Celebrating Bastille Day with a Fun Tutorial
Fun Facts About Bastille Day:
- Bastille Day happens every year on July 14th.
- The date is based on the storming of the Bastille, which happened July 14th, 1789, and was part of the French Revolution.
- The Bastille was a fortress that was mostly used as a state prison and represented the despotism of the ruling Bourbon monarchy.
- During the storming of the Bastille, the 7 political prisoners were released and armed.
- France was ruled by King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette at the time.
- Louis and Marie were forced to hide at the palace of Versailles because of the angry mobs.
- Bastille Day is also celebrated in many French-speaking countries.
- Milwaukee, Wisconsin has a large Bastille Day celebration that lasts four days – they even have a 43 foot tall replica of the Eiffel Tower.
- Much like July 4th in the states, all over France people celebrate with fireworks, dances, and musical performances.
“The Storming of the Bastille”, July 14, 1789. This watercolour by French artist Jean-Pierre Houël depicts the fall of the Bastille in Paris on the morning of 14 July 1789. Ironically there were only 7 prisoners imprisoned at the time but the fall of this icon of tyranny fueled the revolution.
Claude Monet’s picture “La rue Montorgueil à Paris” is often thought to represent a July 14th celebration but was actually painted on 30 June 1878 for a festival by the government celebrating “peace and work”. However, American historian Philip Nord wrote that the painting perfectly fits the “republican moment” marking the emergence of a democratic society and its roots in contemporary France.
French Coin Tutorial:
I’ve always been a confirmed Anglophile but after a trip to France a few years ago I fell in love with all things French. A Francophile as well?? Mais oui!! I wanted to make a memento of our trip for my Mom and sister with some old French coins I had collected. My brother-in-law drilled the holes in the coins for me with a regular drill bit and cleaned up the burs. Next time we will make smaller holes but I was grateful for his help.
I used vintage rhinestone disco balls, vintage rhinestone rondelles, old pearls and vintage glass beads for the earrings. You can get old jewelry elements off eBay and Etsy and flea markets/estate sales, as well as broken jewelry from friends and family. I have had a number of people give me old family jewelry, some broken and some in good repair. I use my own handmade earring wires made from 20 gauge sterling silver and brass wire.
I have fallen in love with dark annealed steel wire. You can get it online or at your local Ace Hardware. The guys who work at Ace Hardware seem fascinated that we make jewelry with copper pipe, plumbing solder, brass sheets, wire, etc. I used the 28 gauge so I could wire wrap the silver coin earrings. The higher gauge wire is nice for wire wrapping.
Steel wire is inexpensive and very versatile with a few caveats. First, you need to use steel wire cutters; steel wire will ruin your regular wire cutters. I learned this lesson the hard way. Also, steel wire can rust so you want to seal it. I love Renaissance wax for sealing steel wire.
One of the beautiful properties of dark annealed steel wire is that it looks like patinaed sterling silver after you dremel it with a steel wire brush. You can get that old sterling silver look for a more affordable cost.
I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. These earrings are very fun to make. Now go out and celebrate Bastille Day in true French fashion!! Oh la la!!