Meet Pat

Video (Meet Pat) -

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Quilled Table Decorations

I have been somewhat remiss in keeping up with this blog in these last few weeks. I have been called away on a family medical emergency which is not yet totally resolved. However, I am back home for the time being, and would like to share something with you on a more positive note. I will be attending a brunch on Saturday for my father who is celebrating his 90th birthday. This is an interesting story. I have only known him for the last 10 years. He and my mother were married in 1939, and he went off to the War in 1943, two days after I was born. Their marriage was only one of many war casualties. I didn’t “find’ him again until ten years ago. After all those years, we have reestablished contact and I gained not only a father, but a wonderful brother and a really bright and beautiful niece. What does all of this have to do with quilling? When I received the invitation to this special birthday brunch, I called to see what I could bring. I was asked to do some table decorations. What else could I do but quill something. I really can’t take total credit for the idea because I immediately thought of some of the large scale decorations my friend Molly Smith did for her book The New Paper Quilling . So I ran out to the dollar store and picked up some clear glass vases, went to Michaels to get some clear glass marble thingies, pulled out some wooden shish kebob skewers, and went to work. I usually work with short lengths of quilling strips, sometimes as short as 1”, so this was quite a stretch for me, working with 12” and 24” strips. I used all 3/8” width strips and started making flowers. After the flowers were dry, I turned them upside down and glued the skewers into the centers for stems. (I painted the wood skewers green). To save time, I used green squares of tissue paper for “foliage”, poking the stems through the squares and then scrunching them up and voila! Table decorations!

PS - I will do part 2 of Quilling for the Blind as soon as I get all of the comments you sent compiled.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Quilling for the blind?

I had a very interesting phone call the other day from one of my quilling friends. She had been contacted by an agency that works with the blind; they wanted to know if she would teach a quilling class. She wanted to know if I knew any blind quillers. I do know a couple of legally blind quillers who are able to quill using the magnifier closed circuit TV devise (I am not sure of the actual name of these devises; I know they are very helpful for those who are not completely blind) I am writing this blog in the hopes that some of you may have some other ideas, or may know someone who works with the blind. I suggested she might want to talk to someone who works with the blind, possibly one of the schools for the blind.I know they teach other handwork and thought some of those techniques might be applied to quilling. We brainstormed on the phone for a while . . . here are some of the thoughts we had.

Making some of the various shapes and then letting the student “feel” the shapes is a possible way of demonstrating the kinds of shapes that can be made. It would seem to me that finger rolling would be the best way to go rather than trying to “thread “a slotted tool. I am also thinking that starting with wider strips might make sense since the pieces would be larger and perhaps easier to handle. Of course you wouldn’t be able to “show” this technique, but by feeling a straight strip, and then explaining that the strip should be run over the fingernail to “soften” it and start it curling. Once the curl at the tip is started, it is fairly simple to continue to roll the strip into a loose coil. I would suggest using a fine tip glue bottle to glue the end of the strip down so the glue can be placed exactly where it is needed. (I find the glue bottle less messy than working with a toothpick and spot of glue). Once rolled and glued it would be fairly simple to pinch the coil into the desired shape.

Then we have the issue of colors etc. Many sighted quiller store their strips in the original packaging, If the packages were marked in Braille it would be helpful in keeping colors organized. My thought would be to put finished shapes into something like the cups of a styrofoam egg carton. The edges of the cups could be marked in Braille with the color and shapes. Another option would be to store shapes in small strips in the plastic chests used to store nuts and bolts etc. That is how I store my quilled flowers, small strips and extra shapes. I do organize them by color and either have a small strip of the color or the name of the color taped to the front of the drawer, again this could be marked in Braille. As I think about it, I think the chests might work better than the egg carton idea; they wouldn’t get knocked over or tipped as easily.
When it comes to actual designs, I am kind of stumped. Perhaps letting the students feel some different designs would give them some ideas. Arranging pieces would be determined by feeling the shapes. These were just a few of my thoughts. I think a blind quiller would have to be much better organized than I am. (No piles of bits of strips and shapes like there are on my work table) It is a challenging question. I would love to hear your thoughts and will be happy to share them in a future post. You can comment on the blog or email me directly at