Magdalificence!

Magdalificence copyrighted

Here’s the final creation in my series of Somerset-related quilled collages which I hope to exhibit at the forthcoming Taunton Live 2016 arts festival in July.

I’ve called this one ‘Magdalificence’, since it features (and was inspired by) Taunton’s truly magnificent parish church of St Mary Magdalene.

This is such a beautiful church that it is hard to know where to begin when trying to describe it. At the top of my collage, you’ll see a picture of its iconic Somerset tower which is very much a local landmark. When you enter the church through its main doors, it really does feel as though you are entering into the company of angels! There are two herald angels engraved on to a wonderful pair of inner glass doors, and – once inside – you can see many more fabulously painted carved angels looking down at you along the nave from the church’s lofty ceiling. The stained glass windows in the church are gorgeous, casting rich colours across the beautifully carved pews, which have previously inspired me with some of their tracery patterns.

The basis of this collage is an arch shape cut from cardboard, which I have decorated using decoupage. I wanted the colours of the arch to echo the richness and brilliance of the stained glass windows in an abstract way, which prompted me to try a little experimentation! I tore some colourful glossy magazine pages into tiny pieces and stuck these down all over the arch with ‘Decopatch’ glue, quite randomly and overlapping. This type of glue is also a varnish, drying to give a glossy surface which I have ‘toned down’ using pieces of semi-opaque tissue and pieces torn from the inner ply layers of paper napkins. I’ve only recently discovered that the thin layers which make up paper napkins, kitchen towel, toilet tissue and such like are loosely joined together using an embossing process – and the embossing comes in some amazing raised patterns! By gently applying torn pieces on top of a collage with the embossed side facing upwards, it’s possible to add some very interesting textures over and above the colours underneath.

In homage to the angels of St Mary Magdalene, I have included a pair of quilled sparkly white ‘angel wings’ above the apex of the arch, made by shaping eccentric closed loose coils – yes, it was a challenge getting them to match!

The arch is delineated with a multiple ‘sandwich’ of silver-edged quilling strips (with crimped ones in the centre) as used in my other pieces. I then decorated the inside of the arch with clusters of ring coils in sparkly white and gold-edged gold.

I like to think that this is an extra-special piece, with a bright, uplifting and refreshing feel to it, rather like the church itself.

Magdalificence will be placed on public display at various locations (including Taunton) in the coming months. Should you be interested in purchasing something similar (custom-made), please contact me by emailing quilliancemail@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

 

 

Quilling the Taunton Live logo

In July, I will be hosting two quilling workshops as part of the Taunton Live 2016 arts festival – one a ‘drop-in’ make and take session in the town’s main shopping centre on Thursday 21st, and the other a pre-bookable three hour workshop in Taunton Library on Friday 22nd. The festival organisers have been extremely supportive of me and my quilling, which is a real thrill for me as I am delighted to be able to participate in such an exciting event in the town that I love!

A while ago, I was asked whether I’d like to have a go at quilling the festival logo, which is a colourful swirly design as you can see here:

Taunton Live Logo_1C - Copy (2)

So, of course, I thought: yes, I can do that! The idea of reproducing the swirls with fanned-out multi-strip open coils immediately sprang to mind. Once I got started, however, I realised that the task was a little more challenging than it had at first appeared.

Look closely at the logo, and you’ll see that the thickness of swirls is maintained throughout much of the length of each one, rather than tapering sharply as a multi-strip open coil normally would. So I found myself having to add extra bundles of multiple strips to my open coils in order to bulk out the shapes so that they conformed more closely with the design.

Also, there are subtle colour variations in each swirl which I also needed to ‘suggest’ in my quilling.

Here you can see the first logo that I quilled, taking these challenges into account:

DSCF7386

Well, I’m pleased to say that the festival organisers were very pleased with my effort and asked whether I’d be willing to quill a second one, with the intention that both finished pieces could be presented during the event as prizes. What an honour! So I took up the challenge once again, but this time I decided to use a different technique.

Now, I’m not normally a fan of filling in large open spaces with eye/leaf shapes – but I decided that on this occasion the closed loose coil approach might be a better way of creating the swirls.

So, out came my work board and pins, and I tried this different approach, moulding my coils to fit one other within the confines of each swirl outline, before wrapping everything around with a containing strip.

Here’s how it turned out:

Taunton Live logo #2

… and here’s a ‘work in progress’ shot – note the numerous pin holes left over from the completed swirls!

Taunton Live logo work in progress

For each of the little crescents, I found it was necessary to mould a whole-strip eye shape around a dowel and glue it on the back to hold the shape securely. Once again, pins were essential for this purpose.

For the ‘hint’ of colour variation, I’ve added an extra strip (or two!) on one side of each swirl’s outer border as you can see.

All in all, this was an interesting and enjoyable exercise. Now I just need to frame the pieces and look forward to seeing who will receive them as prizes in July!

As a postscript to this story, my first logo is currently being used as the cover photo on the GoCreate Taunton Facebook page!