to understand or do. So, um, why did it take me three tries to get this stuff down...? I don't recall, precisely, my first real attempts at this technique, but I do have a vivid memory of giving it another go-round with the purchase of Arlene Baker's book in 02, when she came & lectured to the GLBG. I have a 1st edition of Helen McCall's 1993 French Beaded Flowers I: A guide for beginners, which had some (to me) rather uninspiring projects, that I almost certainly picked up at a GLBG bazaar. This book—really a high class stapled pamphlet, with admittedly good photography, surprisingly high production values and quite decent instructions is likely my first encounter with documentation of the technique.

Which just goes to show, I generally need both technique and a good gallery[2] to see the possibilities, which doesn't exactly argue for the quality of my imagination. In any event, as the pages here show, it was at least as late as 2006 before I had any real understanding, and stuff finally started taking off in 08. That's a looooong time to learn something seemingly so simple. One other comment: see that little white petal/leaf thingie just to the right of the beadspinner, in the lower left of the image? It's made with floral wire. Floral wire rusts, so it's denigrated by many modern french-beaded flower-makers, but lemme tell you, it is much, much stiffer than the copper wire. —Just sayin’.

Okay. Here, without further ado, is my pitiful collection of french-beaded flower howto pages.


notes on an original beaded flower design. 18sep2018


Tombo, a french beaded dragonfly pin 31jul2018


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


I created a heart-shaped leaf pattern for the french beaded flower maker. Started in mid-may of 2008...finished 20may2008


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


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


includes a lot of french beading & related links. 31mar2008


Part II of my heart shaped leaf pattern. 23apr2014


Roundup of a buncha craft book recces (originally to my local library) in frenchbeaded flowers, metalworking, and most notably, of Candice Crockett's excellent Cardweaving. 22aug2015


[1]2010 seems a bit recent for this thinking, but mebbe not...

[2]In this case, a splendid french beaded chandelier in Baker.