Monthly Archives: September 2014

Bordering on Antiquity

Bordering on Antiquity

I have just returned from The Quilling Guild’s fabulous AGM and Display weekend in Dereham, Norfolk, and am still buzzing with excitement over the fact that I received THREE awards for one of my competition entries!!

This framed piece, which I call ‘Bordering on Antiquity’ is one of the ‘secret’ pieces which I had been working on during all my months of blogging silence last winter/spring – finally, I have the opportunity to share it with you here!

The awards I received were:
First Place in the Masters category for Colour Sense
First Place for Technical Ability
First Place for Intricacy
… and I simply could not feel more proud.

Here are some notes that I wrote earlier about what inspired me to make the piece and how I went about creating it:

This piece was designed to explore some of the border decoration techniques seen in antique quilling and bring them together in a modern design.

Chichester Cathedral windowMy inspiration came from an interest in the concept of overlapping/interlocking circles and, in particular, a modern stained glass window seen in Chichester Cathedral (shown here) whose design I very much admire.

I wanted the background for my design to be a rich gold colour, and this influenced my choice of bright, complementary colours for the quilling which I wanted to ‘jump off the page’ as if lit from behind (rather like the stained glass window). The borders for the circle sections were hand-cut from light card which I knew would hold its shape after being curved to the necessary radius. The card I chose for the brown circle borders is semi-metallic with a slightly bronzed effect to complement the sparkling metallic edges of some of the quilled sections. With the exception of the fringed flower petals, all the strips used in this project were 3mm in width.

Corner viewI began by creating some overlapping circle and spiral shapes on my computer, set within a square border. I printed this out and placed it under clingfilm on a mounting board into which pins could be inserted. To delineate the square border, I ‘bandaged’ and cut to size four batches of strips which were glued together at the corners and held in place with pins. I then cut and curved the cardboard strips for the circular and spiral sections, gluing them into position and securing with pins. These marked out the various sections which I wanted to fill using techniques seen in antique quilling.

Techniques used:

Spiral: tight pegs and an alternating pattern of closed loose coils and curved teardrops, seen in the 19th century instructions for Mosaicon.

Border of oval ‘medallions’ made using shaped tight pegs edged with gold, closed loose coils and an outer ‘sandwich’ edge comprising plain and crimped (metallic) strips. The medallions are separated by ring coils. Use of such medallions is described in Brenda Rhodes’ ‘History of the Art of Quilling’ as an 18th century technique.

Shaped ring coil joined to tight pegs and two leaf shapes, leading the eye to the central point of the design. The shaped ring coil is another example from the Mosaicon instructions.

Border of ‘S’ coils and huskings following a suggested border design which also comes from the Mosaicon instructions.

Border comprising open coil ‘cherries’, vortex coils and teardrops, spaced using closed loose coils – my own invention – inside a ‘sandwich’ of plain and crimped metallic strips.

Pom-pom style fringed flower made by overlapping sloping strips of orange and yellow paper, with three-colour wheatear petals and a green ‘tendril’, mounted on a tight peg to raise it above the level of the circular borders.

The main challenge encountered when making this piece was scaling the border components to fit reducing-width curves, achieved by careful experimentation!

I was pleased with the way this piece turned out, but never dreamed that it would achieve such success in The Quilling Guild’s competitions. It just goes to prove, once again, that you should always expect the unexpected!

Placement cards


A moment of madness

In a moment of madness (or – to be more truthful – a series of crazy afternoons), I quilled this:


What can I tell you about it? Well, I’ve used marbled paper, embossed paper, straight lines, open coils, tight coils, cones … plus a couple of little cylinders rolled from paper that I had first punched shapes out of. (Maybe I’ll write something about these later.)

As so often happens, I made it up as I went along. It was fun. I learned a lot. It’s probably quite insane. But never mind – it makes me smile.