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Thursday, September 18, 2008

Sister Consolata & Quilling

Sister Consolata

I had a very good friend who used to tell me “What goes around, comes around”, I was never quite sure what he meant but have finally found an example which illustrates this point. As most of you know, anecdotal history tells us that quilling was “invented” by nuns centuries ago. The story as I heard it was that nuns cut off the gilded edges of old manuscripts to decorate religious artifacts. The result looked much like metal filigree. Recently, I was contacted by a nun, Sister Consolata, who asked for a catalogue of our products. I sent her our standard “info pack” which includes our order forms, color chart, samples of some of our specialty papers, and an informational letter which includes information about the quilling guilds (here in the USA and in England) and information about some of the online quilling groups. Several weeks later, I received a lovely typewritten letter from her; I would like to share some of it with you.

“Dear Miss Caputo,
While going over the material that was sent to me by Whimsiquills some time ago, I came across you very kind letter which was included with the material. I am very sorry that I somehow overlooked your letter when I first opened the envelope. Today, I determined to write to you.

I am a 94 year old Notre Dame Sister, and I have done quilling for about eight years. At one time I had some gift tags which were being sold in a shop here in Omaha. A dear lady was interested in them and obtained my address. Her name is Jan. She wrote to me and asked if I gave lessons on this craft. I wrote back and told her that I did not give lessons, but would teach her what I knew about quilling. I learned by using two books that a dear friend had given me.

So this lovely Jan came out to our convent and we became good friends. Jan far surpassed me in quilling. I told her “because of her nurse’s fingers,” you have become and expert in this craft. We had so many interesting times together and Jan gave me many materials to help me in my work. I am very sorry to tell you that lately Jan sent me, through a friend, much of her quilling paper. She has been very ill and cannot do any quilling.

However, I now have a little boy of Omaha, who is my new pupil. His grandparents, when touring our building, noticed me working on a quilled picture down in my art work room. They told me about their eleven year old grandson who is very talented in art and music. When they left our convent, these good people stopped at a craft store and purchased a book and some quilling tools. The next week, this dear grandmother brought young Spencer to me in order to learn about quilling. He is such a dear lad and I know he will do some beautiful work. In fact, I just learned that his teacher wants him to teach her to quill!!”

Her letter went on to tell me a little more about herself, she is a former teacher, and she “still make(s) many gift tags which sell well. I do tire easily so I cannot work as fast as I once did . . . but I want to keep on quilling as long as the Good Lord gives me the strength and ability to do so.” What a delight! Oh yes, she said in her letter that “I am the only nun in the community who does quilling . . .so far.