Wednesday, August 3, 2011

French Flowermaking in California--Lacis in Berkeley

This past weekend I taught for the first time at an amazing place called Lacis, in Berkeley, California. I have been buying from them for years but had NO idea what a treasure the actual brick and mortar shop is. If you are ever in the San Francisco Bay area, you must make your way to this special place. They are totally dedicated to preserving many ways of creating and embellishing laces and textiles. Want a class in corset making, tambour lace, hairwork, ribbon cockades? This is your place. And there is a museum attached to the shop as well. And the books! I could go on and on, but you get my drift. GO there!

I taught two one-day classes there--French Flowermaking: Roses, and French Flowermaking: Orchids. Below are pictures of the processes the class went through to get their flowers.

Link Vanessa came all the way from Yucatan, Mexico to take the class. Here she is hanging some of the many pieces of fabric the class sized in order to make the roses and orchids.

Did I mention lots of fabric? So much that the clothesline wouldn't hold them all and we had to use the fence! They actually were very pretty flapping in the cool San Francisco breeze.

Using a supplied rose pattern, the class then cut out the different petal shapes and sizes and kept them in neat stacks...a time saver during the pressing and assembly.

And here we see the beginning assembly of the flowers. You can use all the same color or fabric for a particular rose, or mix and match colors and even textures.

Here's an example of a flower that will incorporate different colors and textures of fabrics--sheers and opaques, all in silk.
Kalico with her big beautiful rose! See how she's used different colors and patterns too? Nice

Doreen's rose incorporated multi-colors and textures too. Her flower was very crisp. Everyone starts with the same pattern but due to different fabrics, how much they are sized and shaped, and even how they are assembled makes a difference in final product.

Again, different sizes and shapes. And all beautiful!!

A shot of most of the flowers from the Rose class. We had 13 in the class!

Close-up of a few roses.

And another close-up.

And then the next day we had a separate class, of 11 folks, on making orchids. There are lots of different orchids but I chose the cymbidium orchid for the class to make.

Petals are cut, ironed and ready to be wired.

Joan wires her petal pieces before assembly.

Vanessa chose to use a black velvet overlayed with a vintage lace she purchased from Lacis.

Wired and ready to assemble. Don't you love how she's combined these fabrics?

And here's the final product all shaped, wired and assembled. Beautiful!

Leonard's cashmere felt (he's a felter) and cotton velveteen pieces for his orchid. Interesting combination and it turned out so nice! As long as the fibers are natural you can use anything to make a flower in the methods we used...even cashmere felt!

Leonard's orchid...of cotton velveteen and cashmere felt (the light blue). Gorgeous!

Ingrid, ME, and Doreen. Love the orchids in your hair, ladies!

I stayed in a fabulous bed and breakfast about 6 blocks from Lacis, in Berkeley. I'm only showing you this because, well, it was a great place to stay...AND it was called The Rose Garden Inn! How appropriate for a weekend of flowermaking!

We can't possibly compete with Mother Nature! She knows how to make a rose or two. This rose was almost the size of a dinner plate!!!

As was this one. Just spectacular. Something to aspire to, wouldn't you say?

Thanks, class...and Lacis, for making this a great time in California. Can't wait to get back next year for some millinery classes at Lacis! Stay tuned and thanks for reading.