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 email@example.com or leave a comment below.