Tuesday, 26 June 2012

On a roll with Photoshop

I really am on such a roll with Photoshop at the moment ... my library of new background patterns for quilling is growing by the day!

Last week I found another wonderful copyright-free image on The Graphics Fairy site, which has taken me from this:

To this (the textured background 'paper' I created using Photoshop):

To this (a birthday card featuring some quilling in complementary colours):

Meanwhile, my craft table is filling up with cards that I've printed with various other new backgrounds on, just waiting to be quilled!  I'm really loving this new approach to card design ...

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Another patterned background for some quilling

This card features another patterned 'background paper' that I have created in Photoshop ready for printing. The elements that I used to create it come from a digital scrapbooking kit called 'Spring Forward' by Lonetta Avelar of Creative Victorian Designs, which was made available to readers of the excellent Papers and Pixels e-zine a couple of years ago.

I particularly liked the base paper that Lonetta had used in her kit, because it is slightly crumpled with a drop shadow alongside it, creating a very convincing illusion of 'real' paper when it is printed! Using Photoshop, I added some of the leaf and floral elements contained in the kit, positioning them in a semi-random way to create my background pattern.

Here's the finished 'paper' that I created:

The card design also utilises one of Lonetta's lacey borders in a complementary colour, which I have positioned 'over' the main background square.

And the quilling? I have tried to create a sprig of variegated leaves by filling up some open teardrop shapes with 'beehive' twists in two different shades of green. Then, for some reason, I decided to embellish the leaves with a crazy pink tendril ... what does that tell you about the jungle of my mind?

Monday, 18 June 2012

Backgrounds to the fore!

Lately, it's struck me how fabulous quilling can look when set against a background of patterned papers. Until now, my card designs have mainly utilised photographs or simple digital graphics as backgrounds for quilled motifs, so I thought it was time I started experimenting with more elaborate patterns. Instead of purchasing a pack of patterned papers from the craft shop, however, I decided to try and create a few of my own digitally using Photoshop so that the designs could be printed directly on to card.

Here's the first one I came up with ... starting with a basic 'textured paper' image, I simply added an array of flower and leaf images from Photoshop's impressive range of 'brushes':

Then I made a plainer one to complement the first, using another little shape from the Photoshop brush 'library'.

Put them together, and here's what you get:

The design at the top of this post utilises another combination of the same two 'papers', manipulated digitally in Apple's Pages software to create different backgrounds for quilling.

I think these papers bring a much softer touch to my card designs.  There's plenty of potential here!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Quilling with parallel huskings

In yesterday's post, I talked about the medallion graphics I discovered on the excellent Graphics Fairy site, and how I've been working on some card designs combining them with quilling.

Well here's my latest card, in which I have attempted to replicate a section of one of the medallion patterns using paper strips ... and which has led me to try and push the boundaries of the husking technique just a little bit:

 This is the section of pattern in the uppermost medallion that I wanted to partially replicate:

While studying it, I realised that I would not be able to reproduce the ribbed 'fan' section using the traditional method of alternate side looping, because the ribs lie in parallel to one another rather than all linking back to a shared central point.

So I decided to create each rib separately using a single loop around a pair of needles, using a tiny spot of glue to close it at the base. Having completed the first rib, I re-inserted the needles right next to it for the next one (following the curve of the pattern) and created a new loop which is attached to the first with just a little trace of glue along the side. Each subsequent rib was then created and attached separately in this way.

Each rib has a tiny loop at the bottom where my strip was secured to the base needle, and I think this creates quite an attractive pattern in the finished motif. What do you think?

Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Marvellous medallions!

I'm always on the look-out for interesting graphics to complement my quilling, and I recently came across some beautiful medallion designs on Karen's Graphics Fairy blog (this site is a really excellent source of old, out-of-copyright illustrations which can freely be used in craft projects).

I've utilised two of the medallions on this new monochrome card design, which, as you can see, incorporates an additional splash of colour in the form of quilling!  I like the crisp, black lines of the medallion graphics, and managed to find a suitable typeface (Academy Engraved LET) to match.

I've been meaning to experiment with closed bordered quillwork for some time, and making this particular motif was an interesting challenge. I started with the central red teardrop (made using a crimped strip), bordered it with a series of tight ring coils and then added three layers of crimped yellow gold as an edging. The purple open scrolls were an afterthought, but I think they balance the piece quite well.

My quilled shape is intended to echo the various shapes that appear in the medallion patterns, which seem to me to be an excellent source of quilling inspiration. More about that in my next post ...

Monday, 11 June 2012

Testing out some textures ...

Well, I'm pleased to report that I sold quite a few quilled cards over the weekend at our market and village festival, so I'm busily re-stocking once again!

In addition to remaking some of my most popular designs (why change a successful formula?), I also decided it was high time I created something new ... and ended up revisiting a file of digital 'textured paper' graphics which I have had on my computer for ages but never actually used!  The images I've used as backgrounds in these two cards were actually freebies which came with one of the very first editions of the excellent Papers and Pixels e-zine, courtesy of their designer Laura Boetto.  They were originally intended for use in digital scrapbooking projects, but I processed them using my trusty Pages software to create some basic background panels - then added some quilling as you see here.

The method for making the flower on the first of these two cards needs no explanation, but I think it looks quite neat on top of that grainy, textured paper image.

The flower in the second card was created by making a two-tone eccentric coil using yellow and orange strips, then cutting and curling the ends of some of the outer loops. I also 'pinched' some of the remaining un-cut loops of the coil to give the flower centre a teardrop shape. The background 'texture' image is not quite so obvious in this picture (blame the bad light on this torrentially rainy English summer's day!), but it has a subtle chequerboard effect rather like a woven fabric.

Now I'm off to play with something else that's completely new!  Hope to share it soon ...

Thursday, 7 June 2012

Through the eye of a needle ...

Having recently said that I've been turning my attention to bigger projects, I've found my card-making back in the spotlight this week following a flurry of special orders!

This latest card was an interesting challenge: a joint 80th birthday card for a couple whose birthdays fall very close together, who belong to a camera club, and whose main interests are photography and needlework respectively!

Well, there's a combination! I've come up with this card, which features the digital image of a film strip to frame the number 80 and some quilling.  In the blue box, for the husband, is my less than perfect attempt to quill an old-fashioned camera using vortex coils ... and in the pink box, for the wife, I've created a couple of needles (with looped-over 'eyes') out of silver quilling strips, which I've managed to 'thread' with a couple of 1.5mm strip coils.

You know me - I like a challenge!  But I'm beginning to wonder what I'm going to be asked to come up with next!

Saturday, 2 June 2012

Two of my quilled pictures now on sale at Gallery Fifty Five!

This morning, I visited Gallery Fifty Five in Hartley Wintney (a village in Hampshire, southern England) where I already have some quilled jewellery on sale. To my delight, the gallery owner was very enthusiastic about the two new quilled pictures which I took along to show her ... and now she is going to display them for sale alongside my brooches and earrings!

Both these pictures have been featured here on Quilliance before, but now I have framed them and it was actually a relief to get them safely protected behind glass! I purchased these deep shadow frames in Ikea, and I've found they are perfect for displaying layered quillings or multi-media collages like these.

I thought my "Summer Flowers" looked quite dramatic inside a black frame ...

... and I decided to use a white one for this very abstract piece which I've called "Shard". This design actually pays homage to a dramatic new building which now dominates the skyline in central London, and which is called "The Shard". It is so named because it actually does look like a jagged shard of glass, and I've tried to echo the shape in the triangular background to my collage-style gold 'tiles'.

This one may not be to everybody's taste, but I like to experiment with less traditional images from time to time, and it's exciting to try and incorporate quilling into subjects which are literally 'cutting edge'!!

We're hoping that the display of these pictures will help to stimulate interest in my upcoming quilling workshop for beginners which is to be held at the gallery on 23rd June 2012. Further information is available under the 'Workshops' tab on the Gallery Fifty Five website which you can visit by clicking here.


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