Monday, June 7, 2010

tambour bead embroidery

Last week I drove from Richmond to Lexington, Kentucky to attend the University of Kentucky School of Costume and Design class in tambour bead embroidery, an ancient technique that is almost an extinct art form. Today it is taught almost exclusively at Ecole Lesage in Paris, an haute couture embroidery school that teaches day classes and professional classes in many forms of embroidery, including the above, which was worked with a tambour hook. A tambour hook is a needle sharp, tiny crochet-like hook that is used to work chain stitch on the reverse of the piece (stretched taut in a slate frame), utilizing a glorious array of threads, sequins, beads and fabrics to create dazzling purses, dresses and other garments. The photo above is a bead and sequined flower in progress, worked in such a way that it is three dimensional.

My class piece in progress, above. Black bugle beads, gold and purple sequins, lame and gold seed beads are worked in slow progress with the tiny tambour hook.

Wracked with nerves at first, I have my organza stitched onto and stretched across the frame before calming down to begin the learning process of holding the hook properly (over and over and over again!) so that it does not snag either the delicate fabric or thread as it pierces and loops a chain. Here I have almost all flower outlines complete, day two of the class.

Our utterly charming and incredibly talented instructor, Bob Haven.

The costume design classroom at University of Kentucky School of Fine Arts, hard at work on our projects.

Fine Arts Building where our class was held. Now that my love of this technique is confirmed, I can't wait to become more proficient with the hook, finish my class project and move on to other works of art. Lesage, here I come! (someday....)


SummersStudio said...

Amazingly beautiful.

Gberger said...

That is incredible - to learn a rare art form in this day and age is truly a rare gift! Good for you. I hope it leads to many hours, days, weeks and years of pleasure and creative fulfillment.

stregata said...

So cool to be learning such an old technique! Respect! Hope you share the piece with us when it is further on or even finished!!!

Karen said...

Wow! I love to see someone learning an almost extinct skill--it creates such continuity and brings some of the best of the past to the future. Of course, I personally would settle for just knowing how to make bread from scratch! Your pursuit of this is inspiring and already beautiful.

Stories They Tell said...

I love that people are learning the old techniques, I hate to see them disappear from lack of interest. I find that every new technique I learn simply enriches all the others that I know. Please share the finished piece with us? Bravo to you for attempting this!

Linda-B said...

You would enjoy the movie, "Sequins." It's a French film, but with English subtitles, about a young girl's life journey and apprenticeship in this art.

Jennifer Stumpf said...

Thanks, Linda. Sequins is a movie I saw a few years ago and actually propelled me on this path, I was so captivated by it. :)

Candi said...

Your class piece is absolutely beautiful!
You left me a comment on my blog about how you could acquire the Lauren Sauer Redworke bag kit. I checked into it and it is only available as a class piece so it can not be purchased. Very sorry!

Sarah said...

:) following your FB message mentioning tambour, I googled it to get more information, and was pointed at this blog post :) full circle.

that looks extremely delicate and fiddly - I admire your patience!

Off to look through the rest of your blog to see if there is a photo later on of the finished article...

Glimpse Creations said...

Looks like you are a natural with the tambour hook! I packed up and went to Paris last year to attend Lesage's Professional Couture Beadwork and Embroidery course! Read about my adventures learning how to use the hook and learn all the embroidery stitches!

Fanfan said...

I am French, live near Paris.
I attended embroidery courses at Lesage'School.
I love this embroidery technic.
I am so happy to see that you can learn it into your country.
I'll comme back to see your progression
In France, this technic is called "Lunéville" or "Broderie Haute couture". The first name is because of the city where this technic was invented and the second name because it is the technic used by creators,in fashion.
See you veyr soon.
I hope my English is not so bad that you can understand me ! ! !

Françoise said...


Tambour Bead Embroidery said...

Hi Jennifer, I'm a tambour bead embroiderer for costume and couture and I am delighted that you are enjoying beading. It is a wonderful craft. I've been beading since the early 80's and once you start you never want to stop. We teach tambour beading here in the UK at some college and private classes. I am going to start teaching it soon. Have fun, it's a fabulous skill to have. Jan Timms

Jennifer Stumpf said...

thank you so much. I look forward to your full website and I am quite impressed with your work credentials for costumes! I am leaving next week to study embroidery (luneville) in Paris at Lesage, so things are moving right along. I, too, plan to teach this wonderful art form.