Saturday, October 11, 2008

The Fine Art of Hand Beading Fortuny Fabric

Nearly 20 years ago, I started to hand bead fabric. My first attempt was on a panel of African Mud Cloth. I selected sienna colored glass seed beads and stitched every one myself. The effect was at once primitive and lush and wonderfully decorative. I now don’t remember who purchased that first pillow, but I do remember about the next pair.

Fortuny fabric was my next attempt. I had some left over pieces of some brown and gold Corone that was used on a project, and found some wonderful bronze beads that accented the surface beautifully. These two pillows were heavily beaded with both seed and 3-cut beads if I remember correctly and may have even had some bugle beads, too. My partner at the time, Steve Luxenberg and I took them to a place we thought they should be: Therien on La Cienega here in West Hollywood. After a very short time and the interior designer Leonard Stanley purchased them. We were told he bought them for himself, which is a real compliment.

Pictured is a detail of a beautiful pair of rust and gold Fortuny pillows with bronze beads and gold lined crystal beads. Steve used to say, "beading Fortuny is like gilding a lily." He was right, but sometimes gilding can make such a lovely difference! Every now and then there is that combination of materials and technique that just feels so correct, and I think this is one of them. I hope you agree.

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