Why not go out on a limb? Isn’t that where the fruit is? ~Frank Scully
One of the best risks I took recently was during the Royal Wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. I was very much in awe of all the eye candy that the royal wedding was embellished with. The entire production was memorizing from the dress to the décor to the flowers to the choreography of every small detail. Of course I was in love with the beautiful English country garden bouquet carried by Kate Middleton, so I duplicated it in silk and French beaded flowers. I knew I had to do something bigger than just display it in my studio, so I researched royal protocol and sent the bouquet to London in hopes of reaching the newlyweds. Success! They accepted my gift, and I now have a thank-you letter on behalf of the Duke and Duchess which arrived from Buckingham Palace with the Queen’s special emblem.
This royal replica retailed in my store afterward for over $1,500 because of the materials used, and more importantly the time it takes to hand make all the details. When I created this piece, I had no idea if it would even reach Buckingham Palace. But you don’t know if you don’t try, right?
Which brings me to my next big mission…
I have recently created a silk and French beaded flower replica of the beautiful wild flower bouquet that Kelly Clarkson carried in her 2013 wedding to Brandon Blackstock.
The bouquet is glamorously rustic with a colourful assortment of field flowers. The sunflowers stand out magnificently against a bevy of lilac and other purple field flower accents.
In my re-creation, I used silk flowers to recreate the lilacs, bluebonnets, purple statice and greens. Then to make it pop, I hand-strung several French beaded sunflowers and light blue field flowers.
Sometimes you can’t beat the beauty of fresh flowers found in nature, but this silk and French beaded recreation is a unique and beautiful keepsake that will last forever.
Perhaps luck will come my way once again and this beautiful hand-crafted bouquet will end up in the hands of the beautiful Kelly Clarkson!
Over the years, I have spent many a late night and ruined many a manicure tirelessly crafting beautiful creations to match the visions in my head. When I look at a metal headband that I’ve hammered by hand, or a bouquet full of hand strung beaded flowers, I appreciate what it took to get there.
I am very proud to offer various collections of bouquets that showcase the art of French beading. These dazzling bouquets make such a statement at a wedding. Though I use elements of silk, the gems accents and French beading put these bouquets above and beyond a fresh floral bouquet.
French Beading done well is hard to find these days, and I think it’s important to know about the process and its history to fully appreciate its place in modern weddings.
A history of French beading
Beadwork has been around as long as ancient Romans, Egyptians and other cultures have been adorning themselves with costumes and formal wear. Throughout history, beads are known to have been made out of anything from glass and stone to bone and ivory.
French beading is a specific technique of beadwork that is classified by stringing beads on to a wire and forming shapes. It is not known exactly when this technique originated, but it is estimated that it happened sometime around the 16th century where the beadwork was found in Venice, throughout continental Europe and the British Isles.
Some of the earliest French beading was created to make use of imperfect beads that we made for other uses. Rather than embroider the beads onto to ball gowns and jackets of the rich, Italian and French peasants would string imperfect beads that didn’t fit over their needles on horsehair or human hair. Once strung, the strands of beads were shaped into flowers and shapes. They were used to decorate church altars and brides on their wedding days. They also become a staple decoration around Easter and Christmas—especially when fresh flowers were not available.
French beaded flowers become a decorative mainstay after World War II. Production of the flowers had advanced after the Industrial Revolution was able to make materials more accessible. Instructional Kits and patterns made their way on to the market and found their way into stores like Marshall Fields and Bloomingdales.
Through French beading today is not commonly sold to the masses, it is still alive and well. The beauty and elegance of French beading is timeless. It is an art form that has grown since its inception, but still stays true to its intricate beginnings.
Just as they did in the 1700s, I string and shape these delicate flowers with tiny beads one at a time. I may not use horse hair and imperfect beads, but I stay true to painstaking process of creating each work of art by hand because nothing else compares to what these finished products look like.
Once you take in the process and history that goes into this magical art form, you understand how special the finished product really is.
I am absolutely delighted to kick-start what will be a weekly blog about all things wedding.
For those of you who don’t know me, I am the Creative Designer and Founder of Stella Mazza Designs in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
I can’t say what design medium I specialize in…I simply want to design anything and everything. Though I’m currently working on hammered metal headpieces, handbags and French beaded heirloom bouquets, my mind is constantly thinking up new creations from body jewelry for trendy brides to statement mirrors for my home.
I look forward to sharing with you my latest collections and products. When you get to know the detail and craftsmanship that goes into a piece, it adds another level of charm. Can you think of anything you cherish because of the thought that went into creating it? My mind often works that way, I see and appreciate beauty through details, like the shapes and lines of shells I collect with my daughter on the beach in Gimli, Manitoba to create new artforms. I love to explore techniques and crafting practices that date back centuries. That’s one of the reasons I’m excited to be blogging—some of them are just too interesting to not share!
I have been in the wedding industry since the age of 18 when I worked as a florist. I also spent over 18 years as the owner/operator of Winnipeg’s coveted “Stella’s Bridal Salon” before selling ownership and venturing into my current career as a accessory designer. The industry is near and dear to me and I keep up-to-date on trends religiously. It’s hard not to when the grandiose weddings we see on TV and read about are growing more accessible through new media. My interests and tastes reflect glamour and trends from around the world while still focusing on the Manitoba bride and Canadian culture.
Through Stell’s Wedding Bells I intend to engage and explore with you the what’s what of emerging bridal fashion and wedding trends. Even if you’re not a current bride-to-be, there is something magical about reliving that special day or dreaming of the day-to-come as we imagine ourselves in the strappy stilettos of each season’s modern brides.
Be sure to check in regularly, as next week we will explore the history and art form of French-beading.