Yes, I do quill flowers … occasionally!!

It seems I’ve got a bit of a reputation … and deservedly so, because it’s based on an indisputable fact: I’m not particularly ‘into’ quilling flowers!!

I CAN quill them, of course, and I have made many, many of them in the past during my ‘card-making years’ – but these days my preference leans much more towards abstract work than conventional quilled ‘prettiness’. I’ve always been a bit of a rebel, and I guess it shows in style of the work that I generally produce.

However … I did make an exception this year when I created a card to enter into one of the prestigious craft competitions at Taunton Flower Show – a very high-profile horticultural and country show staged annually in the South West of England.

The requirement was for a card to welcome the arrival of a new-born baby, and here’s my design, made to conform strictly to the competition criteria of ‘an original design using no commercially-made embellishments’:

It's a girl copyrighted

Flower close-up copyrightedI decided that, if I was going to make a quilled flower, it would definitely have to be a ‘wow factor’ one! So I set to work with a combination of huskings made on onion-holder prongs, ‘curly’ pixie-hood loops (as first pioneered by my friend Janetta van Roekel), teardrop shapes and a central fringed pom-pom using a graduated strip – all in one of my favourite colour combinations.

I quilled the lettering using a multi-strip outline technique that I learned from Jane Jenkins and which we are, incidentally, going to feature in the Autumn 2015 issue of ‘Quillers Today‘ magazine because I’m sure that many other quillers will be interested to try it.

Anyway, my decision to go down a more conventional, ‘prettily designed’ route definitely paid off, as I won an award for this particular card at the Flower Show. That really meant a very great deal to me since Taunton (where the Show was held) has always occupied a very special place in my heart.

It goes to prove, too, that exceptions do sometimes prove the rule … now, will my reputation remain intact?

An undersea fantasy

Octopus copyrighted

Now that the Quilling Guild‘s competitions for 2015 are over, I can finally share with you my ‘fantasy octopus’ which is pictured here.

This piece comprises literally thousands of quilled pieces, which took me well over six months to complete and assemble! The shape of the octopus is bordered with tiny solid coils (all fastidiously made without holes in the middle!), while the grey infill pieces are a combination of tiny ‘S’ shaped open coils and mini vortexes.

The suckers are all solid coils made using sequential permutations of two carefully chosen sets of colours. They vary in size to reflect the pulsating movement of an octopus when it swims. On some tentacles two rows of suckers are showing, while on others there is only one row; this reflects the way the octopus constantly rotates its ‘limbs’ as it moves through the water.

I mounted the octopus on a multi-layered ‘mat’ of specialist papers to create a semi-transparent watery effect. This was accidentally enhanced when the piece was on public display in a marquee earlier this year, where high humidity and condensation produced unintentional ‘ripples’ in the background water in an unexpected act of serendipity!!

The photo you see above was taken BEFORE the marquee experience, which occurred when I entered the octopus into a competition at the highly prestigious Taunton Flower Show in August. I’m delighted to say that the piece received an award at the show, which was especially gratifying considering that it was judged up against pieces made using many other ‘mainstream’ craft techniques such as embroidery and cross-stitch. Below you can see a photo of it at the show, in its ‘rippled’ state – which I now consider to have been a very ‘happy accident’!

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