Thursday, 20 December 2012

A summertime scene for the darkest days of winter

Summertime garden scene by Philippa Reid
Summertime garden scene, a photo by Philippa Reid on Flickr.

Well, the shortest day of the year is nearly upon us here in the Northern Hemisphere - so I thought it was high time I posted this 'sunshine' card design to remind us all of the warmth of summer!

I made this card for the North American Quilling Guild competition in 2012, in which the theme was 'A backyard garden scene'. I decided to use an oval aperture card as a frame for my quilled picture, which is set on a solid background of vortex coils that form the sky and grass. I love working with square vortex shapes - they are so much more amenable than circular coils for filling up awkward spaces!

The sun is made from a crimped coil, and I have used the beehive technique for most of the foliage and flowers. I also couldn't resist adding a few 'twisted wheatear' shapes for some of the larger leaves. The fence panels are cut from plain gold quilling strips.

The result? An unusual image which was probably way too quirky to gain many votes in the competition. But I'm pleased with it, and I'm sharing it today as an antidote to the gloom of the winter solstice!

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Quilling with the elderly

I'm so proud of the quilling done recently by my enthusiastic 'students' who live in an elderly care home! All aged in their 80s and 90s, and all suffering from varying degrees of dementia (plus some physical disabilities), they nevertheless managed to produce some lovely quilled snowflakes, baubles and stars to decorate these Christmas trees!

I love working with the elderly ... and they all absolutely love quilling! Because they find it rather difficult to manipulate coils, I generally take a lot of pre-rolled coils with me, in varying colours, so that all they have to do is press the coils into different shapes. Then I can help them with assembling things like snowflakes, and with gluing their quilled shapes down onto a background. Many of them have very clear ideas about where they want their quilled pieces to go ... and I think that, after this particular workshop, we ended up with some lovely Christmas designs!

Now we're already thinking ahead towards quilling some Easter chickens!!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Still here!

Quilling workshops ... Christmas markets ... gearing up for the launch of the Quilling Guild's new members' blog ... well, those are just a few of my excuses for the lack of posts over the last couple of weeks.

I have been quilling - honestly! - but it's been work on another of those 'secret projects' that I'm going to have to keep under wraps for a little while yet.

So, because it really is high time I broke the silence, I'm going to share with you a card that I entered into the Guild's recent competitions for 2012. The theme for the Greetings Card Category this year was 'Sport', so I decided to adopt an Olympic theme with a row of medals (gold, silver and bronze), alongside the Olympic flame and a winner's laurel wreath.

As you can see, I used a cut and folded tent card for this design, and created the ribbons for the medals using two-tone 'beehive' twists and a coloured paper background. The medals themselves were made using crimped, solid-coil strips edged with shiny metallics.

More from Quilliance soon - I promise!

Thursday, 15 November 2012


This past week, it has been my privilege and pleasure to be involved in setting up a brand new website for the Quilling Guild. If you click here, you can see it in all its glory! The site has been restructured, comprehensively updated (with plenty more to come ...) and given a completely new look - and I'm pleased to say that it has received quite a few favourable comments already! This has all been part of a major initiative to reach out to the quilling community worldwide, leading up to our special 30th Anniversary Celebration of Quilling that will be held in Liverpool, UK, in August 2013 (click the 'Liverpool 2013' link on the site to find out more!)

But I'm not finished yet ... next week will see the launch of a brand new Blog exclusively for members of the Guild, which will be regularly updated with quilling-related news, exciting features and 'how-to' articles - and guess who will be writing it? That's right, me!! I can't wait to get started ... but, in the meantime, there's no escaping the fact that Christmas is coming and I really need to boost my stock of quilled items for the Friday market here in our village. So it was great to be able to sit down this afternoon and assemble a few sets of assorted gift tags with quilled motifs that I hope to be selling from tomorrow onwards.

Here they are:

Much as I love all my internet activities, it's also a real pleasure to settle back into some quilling and 'making' which, after all, are what it's really all about for all of us.

Right now, I guess you could say that I'm enjoying the best of both worlds!

Thursday, 8 November 2012


A couple of years ago, I was inspired to create some quilled designs in the style of the 19th century English artist William Morris. You can find the posts about them here, here and here!!

Well, I was prompted to return to his wonderful works this month by the subject of another Homyachok Challenge: Quilling Task No. 11 - Paintings and Ornaments.

This particular challenge requires quillers to produce a creation which has been inspired by a particular art style, so of course I immediately thought of William's influence on the 19th Century 'Arts and Crafts' movement and set to work!

My quilling was inspired by the William Morris design 'Snakeshead' which takes its pattern from the rare and delicate 'snakeshead fritillary' flower that graces secluded English meadows in Spring.  The colours are different, even the pattern is different, but somehow the feel of the bold teardrop shapes and delicate leaf branches is the same.

I wrapped each of my teardrop shapes with gold-edged, pearlised gold strips to give them extra definition, and made the branches from narrower 1.5mm strips for added depth.

Here, for reference, is the original William Morris 'Snakeshead' design:

And here's another photo of my quilling, which now forms the front of a very special greetings card:

It's my pleasure to enter this work into the Homyachok Challenge.  Wish me luck!!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Get set to celebrate!

Another week of silence from Quilliance ... what's going on?  Well, plenty as it happens! As many of you may already know, I have recently been elected to serve on the Committee of the Quilling Guild here in the UK, and right now we are busy organising what promises to be the biggest event on the international quilling calendar in recent times: the Guild's 30th Anniversary Celebration of Quilling which is to be held at Liverpool University (in the north-west of England, UK) on 10th - 11th August 2013.

There will be competitions, workshops, 'make and take' sessions, trade stands selling all manner of supplies ... and displays of quilling to take your breath away. The event will provide a wonderful opportunity to meet and socialise with fellow quillers (many of whom may already be known to you as friends via the internet). It will be the perfect environment in which to share ideas, gain inspiration and learn from some of the world's best-known quilling authors and tutors. Best of all, it will be spread over two whole days, providing a feast for the senses in every way!

Liverpool is easily accessible by road, rail and air, with easy connections to the international airport hub at Manchester. It's a vibrant city, rich in culture and heritage, with attractions ranging from art galleries, museums and historic buildings to the famous Mersey Ferry and the history of The Beatles.

The event will be open to the public on the afternoon of Saturday 10th August (13.30 - 17.00), and from 10.00 - 16.00 on Sunday 11th August 2013 ... but Members of the Guild will be able to benefit from much, much more!

For the ultimate quilling experience, Quilling Guild Members can book accommodation in the University on the Friday and Saturday nights, taking full advantage of an amazing low-cost package deal which includes breakfast, lunch, morning and afternoon refreshments and a special Anniversary Dinner on Saturday evening - plus, of course, unrestricted access to the quilling displays and workshops throughout the weekend. The Guild is also hoping to organise a visit on Friday afternoon to the nearby Lady Lever Art Gallery at Port Sunlight where the most exquisite examples of 18th Century quilled tea caddies and a famous cabinet are on display.

What better reasons could there be for becoming a Member of the Quilling Guild?

Well, I suppose I could mention our seasonal full-colour quilling magazine, new exclusive members' blog (coming soon!), extensive network of local contacts and internationally respected accreditation scheme ... but that's another blog post altogether!

If you're not already a Member of the Quilling Guild, you can easily join us right now by downloading a membership application form here.

We look forward to seeing you in Liverpool 2013!

Saturday, 20 October 2012

With grateful thanks to a little hamster ...

My last post featured the quilled bird of paradise which I entered into the Homyachok ("little hamster") Challenge - an excellent Russian craft and digital scrap challenge blog site whose creators judge the projects submitted to them on merit, rather than picking winners solely through a random number generator. The commonly-used random number approach has often put me off entering challenges, because I feel that the effort and skill put in to creating an entry go entirely unrecognised. But the 'little hamster' has restored my faith, by introducing three properly judged nomination categories for every challenge, complemented by the additional bonus of a lucky-number draw for a consolation prize.

The Homyachok Challenge blog is written in Russian, but there is a translation facility on the site. Unfortunately for me, however, I still couldn't understand the definition of the competition categories which are idiomatic and therefore difficult to translate into English - until my friend and fellow blogger White Racoon kindly took the trouble to explain!

She described the three nomination categories for the Homyachok Challenge as follows:
The first one - the 'Romantic' category - is self-explanatory. The second one - an idiomatic term made up from the two Russian words for 'hamster' and 'outstanding' literally means "the best of the best" - a category in which the winning nomination is awarded to the project that most impresses the Homyachok team. Finally, there is a category whose title translates as "Salvador Dali didn't even dream of that!", in which the winning project will be something very different, unusual or alternative. Thank you, White Racoon!

Well, I posted a link to my bird of paradise on the Homyachok Challenge site just a few days before going away for a short break, during which I pretty much forgot all about it. You can imagine my surprise and delight, therefore, to discover when I got home that my bird had actually received the winning nomination in the "best of the best" category. What an honour, especially as the standard of all the other entries was so high!

With a little additional translation help from White Racoon, I managed to identify the correct Homyachok Challenge winner's banner to place here on my blog (you can see it above this post in the panel on the right hand side) ... and I really hope this will help encourage many of my fellow quillers, crafters and digital artists to head right on over to the little hamster's site and check it out.  There are several imaginative new challenges posted there every month, with something to interest everyone. Standards are high, and the rules of entry are strict ... but I can honestly say that the honour of winning a nomination is all the more rewarding as a result.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

A new bird for the Homyachok Challenge!

Encouraged by the success of my quilled woodpecker, I decided to create a new bird for entry into this month's Homyachok Challenge.

This one is a bird of paradise, and the picture incorporates many of the techniques that I learned while making the woodpecker: vortex coils to fill the main areas of plumage; large wheatears for the tail feathers; 'beehive' coils for the tree branch ... and a mix of 3mm and 1.5mm strips to create depth. For added emphasis, I decided to wrap each distinct area of plumage twice around with a white strip. I also experimented with adding some gently curved 1.5mm green strips 'papergraphics-style'  to give detail to the long background leaves.

Now that it's complete, I can almost hear the sounds of the rain forest with the bustle of insects and the raucous calls of other creatures, accompanied by the steady fall of rain!

Wish me luck!!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Look at her now!!

IMG by Philippa Reid

Here she is ... my quilled green woodpecker on the front page of Hampshire WI News, October 2012!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

12 out of 12

My friend's grand-daughter will be twelve years old on 12-12-2012 ... so the theme for the card she wanted me to make for her was obvious!

The card I've made features a digital background (created in Photoshop) with two 12's set against some crazy colours, and a quilled 12 in the foreground fashioned in 'papergraphics' style!

I'm quite pleased with the way the quilled numerals have turned out. I used a board and pins to follow the lines of the printed figures when creating the outline shapes, and glued the yellow closed loose coils in position first to keep the parallel sides in place. This kind of quilling definitely suits my 'make it up as you go along' mindset ... fun to do, and easier than it first appears!

Background 'swirls' image courtesy of Photoshop Roadmap

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Some new earrings ...

I had fun demonstrating the technique of 'beehive' quilling at the Quilling Guild's recent Shared Ideas Day, although I found it quite a nerve-wracking experience performing in front of celebrated quillers such as Jane Jenkins and Diane Boden Crane! Fortunately my hands did not tremble too much, and afterwards several Guild members found that they, too, had caught the 'beehive bug'!

I needed to stock up again on earrings for the market this week, so I've spent a couple of happy afternoons creating a few new designs - beehive style!

Here are the first ones I made - and I have to admit, I like them so much that I've decided to keep them for myself!

I created the external squares for each earring by winding a red strip four times around the wooden handle of a rubber stamp (I managed to find one that is just the right shape and size!). Then I made a pair of tiny red vortex coils (wheatear method) to fit inside one angle of each square. The beehive coils were created using pairs of conjoined black and white strips. I like to make random twists with my slotted tool when I use the beehive technique, and I am happy for the coils to form their own individual patterns when I insert the twisted strips into the retaining ring (or square, in this case!). The result is a unique design every single time, and I think the black and white combination is really striking.

I also experimented with some different shaped retaining rings (a circle and a teardrop) as you can see below. The teardrop version is filled with beehive twists made from conjoined pairs of graduated strips (an idea suggested to me by one of the many talented quillers at the Guild workshop), and I think it works quite well.


Monday, 24 September 2012

A floral fantasy in quilling

First of all, I'd like to say a really big "thank you" to everyone who has so kindly commented on my last two posts about the quilled pictures that I entered into the 2012 Guild competitions. I have been surprised and delighted by the favourable response to these two pieces! For those of you who have email addresses registered on Blogger, I have tried to send you a reply direct. In other cases, I've done my best to contact people via their blogs. For anyone I may have missed, however, please know that I appreciate your comments very much.

It's been a hectic few days for me, putting up photos of the recent Quilling Guild meeting and Shared Ideas Day on Facebook, and responding to the huge number of comments that were posted as a result. There has been an enormous amount of interest shown in the event by quillers right around the world, for whom sight of the photos definitely seems to have been "the next best thing to being there". For those of you who would love to have attended this fabulous quilling event in the UK, I've got some good news: plans for next year's event are already well underway, giving you plenty of advance notice if you would like to join us in 2013. So make a note in your 2013 diary for 10th and 11th August, when the Quilling Guild's 30th Anniversary Celebration of Quilling will be held at Liverpool University in the north of England.  This will be the Guild's 5th International Festival of Quilling, and detailed information will be published in a few weeks' time ... believe me, you won't want to miss it!

Meanwhile, I'm coming back down to earth now with a picture of my third competition entry for 2012 which was made for the Freestanding Quilling category at the Guild's recent display. No prizes for me here, but I was quite pleased with this little 'floral fantasy' piece which is mounted on a self-supporting stand made from two extra-wide 'P' coils. I used some open filigree coils and huskings for the green sections, plus a cut eccentric coil for the central bloom, whose spiky pink and purple petals are twisted in various different ways. I added a 'white mist' of unsupported 'beehive twists' in the background too, plus some classic folded roses to decorate the stand. The blue zig-zag decoration on the front is just a strip of blue gift wrap cut with pinking shears!

It looks big in the photo, but the whole piece is actually just 12cm tall.

For anyone planning a freestanding design, I think the large 'P' coil supports (made from strips cut from card) offer quite a bit of potential as a stable base for quilling, and they look quite elegant too!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

A long-distance flyer

Well, here she is at last: my quilled woodpecker! I had intended to post this yesterday, but found my whole day taken up with putting details of last weekend's amazing Quilling Guild display of work on the Guild's Facebook group page - the interest in this event has been phenomenal! Quillers from all over the world have been avid to see pictures of the quilling work on show and the competition winners ... and from the response I've already received, the pictures I posted did not disappoint! I'll be putting more pictures up on Facebook every day this week.

Anyway, to return to the woodpecker ... believe me, this is a well-travelled bird! I originally quilled her for entry into to North American Quilling Guild's 'Framed Quilling' competition at NAQGCON 2012, so she has already flown across the Atlantic and back! And while she was there, she managed to achieve a fleeting appearance on American TV!

Then, last weekend, I took her to Lutterworth where she proudly stood amongst other quillings on the Master's category table in the 2012 Quilling Guild competitions.

Sadly, she failed to achieve sufficient votes from members to gain winning status at either Guild event - but I am very proud of her, nonetheless.

She is actually a Green Woodpecker - a brightly coloured species of bird which is commonly found in English woodlands. Her plumage is mainly fashioned out of tiny vortex coils, which I made using a combination of shades to try and echo the subtle variations that occur in the natural colouration of the feathers. I have found that vortex coils are ideal for filling in large areas - perhaps even better than teardrop and marquise shapes, because they can be manipulated to fit the most awkward of spaces!

I made the tree trunk using self-supporting 'beehive' quilling (i.e. not contained within a shape) whose coils were glued together at countless different 'anchor points'. I used 1.5mm strips for the trunk to give the appearance of depth to the picture, since the rest of the bird was made from 3mm strips.

She may not have been considered a 'winner' in Guild members' eyes, but my woodpecker is actually about to hit the big time in the UK as a guest of our Women's Institute (WI) organisation! I'm very proud to say that Hampshire Federation WI is going to feature her on the front cover of their October magazine, with a little story about my quilling exploits on the inside. The ladies at my local WI are all VERY excited about this, so the woodpecker will soon be making one more outing to attend our next group meeting ... after which she will hopefully enjoy a well-earned rest on my dining room wall.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Read all about it!!

Well, what a wonderful weekend we've just had at the Quilling Guild's annual celebration of all things quilling here in the UK!

On Saturday, we had our Annual General Meeting, coupled with competitions, demonstrations, the chance to buy all manner of quilling supplies ... AND the most breathtaking displays of paper filigree work. Then, on Sunday, we had our equally fabulous Shared Ideas Day at which quillers from across the world gathered to socialise and learn techniques from one another. My senses are still on overload, and I would not have wanted to miss a single minute!

I'll be posting lots more detail about what went on over the course of the next few days, but I want to start with the pictures that I promised of my winning entry in the Quilling In A Frame competition category.  (I was delighted to be awarded Third Place out of a total of 14 entries - the biggest group by far - and what fantastic entries they were!)  Unfortunately, I couldn't get wi-fi in the hotel where we were staying, and if I had tried to upload the pictures over my painfully-slow Vodafone connection, I would still be waiting for it to finish now!  So here goes ...

I actually completed this picture last winter, after several weeks of work. It was originally inspired by the design of a beautiful ceramic tile which hangs in our downstairs bathroom, and I saw it as an opportunity to try out just about every type of quilling shape I know!

So I utilised pinched eccentric coils (the lemons); vortex coils (many of the bricks); open filigree work with solid coils (the fruit trees, steps and balcony); marquises, teardrops and eyes (everywhere!); wheatear huskings (the plant and terracotta pot); 'packets' of flat crimped strips (the distant ocean); beehive coils to fill in the windows and door; a mixture of contrasting marquises and beehive coils (the waves tumbling on to the beach) ... in fact, just about every technique I could think of!

To give the picture depth, I added the balcony, starfish and seaweed as separate layers, and had the whole thing framed in a triple mount (not shown) for added impact.

I worked on a tracing of the shapes delineating the various sections of the picture, which was covered in cling-film and held in place by pins on a mounting board. In order to keep the picture within straight edges while I was quilling, I purchased the inner mount first and worked within it, using a reverse bevel cut to hold the quilling in. I lifted the entire quilling from the board in a single piece (an anxious moment, believe me!!), before gluing it to a neutral-coloured backing paper (pale blue) and taking it to be framed.

I feel very proud of this picture, because it is definitely the most ambitious piece of artwork I have ever created, and I was delighted by the admiring comments that I received from so many Guild members on Saturday. I'd like to thank ALL of them for giving me their vote!

Saturday, 15 September 2012

What a day!

I just had a GREAT day at the Quilling Guild's annual display here in the UK. My framed quilled picture won third place in its class .... Mobile Wi-fi is way too slow here to upload picture, but you can see it on my Quilliance Facebook page! Will post properly next week ....

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Sunday, 9 September 2012

An eventful year draws to a close ...

No, I know we haven't even had Christmas yet ... but, for me, the 'quilling year' begins and ends in September with the Quilling Guild's annual meeting and display here in the UK.

I'm finding it hard to believe that it's already 12 months since these two little quillings of mine were awarded trophies at the 2011 Quilling Guild event:

... yet now it's time to pack the trophies away and return them, ready to be passed on to this year's competition winners.  I'll miss them!!

This year's event is going to be held at Lutterworth College, Bitteswell Road, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 4EW, UK, on Saturday 15th September, and will be open to the public from 12.30pm (entry fee £2). Members of the Quilling Guild can enter free of charge, and many of them will be attending the Guild's annual general meeting which will be held at 10.30am, before all the other visitors come in.  You can find full details of the event on the Guild's website via this link: .

Believe me, if you're interested in quilling and you'll be in the UK next Saturday, you've simply GOT to be there!  It's a fantastic opportunity to meet up with fellow quillers from around the world, many of whom you will probably already know from quilling groups on Facebook and right here in blogland!! There will be breathtaking displays of quilling on show, demonstrations from the experts, merchandise on sale from popular traders and, of course, all the excitement of this year's competitions ... who will receive the trophies this time around?

I've prepared entries for several of the competition categories, although of course I cannot reveal any of them until after the event! I'm sure I can't possibly be as lucky in the competitions as I was last year, but you never know! I've had loads of fun creating my entries over the past few months, and am looking forward to sharing them with you right here on Quilliance.

Quite apart from all that, however, what an eventful twelve months it's been! I've managed to get some of my quilling work into a local gallery ... I've stepped up my programme of quilling workshops and demos in venues as diverse as village halls, a historic mansion and an elderly care home ... and I'm proud to say that I've recently been asked to serve on the Committee of the Quilling Guild - a role which will involve me in spreading the word about the benefits of Guild membership whenever and wherever I can.

For me, next Saturday's event is definitely going to be the highlight of them all, so I hope you'll forgive me for devoting so much space to it here. Who else will be going? Please leave me a comment to say if you are, and I'll be sure to look out for you next weekend!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Some new cards taking shape ...

Taking my lead from sales last week at the market, I've been working on two new cards. Both are based on designs I've created before, but I decided to bring them right up to date with 'mark two' versions that feature new techniques.

The first, a 'Get Well' card, utilises a background photo of a fabulous bouquet of flowers which came my way a year or two ago. Of course, I immediately thought about quilling a butterfly to put on it, but then I thought "no, let's try something different". So I punched out some leaves and a scallop-edged flower shape from pearlised gift-wrap paper, stuck them to the card, and set about decorating the shapes with short sections of 1.5mm twisted 'beehive' quilling. For the flower, I used a tight coil of 3mm crimped yellow to form the centre, then added pairs of gently curved 3mm pink strips to demarcate the petals, before filling in the petal sections with 1.5mm 'beehive' twists. Twisted sections like these are normally contained within the fixed borders of an outline shape, so I found it a little more challenging to use them 'free-form' to make the vein pattern on the leaves, but it's really just a matter of choosing sufficient 'anchor points' when you are gluing the pattern down.

My second project was a Wedding card. I've used the church porch picture as a background before, but this time I processed the image through my favourite Photoshop filters to create a 'painted' effect. It looks richer and more attractive than the original photograph, I think. Then I punched two heart shapes out of white paper, dry-embossed one of them with a swirly effect, and added a combination of filigree and 'beehive' quilling to decorate them. The swirl at the base is made from two conjoined strips - a construction which I find is much less likely to unravel when it comes to gluing!

Having made these, it will probably now be several weeks - or months! - before I am next asked for a 'Get Well' or a 'Wedding' card at the market ... but at least I will be ready!!

Friday, 31 August 2012

A digital dalliance

Having been so busy for so many weeks, I decided to indulge myself with a little 'digital dalliance' these last few days. Followers of Quilliance will know that I enjoy playing about with digital art almost as much as I love quilling (note: I did say "almost"!), so I found it quite relaxing to return to the challenge of combining the two once again.

Those of you who were 'with' me here in blogland at the beginning of July may recall that I had a phase of trying to create digital 'background paper' images for my quilled cards - and there was one design left over that I did not get time to use. So here it is: a textured paper image embellished with medallion shapes and a few additional Photoshop 'brushes' that somehow reminds me of art from the ancient world. All I've done is decorate it with some VERY simple solid coil quilling, using metallic-edged strips ... but I like the end result!

And then ... I was completely beguiled by some copyright-free 'retro' digital backgrounds that I found on the excellent Photoshop Roadmap Facebook page.  So I started doing some crafty 'layering' of  different 'papers', and these two cards are the result. (OK, I KNOW the second one doesn't have any quilling in it, but please humour me here - I was having fun playing, and centred the design on an extracted photographic image of a daisy flower!)

I absolutely love these crazy patterns!

So, as you can see, the creative juices are definitely flowing once again ... and who knows what next week is going to bring? Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Back to normal ... at last!!

Well, it's taken a while - but I think I've finally caught up with myself at last!  I've finished the competition entries that I'll be taking to the Quilling Guild's annual display in two weeks' time; I've replenished my stock of quilled items for the market; I've made real progress with the features I'm currently writing for the Quillers Today and Quill America Guild members' magazines ... and I've had a blissfully quiet couple of days to myself, in which I've been able to start working on some new card ideas once again.

I needed a new anniversary card design. Some of you may recognise the two daisies in the background picture which I've used before in the form of a photograph - but, this time, I've processed the image using some of my favourite Photoshop filters to produce an effect which looks as though it has been painted. OK, it's a bit of digital trickery - but I think it's a very exciting one!

I created the butterfly in the old Victorian way, using open ring coils that I made by winding strips around different sized dowels and then gently pinching them into shape. I filled the wings with short lengths of strip which have been 'twisted' at intervals using a slotted tool - a technique which many quillers are now calling 'beehive'. The end result reminds me very much of the network of veins that can be seen when you look closely at a real butterfly's wings.

Without giving too much away, the purple 'beehive' sections were pieces I had left over from one of my Quilling Guild competition entries, made using 3mm purple strips which are edged with copper - one of my favourite colour combinations.

Now that the competition date is almost upon us (15th September ... not long to go now!), it will only be a few more weeks before I can reveal all the special projects that I've been working on this year - some dating all the way back to the middle of last winter. Some of these pieces have already travelled to North America and back for this year's NAQGCON event - and soon they'll be posted here on Quilliance for everyone to see. I'm so looking forward to sharing them with you.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Exciting times

Well, the truth is, my friends, that I've been struggling to keep up!  Since my last post, I had a very successful day at our village art show (can it really be two weeks ago...?), after which I spent several days quilling at high speed to try and replace all the cards and earrings I had sold!

It's high summer here in the UK, with some hot sunny weather at long last - so I've also been enjoying several days out and a relaxing weekend away in the country with friends.

I'm still experimenting with digital art whenever I get a chance - here's another of my cards which combine a simple flourish of quilling with a photographic image that I've processed in Photoshop. This one was a special order, made recently for a friend.

PLUS, I'm working hard in my new role as a member of the Quilling Guild committee, trying to spread the word about the benefits of membership ... you'll be reading LOTS more about this in the weeks and months to come.

Meanwhile, I'm also putting the finishing touches to my competition entries which I'll be taking to the Guild's annual Meeting and Display of Work in four weeks' time.

So, these are exciting times indeed!  One day soon, I hope to get back into my normal routine of trying out new ideas with experimental quilling, and posting them regularly on my blog.  But it isn't going to happen for a few more weeks.

I'll leave you with another picture, which was taken at the recent quilling workshop that I gave at a local care home for the elderly (that's my mother in the picture, by the way!)  Doing that workshop was a challenging experience, to say the least - but it was rewarding, too, and I hope to do some more quilling with the residents there later in the year.

So you haven't heard the last of me just yet!!

Thursday, 2 August 2012

Still here!!

I can't believe it ... ten days have gone by, and I'm in yet another of those 'long time, no post' situations! What's my excuse? Well, I've just done a quilling demonstration in an elderly care home (more of that in a future post); I've been helping to publicise The Quilling Guild's forthcoming annual display of quilling (the highlight of my calendar!); I'm preparing work to display at our village art show on Sunday - and I've been restocking with cards and earrings for my regular Friday market, where sales have been quite healthy of late.

Also, I've been delving deeper into the fascinating world of Photoshop, having a go a creating a hand painted, 'watercolour'  look for some of my photographic cards. I start with one of my own photographs, and apply various filters to generate an artistic appearance - it's absolutely magical! And, needless to say, the end result provides a brilliant background for some quilling.  Let me show you what I mean:

You'll be seeing plenty more of these in future posts, I'm sure. Meanwhile, it's busy, busy ... I really must get back to mounting some quilled earrings that I've just finished making!!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Quilling at The Vyne

Well, I'm finally back at my computer after a wonderful weekend of quilling!

Yesterday, I attended a meeting of the Quilling Guild committee where we discussed exciting plans for the forthcoming Quilling Displays and Shared Skills Day at Lutterworth (Leicestershire, UK) on 15th/16th September 2012 - and also for what promises to be an unmissable celebration of international quilling to be staged in the UK in 2013 ... watch this space for details!

Meanwhile, on Saturday, I had the great pleasure of staging a quilling demonstration/'make and take' workshop at a magnificent 500-year old Tudor mansion in Hampshire called The Vyne, as a guest of The National Trust.

There was a special event being staged at The Vyne on that day, celebrating the mansion's historic connections with the English Regency period author, Jane Austen, who mentions the art of quilling in her famous novel, Sense and Sensibility.

In late 18th century/early 19th century England, quilling was highly regarded alongside needlework as a respectable artistic 'accomplishment' for young ladies. Paper filigree work was often used to decorate items such as tea caddies, fire screens, cabinets and picture frames, with several wonderful examples surviving to this day in various historic houses and museums.

I decided to follow the Jane Austen theme by creating a pattern of quilled shapes that could be used to decorate a picture frame containing her portrait. I purchased a suitable cardboard mount for the picture, and showed visitors how quilling could be used to form an intricate filigree pattern around the frame, offering them the opportunity to roll a few coils for themselves.

I also devised a 'make and take' project for a simple quilled greetings card, which proved very popular amongst junior visitors.

When I arrived at The Vyne on Saturday morning, I found myself surrounded by people dressed up in elegant Regency costume - it felt just like arriving on the film set of Pride and Prejudice!  Many of the visitors to the house came dressed for the Jane Austen era, and a group of Regency dancers from Hampshire delighted visitors with music and dance formations of the time.

I was honoured to be allocated space for my table in the magnificent Staircase Hall at The Vyne:

Here's my table, complete with card display and demonstration showcards:

Here you can see the pattern that I had started for the frame at the beginning of the day, adding quilled pieces as the hours went by:

And here are two of my delightful 'make and take' customers who made such a success of their quilled cards:
Lauren Rigby from Farringdon

Julia Macdonald from Burghfield Common

I enjoyed the day immensely, and the whole experience has reaffirmed the enormous pleasure I get from teaching quilling - especially when my pupils are such stars!

Thank you, Jane Austen and everyone at The Vyne!!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Still experimenting ...

There's a LOT going on in my life at the moment ... and none of it relating to craft!! However, I have managed to sneak in just a few moments of quilling over the past week - and here's my latest card: another experimental design on a 'textured' digital background.

The quilled central section comprises a bunch of tiny little curls, which I have glued down on their sides. I bordered it with some gently overlapping curves that I created by making some 'S' coils and snipping the coils away from each end. Then I used the snipped-off coils to form an outer border for the quilling. There is a digital 'drop shadow' effect under the central square to create the illusion of depth.

The multi-coloured digital pattern is actually based on a photo I took of a colourful flower bed during my visit to Devon a couple of weeks ago.  I put it through one of the amazing filters in Photoshop, and this was the result! Isn't Nature wonderful? And so is Photoshop!!

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Back home to the backgrounds ...

First of all, I want to apologise to those of you who so kindly commented on my last post and never got a reply from me. I've actually been away for the last few days, walking and relaxing in the beautiful area of  Dartmoor in south-west England ... and while I was there, I managed to delete several of the e-mailed comment notifications on my BlackBerry by mistake! So, I'd now like to say a belated "thank you" to all who were so complimentary about my recent quillings on digital backgrounds ... and show you a few more that I managed to finish just before departing on my break.

As you can probably tell, my brain is now working overtime on all the creative possibilities of Photoshop! My head is just brimming with thoughts about colour combinations and textures, and I've already got quite a number of new card designs that I've printed but haven't yet had time to quill. As the rain continues to pour down on our miserable English summer, however, I hope to be able to catch up with myself again very soon.

Here are two versions of the same background design which I've managed to turn into two very different cards:

And here's another in which I managed to use the 'gradient fill' feature in Photoshop to create a somewhat bolder background ... I suspect this card design might be more suitable for a man:

It will be interesting to see how these new cards go down with customers at the market on Friday.

Now, I really must try and break free from the computer to go and quill some more...


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