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Auburn Gallery of Fine Art

History

Marry Denne

The delicate art of beading flowers has been practiced across Europe as far back as the 1500's. Peasants would gather up inferior a irregular, discarded beads designed for clergy robes, string them and fashion them into flowers to be made into bouquets and wreaths for ceremonial purposes as well as to sell.

The French beaded flower as it came to be known, have been widely collected for years. Many examples can be found in museums and private collections world wide. Some of the notable collectors of the delicate art have included Marie Antoinette, Madame Pompadour, Napoleons' Josephine,Princess Grace, Princess Caroline, Patricia Nixon, William Randolph Hearst and More recently, Martha Stewart.

The first mention of the French Beaded Flower appearing on North American soil is found as far back as 1865 in Godeys Ladies Book with a pattern that was suggested could be used as a hair adornment. In the 1930s and 40s woman were practicing flower making as a main stream craft but it wasnt until 1965 that what is quite likely the first book of patterns was published.

For many years the craft had slipped into obscurity until a resurgence of interest in the art was renewed by the internet. New patterns and publications are readily available on line however the skill set involved and the tedious nature of the work remain firmly in the hands of the true artisan.

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