quilling – ann martin & all things paper: part 3 of 3

previously, part 1 and 2

if you know me at all, or have read a little on this blog, it wont surprise you that my mind soon started wondering about the history of quilling.  as i was doing the craft for the first time, i thought about that term.  “quilling” … “quills” … like feathers and porcupines? had this craft originated by wrapping paper around such quills? and why?

i started digging a little bit online, and the history of quilling is a little bit foggy. and it is no wonder, with the art form being so delicate that little physical evidence remains. as one reader, corey, commented in part 1, “she’s afraid to touch it to clean it lest it disintegrate if she looks at it funny.”

but i did find an interesting site that seems to challenge the notion (which i had read about in a number of places) that paper filigree was originally made from scraps of paper trimmed from the edges of bibles.  you can read more about that here. at the time of publishing this post, i had not heard back from the author regarding sharing an excerpt from the site; but please click the link above if you are interested in learning more about the origins of quilling. or at least what some current speculations suggest.

it’s strange how things happen sometimes. a few months ago, i’d never even heard of the term quilling. then i stumble across an old calendar about quilling, end up creating a quilled card, and then i’m left just yearning to learn more about this craft. i logged onto twitter one day soon after, and what was greeting me there at the top of the page? a re-tweet of this following tweet:

Thinking of quilling the fail-whale*.
12:00 PM Aug 27th via web

hahaha! what?! who was this person, with crazy quill skills and a great sense of humour?

well, she is ann martin.  a quilling enthusiast (i want to say “master quiller” but i don’t know if that would embarrass her, or if that’s even a real term, but you get the idea…she’s good!) with her fingers nimbly rolling paper and her thumb placed firmly on the pulse of social media ;-)

just a tiny peek at some of her work…

ann martin quilling quilled certificate black floral

ann martin quilling scroll flowers

{photos are courtesy of ann martin from her blog, all things paper}

one of the hazards of being a creative person on twitter or anywhere online really, is that one day, i may find you, and i will ask you questions! she was ever so gracious about answering them…

me: how did you get started with this art form? (note to reader: i did say hi first … )

ann: I started quilling after seeing a how-to article in Martha Stewart Living magazine. (February 2002) The rolled paper Valentine designs that were shown seemed so elegant and unusual, yet at the time doable – after all, the supplies are things most of us already have on hand. Even before going to the craft store to find proper quilling paper and a tool, I tried my hand at making a design by cutting strips of computer paper and rolling them on a cake tester from my kitchen drawer. This method worked just fine, and I still suggest it as an easy way to give quilling a try.

me: (in my head, “oh phew! i thought i was doing it all wrong by using bamboo skewers!”)… what inspires your work?

ann: I‘m inspired by all sorts of things… wrought iron work, flower arrangements, calligraphy, embroidery, and graphics on stationery and wedding invitations, just to name some ideas. Scrolls are constantly catching my eye and it’s pretty incredible how many you see once you start looking.

which reminded me of my own fascination with scrolls and coils, especially in nature, as i shared previously in this photo here

coils in nature

to which ann had her own echoing sentiment, namely…

pea plant quilled by ann martin

gah! look at those little tendrils and how the peas are just spilling out of the frame. i love the details, and i can honestly say that i’m not sure i’d have the patience to do all that. you can read her entry about the peas here.

if what i’ve shared with you about quilling over the past three days has caught your interest at all, and especially if you’re considering the idea of trying this centuries-old artform for yourself, you can start at this great tutorial ann has written. lots of photos and practical suggestions: quilling 101.

you can also visit ann martin’s blog at all things paper, where she shares all sorts of inspiration related to paper crafts, not just quilling.

and as mentioned, she is also on twitter.

thanks ann, for sharing your creativity with us. i personally can not wait to see the fail-whale*!

* for those not familiar with the term, the fail-whale is an image that appears when twitter is over capacity. it’s actually really cute and takes the edge off you wanting to throw your computer out the window. well, at least that’s what i think their intention was when creating the image. “aww, cute wittle whale… i forgive you twitter…”

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13 Responses to quilling – ann martin & all things paper: part 3 of 3

  1. I am just in awe of her work. It is fabulously amazing! Truly a work of art.

  2. Pingback: quilling: how we made our cards – part 2 of 3 | i made it so.

  3. Jess says:

    I definitely want to give it a try now!

  4. Now, how will i remember all about this beautiful technique when I go to make Christmas cards. I guess I will just have to practice, practice, practice until then! Thanks ana!

  5. Paula Bauer says:

    Your blog is a very enjoyable read – I love your fresh, conversational approach.

    I’m delighted to see this post featuring Ann Martin, who is a dear friend, an amazing paper filigree artist, and a great promoter of paper arts in general.

    Paper filigree is the sort of technique that can draw you in and adapt to any number of applications – easy for a child to achieve great results in a short time, yet a medium capable of complex, layered compositions and designs and nuanced artistry. I know you will have hours of creative fun exploring the possibilities!

  6. Pingback: quilled fail whale revealed | i made it so.

  7. I love this – I am into many papercrafts, but quilling is not one I have tried yet. I would love to. This post was so well written, informative, and interesting!

  8. Jackie says:

    I have recently taken up quilling and its so much fun. thanks for pointing me to a new direction in this craft.

  9. ~*~Patty says:

    Paper Quilling taken to new heights…WOWEE…thanks so much for sharing Ana!

  10. Julie says:

    Wow! I’m addicted to your blog! And now I’ve just learned about quilling!!! Oh my!!!! Gotta try this!!!!!!!

  11. Julie says:

    I wanted to try it with Claire this weekend, but stuff happened. Maybe next weekend. I checked out Ann Martin’s website – unbelievable the stuff you can create with paper!

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