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French General

French General

Art
Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
(53 Reviews)

Kaari Meng began designing jewelry for Bergdorf Goodman after graduating from the jewelry program at FIT in New York City in 1992. In need of a hat pin, Kaari designed a collection of pins and presented them to the jewelry buyer at the monthly open-buy day. The buyer at Bergdorf's bought all of Kaari's designs and requested a full collection of jewelry for their cases. Using vintage glass beads, buttons and notions, Kaari created a unique look that appealed to many who were looking for vintage inspired jewelry. Kaari began designing for Anthropologie when they opened their first store in Philadelphia in 1992. For many years, Kaari enjoyed designing for retail shops, museums and catalogs - all of the jewelry pieces Kaari designed used her vast collection of antique beads found all over the world.

In 1997, the year Kaari's daughter Sofia was born, the business evolved into French General, which began as a retail store on Crosby Street in New York City's Soho district. Filled with apothecary jars brimming with vintage notions, Kaari and her sister Molly began selling a French-inspired lifestyle that included textiles, notions, ephemera, and household items found only in France. In 2003, Kaari and her family moved to Los Angeles and set up French General in an old Spanish style warehouse, on the edge of town and opened up one day a week for people to come in and browse their ever changing collections that they collected on yearly trips to the South of France.

Offering a variety of vintage craft workshops and kits, French General began teaching workshops using their vintage craft materials, including jewelry making, stitching, paper crafts, sewing, shibori, indigo dyeing, and weaving. French General has become a well recognized craft workshop which now features talented teachers from around the world who visit to share their techniques and inspiration.

Over the past ten years, Kaari, and her husband, JZ, have written, photographed and designed six books highlighting all of the elements of the French General lifestyle. Books include: The French Inspired Home, French Inspired Jewelry, Home Sewn, Handmade Soirees, Treasured Notions and A Year of Jewelry.

French General designs quilting fabric and patterns for Moda which are sold in quilting shops around the world. French General also designs scrap booking materials, including paper, notions and dies for Sizzix; as well as a line of home decorating fabric, trim and wallpaper for Fabricut.

And to relax....French General take groups of women to the South of France every summer to live in an 18th century chateau.  For four weeks, four different groups of creative women come and learn to live like rural French women - visiting the flea markets, local villages and artisans. Kaari and JZ draw on their summers in France as inspiration to continue to create the French General lifestyle.

Reviews of French General

(53 Reviews)
Indigo Shibori Workshop

11/19/2018
Mary Jane W.

Attended: Indigo Shibori Workshop


Loved this class. Created some beautiful linens and wish I’d brought more items from home to dye. Everyone in the class actually created beautiful, unique fabrics. French General staff were helpful and it was a well organized event, I’d do it again.

Indigo Shibori Workshop

11/19/2018
Michele P.

Attended: Indigo Shibori Workshop


Fantastic workshop.

Indigo Shibori Workshop

11/19/2018
Anonymous

Attended: Indigo Shibori Workshop


THIS IS NOT FOR PUBLICATION!!! I’m giving the course 3 stars based on instructor and would appreciate some help on your end. Tyn provided the perfect balance of information, humor and “just try it” encouragement. But after I went home and rinsed as directed, my pieces all faded. I’ve dyed fabric for years and this the first time this has happened. I’m super disappointed my work and payment didn’t provide positive results. Can anyone there address this?

Indigo Shibori Workshop

11/19/2018
Melissa H.

Attended: Indigo Shibori Workshop


So much fun. The shop is beautiful, Tyn and John were helpful and funny!

Charm Bracelet Workshop

11/4/2018
Kathleen O.

Attended: Charm Bracelet Workshop


This is the second time I've taken the class and it was just as awesome as the first. I wanted to continue building my skills and confidence plus try a slightly harder design. The teacher and students were all supportive. We worked somewhat independently after the initial demo and instructions, but the teacher was always available for additional questions and help. It's a very comfortable setting with lovely snacks and drinks served as a bonus. I highly recommend it! I was able to finish my bracelet well within class time and everyone who has seen it is impressed with the finished product.

Charm Bracelet Workshop

10/7/2018
Kathleen O.

Attended: Charm Bracelet Workshop


Although I didn't really have any experience making jewelry, I ended up with the most wonderful bracelet! The instructor, Tyn, helped me pick out a kit that was suitable for my skill level and gave very detailed, patient instruction. The setting is wonderful and my classmates were all supportive. I'm very pleased with the result and was able to finish it during class time.

Charm Bracelet Workshop

8/8/2018
Irma V.

Attended: Charm Bracelet Workshop


Class was fun and people were great!

Fall & Winter Eco-Printing Workshop

7/29/2018
Rubina Y.

Attended: Fall & Winter Eco-Printing Workshop


I enjoyed the class very much. Monica is a very nice and knowledgeable instructor. she will send us an email explaining everything again and if we have a question we can email her.

Shaker Basket Weaving Workshop

7/22/2018
Lisa W.

Attended: Shaker Basket Weaving Workshop


This workshop was the most enjoyable thing I've done in as long as I can remember; exciting and relaxing at the same time. The ladies of French General and the instructor were all so kind, welcoming, and helpful. I was amazed that - despite having trouble finishing things on my own - I walked out of the workshop with a beautiful, completely finished basket in just a few hours. I would love to take more local basketweaving workshops, and (without a doubt) more classes/workshops at French General! Thanks, coursehorse, for bringing me this opportunity!

Indigo Shibori Workshop

5/7/2018
Jennifer C.

Attended: Indigo Shibori Workshop


Instructions were easy to follow, kit had great fabrics, instructor was knowledgeable and delightful. I also thought that it was just the right amount of participants. I would love to see an intermediate class where we learn more about the dyes. Will definitely take another class at French General

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