Beaded flowers have been crafted for centuries. The French beaded flower technique is only one of several, and it is not exclusively French, but is believed to have been born in France and in Italy, and was popular throughout Europe for centuries. I recently came upon information regarding the vast production of beaded flowers in Venice during the nineteenth century. In Victorian times, bead flower sprays and wreaths were often used as wall hangings and memorials.
During the 1930’s American families decorated their homes with French beaded flowers imported from Europe, but it wasn’t until the 1960’s that the technique itself became popular. With the publication of instructional books by Virginia Nathanson, Virginia Osterland and others, crafters learned to create French beaded flowers, and the technique flourished through the 1970’s. Patterns found in these books are still used extensively today.
Currently, French beading has enjoyed a resurgence of popularity, and with the availability of new instructional materials and patterns we are seeing lots of interest in learning the technique.
I’ve been excited to find more contemporary designs in these new patterns, with a fresh and whimsical style, and the availability of glass beads in a vast array of colors and textures. What great inspiration – positively makes one’s mind spin with new ideas!