Linda Sampson
The Immortelle Artifact Collection

  The art of beading flowers originated in France in the 1800's.  Clothing and accessories of that period were highly ornamented with designs of hand stitched beadwork.  Artisans sorted out the odd sizes and shapes of tiny glass and metal beads before sewing them on dresses, and fashioned them into flowers which were placed on church altars and tombs.
  In New Orleans, many Creole families owned Immortelles, memorial wreaths created by Vieux Carre artisans made primarily from black, purple and white beads.  The wreaths were taken to the cemetery on All Saints Day to be hung over the tomb entrance.  They were then carefully removed, taken home, rewrapped in newspaper and stored for use the next year.
   Flower beading became a popular hobby here and in Europe.  Victorian ladies magazines published new flower desins regularly, but as the fashion for beaded dresses became passe', the art of flower beading also faded.
  The popularity of Mourning Jewelry, worn during the last century by both women and men as a sign of bereavement has nearly ceased.  The pieces that comprise the Immortelle Artifacts collection are the results of an inspiration to combine items used in traditonal mourning rituals with a milange of recycled local artifacts into wearable art.  Much of it is made with vintage beaded flowers, old Czech Mardi Gras beads and other sentimental found objects such as porcelain Frozen Charlotte king cake dolls and antique buttons.
    Linda is a native New Yorker who began as a costumer at the Metropolitan and New York City Opera companies while moonlighting  off-Broadway as a set and costume designer.  She was the original staff stylist for the National Lampoon and styled and wrote for Family Circle, McCall's and other ladies magazines. 
  In New Orleans, she has worked on sets and costumes for TV and various films includin JFK, Point of No Return, America's Most Wanted, Good Morning America and MTV specials with Cheryl Crow and Jessica Simpson.