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Monday, June 25, 2007

Quilling is My Life!

Quilling is my Life!

Quilling is my life! What started out as a casual interest thirty years ago soon became an obsession. I would like to share my love of quilling, my work and experience with you. From the very first quilled snowflake I made, I have been fascinated by the endless possibilities of this beautiful art form. Over the years, I became more and more involved in the world of quilling. I was so excited about what I could do with paper that I made special gifts for my family and friends. Before too long, people were asking me to make things for their families and friends, and my business, Whimsiquills was born.

Quilling has been around for a long time, anecdotal information has it going back as far as the invention of paper. It was used by Italian nuns to decorate reliquaries centuries ago. When gilded paper is used (gold on the edges), it is often mistaken for metal filigree. It is not a very well known art form and is known by several names including paper mosaic, paper filigree, quilling and paper quilling (It is believed that some early quillers rolled their paper strips around the base of a goose quill). The astounding thing about quilling is its many applications, and because it is not very well known, people often don’t realize that they are looking at paper. I have had people who didn’t believe what they were looking at was made of paper until I showed them how I do it.

It was probably sometime late in the 80’s that the independent craft stores and Mom & Pop craft stores started disappearing as the big craft store chains started moving in. Most of these chains didn’t carry quilling supplies, and most of their employees had no idea what quilling was; this is still the case today. When I couldn’t find quilling supplies in stores anymore, I contacted the few quilling wholesalers here in the United States and started buying (and eventually selling quilling supplies); my interest at that time was more about meeting my own quilling needs and those of my students.

I learned that there was actually a quilling Guild in England I joined the guild and in my membership information, I found 13 other quillers here in the USA who were members of the guild as well. I contacted all thirteen and started writing a little “newsletter” so we could share information. When I read about quilling companies in England that had all kinds of specialty papers and colors that were not available here in the states, I started importing them as well. The story continues to grow. The little newsletter I wrote became Quill America, which is now the official newsletter of NAQG, the North American Quilling Guild. I don’t write it any more, thank goodness, NAQG has a wonderful newsletter editor for that. Our little informal group of thirteen quillers has grown to almost 500 NAQG members. We hold annual national meeting (NAQGCON) and many of our members hold regional “mini meets” where quillers get together to share information and technique. Our mission is to preserve this beautiful art form we love so well and pass it on to future generations.

The internet has played a large role in allowing us to share information with other quillers all over the world. There are many web sites where you can view peoples work, there are chat groups and email groups. We scan and email pictures of our work and can see the work of quillers from all around the world. The very first time I did a search on the internet, I found about 15 references, and some of those were about Native American quill work which is done with porcupine quills and totally unrelated to paper quilling. (It is very beautiful though). This morning when I typed the search word quilling 457,000 entries came up. So why am I “bloging” about quilling? Because I have so much information to share, and thought I would put it all in one place where it would be accessible to anyone who was interested. My plan is to give you information about where you can find antique quilling, (and not so antique), answers to frequently asked questions we get here at Whimsiquills, information on what is available, technique and anything else I think or hear you may be interested. Welcome to the wonderful world of quilling!

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