Saturday, July 30, 2011

La vie en Rose

 My French Flower

My obsession with flowers continues to bloom!

I can now create beautiful silk flowers in the age-old technique of French flower making, thanks to my class yesterday with milliner artist  Jan Wutkowski

Jan flew all the way out from North Carolina to teach
French Flower Making at
 Lacis Museum of Lace and Textiles in Berkeley, California. 

 I always thought I would have to travel to  London or Australia to learn the secrets of traditional French flower making.  Thanks to Lacis and Jan's class, I now have the tools and secrets to create beautiful silk flowers in the French tradition. 

 French Flower Making
with Jan Wutkowski

Jan is an American milliner who trained at the Melbourne School of Millinery in 1995.  She has been designing and making hats since 1996.  Today she is not only is a milliner and teacher but also owns A Muse in Wilmington, North Carolina. 

Over lunch with Jan, I had the chance to get to know Jan the designer.  I was rather curious where her love for hats began and interestingly enough it began with her love for vintage jewelry.  Well, that makes perfect sense...vintage jewelry, hats, gloves all from other glamorous eras.   I loved hearing her stories about her brides and the one-of-a-kind hats she creates for the them. 

Of course, I couldn't wait to ask Jan if hats and fascinators are more popular today due to the Royal Wedding.  Jan quickly told me that fascinators can be many different things in millinery and they have been around a long time.  Yes, the Royal Wedding has made millinery more popular here in America but Jan is always busy with her clientele.  She not only designs beautiful bridal millinery but keeps very busy with her "Kentucky Derby ladies".

As a designer, Jan spends her calender year with the first half creating beautiful hats during the busy bridal, garden and Derby season.  The second half of the year, she travels around the country (and the world) as a milliner teacher

My Silk Fabrics

The French Flower Making class began with a nice introduction from Jan.  Next Jan asked us to introduce ourselves and talk about our interest with flower making.  It was so neat to hear every ones story.  Most students were from the Bay Area.  A few, like me, travelled a few hours for the class and one young lady came all way from Mexico!  Most of the students were involved in millinery and fashion and some students just loved hats.

For me, I am not quite sure where this path will lead me.  I am somewhat interested in trying to combine the flowers with my knitting.  Then again, I love hats and vintage so I might just end up embellishing hats and making brooches.

 French Flowers

To create our flowers, Jan taught us the process in the traditional French method using heat tools. 

 The first step was preparing our fabrics and then letting them dry during our lunch break.  After lunch we cut flower petals for creating beautiful roses.  Next we learned how to use our heat tools and shape our petals.  By the end of the day, Jan showed us how to assemble our flowers and everyone finished the class with a beautiful rose!

Jan had told us early on in the day, that even though we all started out with the same pattern and instructions, each of our flowers would be unique.  She was so right.  I was so amazed at every ones fabric combinations and their beautiful results. 


I had so much fun taking this class. 

Thank you to Jules Kliot, the owner of Lacis for bringing Jan out to the west coast and for all your amazing supplies and resources! 

 Lacis has wonderful supplies for knitters, too.  I was so thrilled to find two handbag purse handles I've been searching for (even in England) and a hard to find Japanese crochet book.  Of course, I also came home with flower making books and supplies, too!

Lastly, Merci to Jan for sharing her knowledge of
French Flower Making
and for helping keep the craft alive!


Ruth said...

It is beautiful. I am impresed. Yea you!

Voie de Vie said...

Ah well done! Your blue flower is tres chic.

Also, Lacis is great for purse frames - an amazing selection, really.

Teresap said...

Perfection - as always Lisette!

Sarah said...

That is a wonderful craft to learn and your flower came out beautifully! I look forward to seeing more!