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Gerbera Flowers by Alena Bashkatova
beaded gerbera tut

Man has always tried to keep alive the beauty of a flower through a variety of available materials. Creating flowers using beads and wire, which originated in ancient times among the French peasants (so the beginning of this craft has not been documented), takes its exceptional place because beaded flowers are truly lovely bubbly! For a long time, knowledge about this art handed down orally from generation to generation, it is known that this type of beading was developed in other European countries: England, Italy.

In the 19th century, adorning clothes with beads and beaded accessories were widespread among nobility, and the remnants of beads were often used by female workers to make three-dimensional flowers for their rooms and church altars decoration. Around the same time glass beads were used for weaving funeral wreaths. The reason was simple: fresh flowers are not available all year round, they could stay live for only a short time, and the flowers of beads in all its beauty were often even cheaper. The story that is directly related to this came from France.

Drome department map
click to enlarge

Valentina Koutia lives in the small town of Die, which is located on the southeastern France, in the heart of the Drome department, in the lower Alps (from Die to Paris 629 miles, about 6 and a half hours away by car). Museum worker, she has an interesting blog "Looking at the world through the prism of Die" (in French and in Russian), which philosophy is international cultural cooperation.

Valentina says, "Learning the local regional attractions, I found out an interesting information: in the interwar years (between World War I and World War II) there was a very popular workshop owned by Beausoleil family, where funeral wreaths were made from glass beads and wire, and beads were manufactured in the same studio. Making one wreath took a long time, but they enjoyed the incredible demand, their articles were used not only in the city of Die but sold nearly in all France.

Funeral beaded wreaths and flowers
click to see pics

The highest peak of popularity of this workshop comes at the end of 40th - early 50s. And, as it often happens, the studio has ceased to exist with the death of the last of the Beausoleil family (Beausoleil can be translated as "Beautiful Sun").

The quality of the material was so good that after many decades beaded wreaths remained as bright as in the first days - no rain, no sun, no wind could spoil them. But "hippie days" came with its beaded trinkets fashion and... beaded wreaths began to disappear rapidly. In the Die cemetery, for example, there is no one of such a wreath. I was told that they could still be found in the neighboring city of Chatillon in the Protestant cemetery, and there I found them."

Today, beaded flowers are used as hair ornaments and in jewelry making, they can become an interesting complement to modern interiors. Manufacturing beaded funeral wreaths in memory of the dead has not disappeared and this craft is still important, however, to meet these wreaths can be extremely rare.

Pictures of funeral beaded wreaths and flowers

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