I’m happy to say that I know this quiller personally. Jinny Alexander is a neat lady who is one of the original members of the group who ended up forming the North American Quilling Guild. Jinny lives in Rochester, New York; she was going to be in Connecticut visiting her son. She called and asked if we could meet. We had a wonderful visit . . . she was fascinated with my roses and I was awed by her little quilled figures, which she calls Jinisans. She gave me a delightful little clown which still has a place of honor in my studio. Over the years I have seen a great deal of quilling and many 3-D “figures”; none can compare with the work and detail Jinny puts into her Jinisans. I am happy to share pictures of some of her work. We do carry her book Quilling in the Third Dimension here at Whimsiquills. Here is her story in her own words.
All of my life I have been interested in doing something "artistic" with my hands. From drawing to painting, knitting and crocheting, sewing, and then along came quilling. It seemed like all of the things I had done before, including my training as a nurse and secretary, could be used in some way in this "new" art form. Going through a craft section in a store, sometime in about 1976, I came across a quilling kit. The kit had materials and directions to make 3-dimensional figures. I took the kit home and made a soldier, a Raggedy Ann, and a clown. I put them on top of presents that I gave to my friends. They began to ask me if I would make another for their "mothers, aunts, sisters, or friends." I was glad to do it to begin with, but had so many requests that I began to charge $5 for each figure and the requests didn't stop.
It was when I had a request for a "Pierrot" clown that I decided the figures should have legs. After putting legs on this clown, I decided that he should carry a rose and that his arm should therefore be bent, and his hands should be made to enfold the stem of the rose. I changed the way I felt the figure should look. Adding the legs and bending the arm gave it some "motion" and made it seem more realistic and personal to me.
I soon began to try to make more interesting figures and to make them more "real" looking. Santa Claus and the Wizard of Oz figures were among some of the first I tried. After many years of making the 3-D figures. I began to think that what I had discovered by trial and error should be described in a book, so others could make them. Following this publication, there were requests for specific directions for specific figures, so we decided to try to publish another book with instructions and pictures of the different "Jinisans" ( Jinny's people) I had previously made. That second England for the International Quilling Meeting in 1992, I was amazed to see all the different ways quilling could be used. My entries (awarded 3rd place) in the competition there were quite unique and at the next International Meeting in 1997, there seemed to be more 3-D figures. It was there that I met other quillers from the USA. What a wonderful group of people! We have shown each other so much interest and friendship, and at each meeting we have learned from each other. These meetings led us to believe that we should have a quilling guild here in America. From this came the idea that led to the NAQG.
I have taught quilling to adult education classes in the high school and the Rochester Museum and Science Center, as well as a few classes to middle school children. We currently have a local group with 14 members!
For the first presentation to our local historical society, I did extensive research in the origins, proliferation and characteristics of paper and included that information in my classes and lectures. Much of this information was found in our central public library. We took a trip to New England to see the quilling in the museums there. We were able to take pictures and make slides then used in my presentations.