The Art Of Tambour Hand Beading
Bo & Luca’s Creative Director, Shannon Pittman, first fell in love with the artistry of hand embroidery while traveling to India in her early 20’s. It is in India that Shannon witnessed firsthand, the rich culture and intricate artisanal work this beautiful country has to offer so it is not hard to correlate the story of traditional hand beaded with Bo & Luca’s intricately adorned designs.
Bo & Luca’s pieces are hand-beaded at our quiet atelier in India, where each bead is hand placed on the finest silk by local master craftsmen over roughly, a three-month period. Traditional artisanal skills, fine silk textiles, and most importantly, the art of tambour are all prominent features in creating the label’s signature luxurious aesthetic.
So what exactly makes tambour different from other embroidery techniques?
Unlike conventional embroidery, tambour does not require a needle. Instead, tambour is based on the principle of applying beads to fabric using a specialized hook.
At the very heart of each Bo & Luca design is the hand-dying process of the silk fabrications used in our designs. Each gown’s fabric and beads are dyed individually to minimize fabric waste. This process makes each gown truly unique. Once the fabric has been dyed it gets stretched onto a framed ‘bed’ of sorts so that the pattern of the gown can be chalked on for the beading process to start – this is where the true artistry begins.
Each bead is hand attached using an aari needle that secures beads with a chain stitch. Over many days our unique floral design starts to take shape and the end product is always absolutely magnificent and one-of-a-kind!
We continually work with our artisans on creating the botanical artwork for each gown and they meticulously bring these visions to life by way of Tambour.
Depending on the amount of hand-beading present on a gown, the beading process can take 3 to 6 months to complete so the whole process is very much a labor of love!
With the mechanization of the fashion industry along with limitations imposed on craftmanship due to fast fashion, it is a sad fact that Tambour is a craft that might very well die out. This technique is passed down from generation to generation and is no longer one that youngsters are eager to learn so the fact that we can offer these heirloom wedding dresses to our brides is all the more special to us.