French General

French General

Art
Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California
(68 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

(68 Reviews)
Rag Doll

11/10/2019
Anonymous

Attended: Rag Doll


The instructor Jess was great! All the ladies from French General were wonderful. I had a great time!

Holiday Round About

11/4/2019
Kathleen O.

Attended: Holiday Round About


This class was festive, fun, and fabulous! We had the opportunity to work with 3 amazing teachers (one at a time) to create holiday-themed ornaments which could also be reconstructed for a variety of purposes. Each crafting session was punctuated by delicious treats or lunch, so our energy level was kept high for the 6 hour class. All of the students, in addition to the teachers, were friendly and supportive. We left with both completed pieces and enough supplies/inspiration to make more pieces on our own. Highly recommended!

Beaded Crochet Necklace Workshop

6/18/2019
Kathleen O.

Attended: Beaded Crochet Necklace Workshop


This was a great class. I had no idea how to crochet and wasn't sure if I would be able to complete the project. I was given a beautiful kit of beads and sturdy thread plus an instruction booklet and an up-close demo by the instructor, Tyn. At first I felt 'all thumbs,' but as I kept working at it and received help from the instructor when I made mistakes, I began to make progress. Finally I was 'getting the hang of it' and was able to complete the project that afternoon at home. (Others in the class with more experience were able to finish during the class period.) I was able to take home the remainder of my bead kit which provided enough supplies to make lots more necklaces. These would make very nice gifts to give for the holidays or anytime.

Beaded Crochet Necklace Workshop

6/4/2019
Mary F.

Attended: Beaded Crochet Necklace Workshop


It was a great class. Low key and very comfortable. Tyne was a great instructor. Everyone taking the class seemed to have a gteat time. I will look to take more classes at French General.

Beaded Crochet Necklace Workshop

6/3/2019
Jennifer J.

Attended: Beaded Crochet Necklace Workshop


The teacher and staff were so gracious and welcoming. I loved the materials and the instruction and will be signing up for more of their classes.

Boro Bag Workshop

4/19/2019
Kathleen O.

Attended: Boro Bag Workshop


This was a wonderful class! I was a little hesitant to take it because I don't have much experience sewing, at least not recently. The teacher gave us the history of the Boro Bag and patiently walked us through each step. She would demo and explain the technique, then we would try it. This was repeated for each new method. It's the first time I have left a class with a project that was unfinished, but was so excited to complete it on my own since it takes time to execute. I am completing the bag and using the handouts the teacher gave us as reference. In addition, the ambiance, food, and fellow students were all delightful. What a nice way to spend a Sunday!

Botanical Specimens 102

4/10/2019
Sascha C.

Attended: Botanical Specimens 102


This class was amazing! I took the Botanical Specimens 101 class and absolutely loved it and this one took what we learned in that class to a whole new level. We incorporated a lot of the things from the 101 class into this class; however, if you aren't able to take the 101 you could still easily jump into the 102 class. The French General Store is a wonderful atmosphere to learn in and a source of inspiration where ever one looks. Kari is the ultimate hostess and her easy going and genially attitude infuse the store with warmth and joy. Ann Woods is an amazing teacher. She is patient, kind, funny and is excellent in providing instruction no matter how many times it is needed. If you have a chance to take a class at French General do so and if you get into a class with Ann Woods I would highly advise it. I look forward to coming back to many more classes at this wonderful little store.

Downtown Digging

4/10/2019
Gillian G.

Attended: Downtown Digging


Great

Downtown Digging

4/9/2019
Anonymous

Attended: Downtown Digging


Great people, very organized, oversaw every step of the way. I did not give it 5 stars because I expected more “secret” shops and I do not sew. It was primarily objects related to sewing and the shops were ones I was aware of by being a garment district shopper anyway. French General women were very helpful and overall a fun time.

Botanical Specimens 101

4/8/2019
Sascha C.

Attended: Botanical Specimens 101


I absolutely loved this class!!! I had no idea that the French General, a real gem, was basically right in my backyard. Kari, the owner and host of the class, was such a joy and the ultimate hostess. She created a warm and intimate classroom right inside her store. She had everything that a participant needed and she even curated a beautiful lunch and afternoon spread. Ann Woods, the teacher of the workshop, was equally as amazing. She was patient, funny and encouraging of every student. The instructions and guidance that she provided were perfect. I can't wait to take more classes at French General including more of Ann Woods and her workshops!

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Questions about this school?
2009 Riverside Dr, Los Angeles, California 90039
French General
Los Angeles, Downtown/Northeast
2009 Riverside Dr
Btwn Allessandro & Newell Streets
Los Angeles, California 90039

Upcoming Classes at French General

Candle Rolling and Wax Sealing Workshop
Candle Rolling and Wax Sealing Workshop
Next start date:

Saturday Nov 23rd, 10am - 1pm

Downtown Digging
Downtown Digging
Next start date:

Tuesday Feb 4th, 9am - 2pm

Mending Sampler Needle Book
Mending Sampler Needle Book
Next start date:

Saturday Feb 29th, 10am - 4pm

Narrative Patchwork
Narrative Patchwork
Next start date:

Friday Apr 3rd, 10am - 4pm

Stitched Souvenir Handkerchiefs
Stitched Souvenir Handkerchiefs
Next start date:

Tuesday Apr 7th, 3pm - 6pm

Block Printing Workshop
Block Printing Workshop
Next start date:

Saturday Apr 25th, 2pm - 5pm

Creative Embroidery Workshop
Creative Embroidery Workshop
Next start date:

Sunday Apr 26th, 10am - 1pm

Punch Needle Workshop
Punch Needle Workshop
Next start date:

Saturday Apr 25th, 10am - 1pm

Teachers at French General

Amy Hanna Amy Butler Angel Irizariz Ann Wood Arlene Baker Arounna from Bookhou August Wren Bethany Man Brenda Walton Cathy Callahan Cathy Mogull Chef Jamia Deven Green , Joanie Coyote and Joshua Snyder Evelyn Neily Heidi Parkes Instructor from Bookhou Jeff McKenna Jeff McKenna Jennifer Nelson Jenny Hart Jess Brown Jessie Chorley Jody Rice Jody Alexander John Matthew Josefina Bedolla Julie Ippoliti Kaari Meng Karina, Steve and Ashley Pester Karyn Kranz Liesl Gibson Lisa Mattock Lisa Meng Lorraine Lovell Luke Deverell Mandy Patullo Mary Stanley Melisa Gerber Merry Cox Michele Muska Mimi Kirchner Molly Meng Molly Meng, Tyn Atol & Robert Mahar Monica Medieros Monica Medeiros Morrison Polkinghorne Nancy MacLean and Ajay Singh Chaudhary Nina Bagley P T Pam Garrison Pippa Mars and Deb Pippa Mars & Babs Kavanaugh Robert Mahar Robert Mahar, Kaari Meng & Molly Meng Robin Dudley- Howes Sue Shreve Sue Shreve Susan Fuquay Tiffanie Turner Tyn Atol Wendy addison Yuka Shotts
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