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Beadwork artist Valerie Tournie

How would I describe my beading passion by words that could help you understand how much it's important for me?

I think I would say first, it comes from years ago, when I was a child. I was playing in a garden when I saw little touches of color on the green grass and wondered: "What is that?" I picked up a few colored bubbles; they were seed beads. These tiny things looked like a rainbow on the grass, and I thought about The Wizard of Oz. I believe the seed beads came from an old, broken 70's-style necklace. I asked if I could keep them, collected the beads and put them into a little box. I held the box with the seed beads in my hands, and I felt that I'd gotten a whole little world in my hands.

Crystal and seed bead jewelry by Valerie Tournie
click to see gallery

When I was a teenager of about 14 years, I discovered Brazilian bracelets that looked like macrame. I felt that it would be possible to create such jewelry using seed beads weaving, but this technique was unknown in France in the late 80's. I remembered those seed beads from my childhood, pulled them out and first I tried to make a few simple rings in that style. I did further research and found one of the first fashion collections of Christian Lacroix, a great French fashion designer.

Christian Lacroix created a complete range of old vintage-looking jewelry, inspired by Provence and South East French culture. That was exactly what I wanted to make, but using beads, not metals. His jewelry amazed me; his fashion design and clothing, choice of fabrics and colors are still my favorite. My dream was to make romantic jewels as in fairy tales, or close to Christian Lacroix's style. At that time I didn't know anything about beading techniques, so I put aside my work, keeping in my mind all those beautiful designs.

Crystal and seed bead jewelry by Valerie Tournie
click to enlarge

Actually, I first tried beading at the end of 2005, when I got a computer and the Internet. I found beaders' forums and my new friends helped me find books and bead suppliers. Looking at the stunning work of some bead artists I was thinking, "How could I do anything like that?" At the end of 2006 I was looking for a fine earrings pattern, and I happened to find beading techniques with Delicas (cylinder Japanese beads). I understood that it was the technique of my dreams, what I had been looking for for many years. I bought a book by a well known French beaded jewelry designer, Marie Le Sueur, who first applied this technique of beadweaving when making lace with beads and beading around cabochons.

Another book by a French bead artist, Marie Geraud, allowed me to understand the complexity of the mix matte and shimmering colors. I took so much knowledge from these two books, that I felt I could start to create my own designs and patterns. I have tried a new way of beading a bale continuously to the main center of the piece, and I found a new way to pass the cord that gives a "baroque" style to my pendant pieces. I think it's my beadwork signature that you can see on jewelry in my gallery here and in my blog

Crystal and seed bead jewelry by Valerie Tournie
click to see gallery

I've got two free projects in my blog: an earrings pattern called "Inca" and another one called "Fleur". You may find them in the blog under title "Faire des Luzioles", that means "Doing some Luzioles". "Luziole(s)" is the global name given to my creations. This name comes from Luz, my nickname, and the French noun "luciole", that means fire-fly or glow-worm. "Luz" also means "light" in Spanish. Besides, there is a little river in France, close to the Pyrenees Mountains on the border of France and Spain, where I live. "Lucioles" became "Luzioles", because my jewels are lightening in the dark!

Now I'm building a business project based on my beading passion. I'd like to sell patterns in both French and English languages on a website by sending them to my customers by mail or by email (PDF files). Maybe some kits with special beads and with my touch of mixing colors would be sold, too. I'm planning to teach people who want to learn beadweaving techniques, and also to make some jewelry on commission. I hope this business venture will begin around October, 2008.

I still don't know where my beading passion will lead me, the only thing I know for sure is that I will be always going that way because I need it, like I need the air I breathe, or the water I drink, because that's my life!

My gallery on

About author:

Valerie Tournie, France

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