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Friday, February 27, 2009

Musings (Quilling)

I have been following the quillers’ dialogue on one of the Yahoo groups ( about pricing quilling, art vs. craft, and whether the cost of materials should be a consideration in pricing one’s work. It brings several thoughts to mind.

One quiller said that because the actual quilling materials were inexpensive, that someone thought she was “cheap” for giving a quilled/framed piece as a wedding gift. It is true that the amount of paper in a finished piece may only be worth a few dollars, if the quiller had handed the bride a bunch of quilling strips in a gift box, perhaps they would have been justified in calling her cheap. But taking that invitation, which the bride and groom chose so carefully, and turning it into a beautiful keepsake? Cheap? I hardly thing so! I guess my point is that “beauty is NOT always in the eyes of the beholder”. Not everyone will appreciate the time and effort that goes into making a piece; some because they have no clue how much work is involved in creating a work of art, and others just because they are clueless. I have been quilling wedding invitations for years, for some of the same customers who wouldn’t think of ever giving anything else for a wedding gift. The feedback I get from my customers tells me that their quilled invitation is often the favorite wedding gift for the brides who receive them. In fact, many of my customers who received one of my pieces as a wedding gift go on to order them when their friends and relatives marry. I have had brides order them to give to their parents as a special remembrance

It is an interesting process, the development of your skill as an artist. It is easy to learn the basics of quilling, and just about anyone can put a few shapes together to make a flower or a frog. But not everyone can put together some of the works seen recently on the internet and here on this blog. Not everyone has the patience, the creativity, or even the motivation to attempt some of the pieces we’ve shown here on the blog. Take a look! It is pretty easy to separate the “crafty” pieces from the art.

I remember, many years ago, being flattered when people wanted to buy something I made, and I am sure that I under-priced my work for the first few years. When I started selling my work at craft shows, I was disappointed that people who came to the shows were more interested in looking for bargains than “art”. I also realized that the kinds of things they were looking for were not the kinds of things I enjoyed creating. Craft shows were just not the right venue for me. I think that it takes time to develop your talent and find your niche. When I decided that I wanted to quill “full time”, I had to learn what kind of work would sell, where to market it, and how to price it. For many years wedding pieces have been my “bread and butter”. Now, in my “golden” years, I am looking at my work a little differently. I have reached the point in my life where I enjoy “creating”, not just decorating wedding or baby frames. Just for fun, I have enclosed a picture of one of my very first pieces, quilled for my little girls bedroom wall (33 years ago), and one of my most recent pictures.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Meet Inna

It never ceases to amaze me. Give a bunch of quillers the same package of strips and no two will come up with the same design. We probably all start out learning the same basic shapes . . . and then watch us go.

Today I would like to feature Inna, who lives in Israel. An engineer by trade, Inna now stays at home with her three children and shares her love of crafts with them. She has tried her hand at many different crafts. About 10 months ago, her husband gave her a book “Paper Crafts Workshop” by Marie Browning which has a very nice 28 page section on quilling. She said “. . . it took me a bit to bring myself to try it; because I believed it’s too difficult”. Like many of us who are self taught, she soon realized it isn’t difficult at all. I happened on her blog and fell in love with the little quilled baby she has on the header of her blog.

Then as I continued to wander around, I saw her quilled Menorah where the quilled candles were set into quilled daffodils. (I wished I had found her when we were looking for quilling designs for the Jewish holidays for the 2007 and 2008 Accord calendars; but of course she wasn’t quilling then).

Inna has done some great tutorials on her site as well. The one on the “double fringed flower is especially helpful; it explains the technique in great detail. Jane Jenkins showed a fringe flower like this in her book “Quilling, Techniques and Inspiration”, but the instructions for it were very vague and hard to find. When this book first came out, I can’t even tell you how many calls we got about that fringed flower. Now we have a place to send everyone, Inna’s web site.
Another tutorial on quilled fringed flowers. This type is rather rear and I've never seen a detailed description of it. How to make regular fringed flowers I explained earlier. You will need double-sided coloured paper, scissors, glue, and a ready-made or DIY slotted tool or a wooden toothpick.

1. Cut a paper strip about 2-3 cm (1 inch) wide and 10 cm (4 inch) long. Fold it lengthwise.

2. Create a fringe by making small cuts at 45 degrees from the folded edge.

3. Attach to its end a regular — 3 mm (1/8 inch) wide and 25-30 cm (10 inch) long — quilling strip. This will make the centre of the flower.

4. Roll tightly using a toothpick or quilling tool, starting from the tip of the narrow strip.

You don't have to shape the petals, they will fluff up by themselves.

5. After the fringe is rolled up, glue its tip and hold for a couple of minutes to let the glue dry a little.

Now you can use your flower for a greeting card or any other purpose. In order to make a flower of the type shown below use only a wide strip. In this case it should be longer, about 20-30 cm (8-12 inch). Don't glue a narrow strip for the centre, start rolling the fringe right away.

Good luck!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Quilling - Tea cups to skulls??

I didn’t get a blog up this past Friday (long story), but I thought everyone would enjoy this. Since I put my quilled tea cup and saucer up on my web site, I have gotten dozens of requests for instructions, patterns etc. Unfortunately, I don’t use patterns and hate to write them down, but I did put together some general directions to give people an idea of how to get started. these are the directions I send out:

The tea cup was a product of my imagination so there is no pattern. I started out by making a tight roll with approximately ten full length strips for the base of the cup. I put the tight roll in the bottom of an actual tea cup and then started adding the quilling one row at a time. After each row dried, I would loosen it from the sides of the cup, then place it back into the cup and build the next row of quilling. When I had built the cup up to tea cup size, I took it out of the cup and made the handle. The saucer was done in exactly the same way. When both pieces were done I sprayed them with several light coats of Stiffen Stuff, which makes the paper nice and stiff without changing the color or adding a shine to it.

I also made a matching tea pot. Again I started with a large tight roll for the base. Then I made a mold of the tea pot and then cut it in half. I lined the inside of the mold with plastic wrap and then started placing the quilling inside of the mold, working from the bottom up. The tricky part was gluing the two halves together.

An important note, be sure to use paper from the same dye lots for these projects. The whites can be very different and will show up in the finished pieceLast week I received this email from someone who had asked for those directions. Her name is Kim Wallace.

”About six weeks ago I ran across your website and fell in love with your tea cup and saucer! You were kind enough to tell me how you did it so I made one myself. It came out nice so I wanted to try something a little different. Attached is a skull I did for my husbands haunted house he does each year at Halloween. It is not perfect but he and I both love it. Thanks you for you instructions and inspiration. by the way...I only started quilling about two months ago and as you can see, I am hooked.”

She sent me a picture of a skull she had quilled. I wrote back to her and asked if I could share it with all of you. I also asked if she would share her tea cup as well. Here they are, along with a picture of the ceramic skull she used as a mold.Way to go, Kim!! And she has only been quilling two months!! For all of you who are thinking about trying something different . . .go for it! Here is the mold Kim used. Here is Kim's tea cup.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Clareen Bankhead - Quilling from the Heart

This week I am writing about Clareen Bankhead. Clareen is a quiller whom I have not yet met in person, ours is an internet acquaintance. I love the borders Clareen makes and I think you will enjoy reading her story. I thought it was interesting that she “doodles “her designs before she quills them. My drawing or even doodling skills are non-existent. If I am working on a new design, I am more apt to make some quills and start moving them around (dry; not glued) until I get the effect I want. It is interesting to see how each of us differs in the “process” we use to create something new.

Clareen mentioned that she would like some feedback from quillers who look at the patterns on her site. Here is a link to one of her free patterns, check it out and let Clareen know what you think.

Here is her story in her own words:
“When I was about 8 years old an Aunt made my Grandmother a pair of chairs out of tin. A rocker and a chair with a foot stool. I wanted to play with them and my Barbie's together. It was a no go. Anyway I promised myself that one day I would learn how to make them and then let my little ones play with them. I found the tools but not the pattern. Then I found instructions for paper quilling and traded the tools for my first 3 books of quilling.

The borders caught my fancy the most. I did try some of the 3-d flowers, filigree eggs and a baby grand piano. But the response in me just wasn't the same as when I did a border. I did a lot of wedding announcements at first. But I heard of one to many getting thrown away when unhappiness broke up the couple. So I started doing my borders around pictures of Jesus and verses. I've seen pictures of Jesus stay on a wall even if the glass on it is broken. I figured all the work I put into them....Jesus made them secure as a gift to anyone.
I taught myself from the books I had traded for. For a long time I tried to imitate the borders I liked. Then it naturally began to grow. And I started doodling out patterns on my own. I even incorporated doodles my youngest sister Pennie did, into her wedding plaque. Doodles grew into much more interesting designs. I created a little 5 x 7 for my sister Janet (chosen by her son); I was trying for a circle in the middle with a marquis flow of quilling around it. It looked good. But of course that inspired another try for the perfect marquis design. Then the Dots came and what I called the Confetti Curl and I liked what the Lord had inspired very much.

I had very little back ground in drawing types of art. I have always been around talented people. My mother and grandmothers both had a lot of creative talent. I come by it honestly; it’s in the gene pool...teehee. As to changing my life...YES...I plan to go to the University and get my Art Masters in Sculpturing, and taking quilling into an architectural level. Big plans, I just hope I can make them work!

I would say Paisleys are a good place to look for some of my base patterns foundation. But I can get inspiration from just about anywhere. A comment from a person or close friend. A tough time someone is going through. Someone else's quilling creations; there are so MANY talented quillers out there. My favorite place to doodle (I confess) is sitting in the middle of Church, it’s peaceful and the inspirations are there for the taking.

Story: Hearts have played a big part in my designs. When Michelle was maybe 6ish, she was quilling with me. She was making hearts for her picture. She was trying to imitate moms little fat rounded hearts and crying because they were not the same. Well, a new heart (an oldie goldie) was (re-) born at the Bankhead's, the elongated country style heart. Michelle was happy and so was mom. It also inspired my slightly tilted, lopsided hearts.

To see more of Clareen's work visit her site Quilling from the Heart