Caroline French, Bead Loom Artist
Bead Loom weaving seems, to me, to be growing in popularity. So, if you’re already a fan, you’re going to love this interview with leading British bead loom weaver, Caroline French. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then don’t worry… Just check out the Techniques section on My World of Beads. Caroline is also bringing you a blog series to help you get started with this beautiful branch of beading.
Caroline French lives on the beautiful South Coast of England and, to those who know her best, she is also known as ‘Chimpy’! So, without further ado, let’s chat to Caroline…
How did you get started in beading?
I went to a friend’s jewellery party and the lady there had made everything she was selling. I was totally fascinated by all the designs and bought some of her pieces.
Then, as soon as I got home I went on the internet and ordered a starter kit for stringing beads. After that, I discovered seed beads and was completely hooked. So, that was about 12 years ago, and now I cannot imagine my life without beads.
Did you have any formal training?
Not at, all I am entirely self-taught from the internet and from experimenting.
Is beading now your full-time career, or is it still a hobby?
It is still a hobby as I work part time.
What are your favourite techniques?
Bead loom weaving is at the top of the list, but I also love peyote stitch. I struggle with cubic right angle weave, but I’m working on this.
How would you describe your style?
Hmm that is a hard one. I tend to go for what I would call clean and classic designs. Although I like designs that are ‘frilly’ or quite ‘dramatic’, they are not really my style. I do, however, like to be a bit ‘quirky’ at times too.
Who, or what, inspires your work?
I don’t know what influences me really. So, I just go with the flow and see what happens. I have made a dance series using my Bead loom that was inspired by the artist Ty Wilson. But other than that, I just ‘wing it’
Do you have a favourite piece of work?
That is easy, I used my bead loom to make a portrait of my son playing his guitar.
What is your beading space like?
Organised! I don’t do messy beading. Ask anyone that knows me.
Has your work been published anywhere?
Yes in the Beadworkers Guild magazine, Bead and Jewellery magazine. I have also had an E-book published, called ‘Modern Bead Loom Weaving’.
Do you sell your work?
I sell tutorials via my Etsy shop but not finished pieces at the moment. I have in the past but just don’t have the time at the moment.
Do you do other forms of craft as well?
OMG yes! You should see my craft storage area, I could probably open my own shop!
Do you have any advice for people wanting to create their own designs?
Just go for it. If you mess up, unpick it and start again. You learn so much from making mistakes that everyone should try it.
Do you have any tips for people who want to sell their work?
Be confident about your brand and give it a try. If you don’t try you will never know.
How to find out more about Caroline French
I think that’s wise advice on which to end! So, I want to say a big thank you to Caroline for agreeing to do this interview.
Now, if this has piqued your interest, she has some wonderful tutorials for sale in her Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/TheCraftyChimp
Then, you can also find her on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheCraftyChimp
And of course, don’t forget to check out the Bead Loom Weaving section here on My World of Beads.