In my last post I shared pictures of a custom Orchid plant that I made and mentioned that I was going to be publishing the pattern soon. I finally got it up! It took longer than I anticipated. It's 22 pages long and has 96 pictures. That's a lot of pictures and pages for a single pattern. In fact, my book, Christmas Collection, was 111 pages and had somewhere around 450 pictures. So, this one pattern is close to 1/5th of my book in length. But it also took longer because I had to remake one of the larger petals for better close-up pictures... and there are eight colors you guys. That's not easy to do. And I was already "done". You know that feeling? When you finish something, and you're done and you close this box in your brain where that project was, but then you have to reopen it and make it again... it's not my favorite thing. So I had to kind of pump myself up for it.
Okay, details. The flowers are around 3.5 inches (8.9 cm) wide. The plant itself is approximately 18 inches (45.7 cm) tall - not including the pot. The pattern is set up so the blue shading in the example is optional. That type of shading in the blue one is very complex. I wish I could give exact bead counts, but there's too many variables that will change how many beads you use that it's just not possible to do that and get good results. For one, beads aren't always the same size. Even if they are all 11/0, beads made by different manufacturers, and even different lots from the same manufacturer, may be slightly different in size. Secondly, French Beading isn't like bead weaving, where if you do the stitch correctly it will look exactly like the pattern. Each artist has their own "technique", or uses a different tension on the wire that can affect the size, shape, and look of the finished pieces. It also affects how many beads and how much wire is used. This is why I always recommend that you purchase extra materials for your project. It's also why you should cut extra wire. If a pattern tells you to cut a 12" length of wire... well you might use 14 inches, or 11 inches... French Beading is not an exact art form. So unfortunately, giving exact bead counts just won't work well and will cause more frustration. However, in the back of the pattern I have a special section with what I hope will be helpful notes about how I accomplished that type of shading. There are close up pictures of the petals, as well as pictures of the beads I used.
You'll also find that each petal in the pattern is made in pure white. I've done this to help you plan your own shading patterns. Caren Cohen taught me a wonderful way to plan shading patterns. Make the petal once in a single color, then scan it on your copier, print it out and color it. Now, this also won't give you exact bead counts for your second petal, but it can help you get a good idea, and help you decide if you actually like your shading pattern before you make it out of beads. So, you can print those pages from the pattern and color them.
So, for anyone wanting a copy of this pattern, it is available in my Pattern Shop!
Alrighty, so, I did something else this week that was completely unplanned. While I was pumping myself up to remake a petal for pictures, I decided to go ahead and make a completely different tutorial. This is a free one, because it's just a simple variation of Continuous Loops that I used to make a French Beaded Bezel around a stone that didn't have a hole so I could use it for a flower center. This is an idea that sprouted in my brain several years ago, and thanks to my One-A-Day project, I finally had a chance to test it.
I did put the tutorial in PDF format, though, because I find that all the pictures from my blog get lifted and posted elsewhere.
Download your free copy here. The PDF just teaches the flower center, not the full flower. It's intended more to teach an idea that you can alter as needed for whatever type of stone you're bezeling, though it will teach you exactly how to make a beaded bezel around a 12mm Swarovski Rivoli. :) Enjoy!
Okay, I realized after typing the above paragraph that I haven't updated here about my One-A-Day project since... February... (yikes!) so here's a picture dump to get me caught up!
And now I am on to pink flowers for July! After that I will still have 5 months worth of work to do... so I'm going back around the colors to make leaves and whatever else I need to fill in areas and whatnot. It's already around 18 inches wide, so I imagine it will get a little bit bigger. It's just going to be a huge color wheel wreath, that's for sure.
So I've been doing lots of fun stuff for this project, so I will be pulling some of these flowers out to show you some weird ways to use or embellish French Beading techniques. But that will be in other blog posts because this one is already way too long.
As for what I'm doing next... well I'm doing secret Spring Collection work... and I'm doing more work for my relaunch (on my new website) that will hopefully be happening in a few months. I've got a really great "something" that I'm working on for that and I can't wait to show you!
Happy Beading everyone!
I promised you guys a video demonstration of Scallops, and I've finally managed to get a semi-decent one made. Yay!
Making videos is something I've wanted to do for a long time, but it's a difficult thing for me to do. I'm pretty shy, and public speaking is pretty far outside my comfort zone. I'm known to break out in hives, or forget how to speak altogether (no, dear church congregation, I'm not speaking in tongues, just having a panic attack). My husband has been laughing at me (in a nice, supportive way of course) as I walked around the house rehearsing what I was going to say in this video, and even miming the hand movements. The first day of recording was a complete disaster. I was so nervous my hands were shaking through the whole thing, but it got easier and easier. Though beading through a camera lens is actually hard, and I had to practice beading and talking at the same time because it turns out I don't naturally have that kind of coordination... I had to keep pulling the leaf off to the side or up close to my face so I could actually see what I was doing. And then there's the issue of getting my camera to stay focused. So, I've done the best I can and I hope that the video will help someone. This was not an easy project for me, but now seeing it finished is a personal triumph. That's what art does for the artist. It helps us grow, sometimes in ways we don't expect. When I started making French Beaded Flowers about six years ago, I certainly didn't think that I'd end up making videos (or even patterns and tutorials at all, for that matter) to help teach people about this beautiful art.
Blah, blah, blah. Enough of that. After much self-inflicted torture, I am pleased to present my very first video tutorial in which I demonstrate the French Beading technique called Scallops.
I have just set up a YouTube Channel, and so far this is the only video there. I probably won't be able to add more tutorial videos until next year, since I'm working with all my might to get my first book published near the end of November, and then we are getting into the busy holiday season. So, we'll see what my schedule looks like after that. But I am definitely doing more. Some will be part of my Technique Guide series, and others will be projects as well. :)
Alrighty, so there are the basics of Scalloping. Let's continue on and talk a little bit more about this wonderful technique. I'll show a couple of fancier ways to use Scallops, and talk about bead counts.
I've just shown how to make single Scallops, and now that you know the basics, you can apply the same methods to make stacked scallops and tipped (or winged) scallops.
Let's start with stacking. Stacking scallops refers to building scallops on top of each other to make thicker, larger scallops. To do this, first make the base scallops on each side of your leaf/petal (Figure 1).
Then go back to the first side and add your next scallop at least one bead above the top of the base scallop. (Figure 2)
Wrap back down to the Bottom Wire, and repeat on the opposite side of your leaf. (Figure 3)
In Figure 4, I've completed the leaf by adding a second set of stacked scallops, setting the base scallops on both sides of the leaf before going back and adding the second scallop over the top.
You can stack as many scallops as you want, however, because all of the scallops are set into the same outer row, you will need to either burst a few beads in that outer row (very carefully with a set of pliers), or preferably, plan ahead and short yourself a few beads on that outer row to make room in the row for the extra wires that will need to go between beads. (Figure 5) If you don't leave this space, your row will bow outward (it will still bow outward a little even with the space, but it is greatly reduced when you short yourself a few beads), and eventually you will just run out of space and won't be able to get your wire between beads to set the scallops.
If you get a little fancier with stacking scallops, you can use scallops to create really interesting texture on a leaf by bouncing back and forth. Let me show you what I mean by "bouncing back and forth". In Figure 6 I've got a single scallop made on the side of my leaf.
*Notice that I've shorted myself two beads at the bottom of the first scallop row. Keep this extra space at the bottom of the leaf.
Now wrapping back down, instead of wrapping at the Bottom Wire, we will set another scallop further down that outer row. (Figure 7)
Then, bounce back up and set a scallop below the first. And back down to set a scallop below the first lower scallop. (Figure 8)
Repeat this bouncing back and forth as many times as you need to reach the Bottom Wire. (Figure 9)
After which we wrap around the Bottom Wire and repeat the entire process on the opposite side of the leaf. (Figure 10)
Winged (or tipped) Scallops
Now let's give our scallops some wings. (The effect is very similar to the shape a Loop Back would make, but you don't need as many lacing wires.)
First, I've set my scallop. (Figure 11)
Next, add more beads to my wire, but instead of wrapping straight down, we will use our thumbs to pinch a little "wing" into the tip of our scallop. (Figure 12)
And we continue on as usual with our scallops, the only difference being the pinched tip. (Figure 13)
I'm going to go ahead and admit that I dislike bead counts, but unfortunately they are kind of necessary for patterns that use Scallops. Why do I dislike them? Because all size 11/0 seed beads are not actually the same size. Some brands are taller and some are shorter, and some types are just very irregular in size and shape (which is just a whole other mess), and this difference in bead lengths can affect bead counts and alter the finished shape of your petal. When you're only making a few scallops on each petal, this size difference in beads probably won't distort your shape, or if it does, may not be a big enough deal to need fixing. But when you're working with petals with lots of scallops, those tiny differences can add up with each scallop and the shape will be more prone to changing from the original.
Basically, take the counts with a grain of salt, and pay close attention to the shape of the leaf/petal in the pattern, making adjustments to the bead counts as needed.
One new idea that I've had to help the patterns be more accurate is to make the pictures in my patterns life-sized, so when the pattern is viewed at 100% size, you can lay your leaf/petal down on top of the picture to help measure out the scallop placements (Though I still include bead counts on the picture if they are needed). I've only done this in my recently published Ball Dahlia pattern so far. I'm not sure if this was helpful to anyone or not, but I do plan on continuing to do this whenever possible.
And there we have French Beaded Scallops!
Hello everyone! I am Lauren Harpster, the designer behind Lauren's Creations. I am a 28 year old wife, and a mother to three adorable little kids. I've been making French Beaded Flowers for six years now, and teaching French Beading through my website for about four years. I hope you'll join me on my blog so you, too, can Learn the Art of French Beading.
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