Most of my life I’ve enjoyed some form of crafting, but it was not until late in life that I discovered I could be creative. I’d always had a need to be doing handwork, and after years of needle crafts and the occasional art project for fun, I spontaneously signed up for a class in stained glass. I loved it! I worked at it constantly, and then one day I learned to work with glass in a kiln. I was lost to a passion for firing glass. Five years later, though, I sold my home and studio and began a search for a new avenue for all this creativity.
With the discovery of French beaded flowers and Ganutell, I’ve rekindled the same passion for creativity that I had for art glass. While somewhat similar in that they both use a process of wrapping around a central wire, the resulting flowers are quite different. French beading of flowers is a craft from early Victorian times wherein glass beads strung on wire are used to sculpt the flowers, which can be quite large. There are a few good books available on the subject, and with patience and a lot of practice, it is indeed possible to learn to make these flowers well. They are quite lovely, with their colorful, glittering glass beads, and striking in their presence.
Ganutell is the creation of flowers from a prepared thread … a thin strand of wire and floss spun together. The completed flowers are quite small and delicate, and often include beads and wire embellishments. The craft comes from the Isle of Malta, where Ganutell flowers grace many churches, and are used as wedding favors, headdresses, etc. There is very little information available on learning this craft, and one must be dedicated to the search for instruction and supplies, and devoted to the practice needed to become proficient in the art. The resulting flowers, however, are well worth the time and effort involved.
Although largely self-taught, I’ve been blessed to receive wonderful mentoring from experts in French beading and Ganutell, and continue to strive to perfect my skills. Certainly both these crafts provide tremendous opportunity to be creative with shape, color and texture. One of my great pleasures is to hear from someone who has purchased my work or been gifted with something I’ve created, telling me that it’s made them happy.
Currently my completed work is sold through Art Things, a retail gallery in Dallas, Georgia, and the Paulding Fine Arts Association Gallery, and I am a member of the South Cobb Arts Alliance and the NC Arts League.
Connect with me on Google+ at – +Sharon Foster –