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!

Portcullis

Portcullis

My favourite hotel in Taunton is The Castle Hotel – an historic building whose elegant facade is graced by a magnificent wisteria that bursts into flower in late April each year. At one end of the building is a tower, beneath which is an archway spanning a cobbled street. Set into the archway is a wonderful portcullis – a suspended wooden lattice which, in medieval castles, would have been raised or lowered for the purpose of access control.

I wanted to make this the subject for my latest quilled collage, which is destined to be displayed in the town during this summer’s Taunton Live arts festival.

The central image shows the hotel tower, looking its very best with the wisteria in full bloom. I constructed the shape for the collage using two different types of arch: the outer one is called a ‘shouldered arch’ whose square top allowed me to accommodate the whole of the tower and its castellations. The inner one is a simple curve echoing the shape of the real arch on which the tower is supported, giving me the opportunity to try and represent the portcullis using quilling strips.

I cannot look at the portcullis without being reminded of a garden trellis, which is why I have used it as a supporting structure for some climbing quilled wisteria. A fitting tribute, I hope, to the beauty of this lovely hotel in springtime.

Portcullis will be placed on public display at various locations 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.

Onward and upward … my Accreditation story

I launched this new blog of mine back in July 2014 with the momentous words: “It’s FINISHED!!!! The huge quilling project that I’ve been working on for the past 7 months is finally complete, but I will not be able to post anything publicly about it for quite a while yet …”

Quite a while indeed. Only now, almost two years later, can I finally reveal that I had in fact been working on my submission for The Quilling Guild‘s Higher Level Accreditation scheme … an immense personal challenge which has at last resulted in success:

Quilling Guild announcement

As explained on the Accreditation page of The Quilling Guild’s website, “The Higher Level of Accreditation demands a standard of quilling knowledge and ability which can only be achieved after many years of practice.” To enter, I had to produce a sampler folder comprising 190 different variations of recognised quilling techniques, all of which were subjected to stringent examination by a panel of experts during the assessment process. To accompany this, I was also required to submit up to five pieces of original quilled artwork to demonstrate a broad scope of expertise in different types of quilling. Wanting to give the process my very best shot, I opted to submit the full five.

It was a massive task. The sampler alone took months to complete, as I strove for perfection one shape at a time. For the Accreditation, all the sampler shapes have to be glued on to black paper, which is guaranteed to show up any accidental blobs of glue you leave behind. Needless to say, the assessors will deduct marks if your shapes are not neat and regular, and also if any glue is showing.

You are supplied with a comprehensive information pack which describes in detail exactly what the assessors are looking for in every technique – and you have to dig deep into your own quilling experience/knowledge to come up with additional variations which not only conform to the guidelines but also differ significantly from each other.

The samplers are divided into six technique categories: Closed Loose Coils, Wheatears, Open Coils, Alternate Side Looping, Tight Coils, Fringed Flowers/Pom Poms and ‘Other Techniques’ such as zig-zagging, bandaging and crimping which have their origins in antique quilling. In order to pass, you have to score at least 50% of the possible marks in each category. Accreditation cannot be awarded if marks for any one technique fall below 50%.

I did not pass first time. I fell short of the required mark in one of the categories – Closed Loose Coils – so had to re-submit that section. But, far from being a disaster, there were actually two very positive aspects to this. Firstly, I was able to ‘bank’ the marks I had already attained in all the other categories, so there was no need to do those over again. Secondly – and perhaps most important – I had learned so much and gained such a lot of valuable practice in tackling my first batch of coils that I knew I could do better second time around.

So, I re-submitted my Closed Loose Coils, and opted to repeat my Open Coils, too, because I was confident that I could improve on my original mark.

As any quiller will know, Closed Loose Coils and Open Coils are essentially similar in terms of the rolling technique that is required. For the Accreditation, you need to create spirals which are perfectly round, begin in the perfect centre, and have ‘spiracles’ (the ever-increasing circles which form a coil) that are perfectly equally spaced. Easier said than done, especially in the case of Closed Loose Coils which have to be made using 22.5 cm (9 inch) strips and must turn out no less than 13 mm (half an inch) in diameter.

If you can discern the difference between the two coils below, you are well on your way to appreciating what a perfect Closed Loose Coil should be:

Coil 1Coil 2

The coil on the left was my first attempt (glued down with trembling hands at the height of a storm, just at the moment of a power cut – but that’s another story!!). The coil on the right was my re-submitted version, and turned out much closer to what the assessors were looking for.

My ‘light bulb’ moment occurred, not as you might expect during the power cut (!!), but afterwards when I realised the true meaning of the words “a perfect spiral must begin in the perfect centre”. From that moment on, I saw the light and began to perfect my finger-rolling technique.

Now, I know that the question of whether or not to use a quilling tool has always been a controversial one. Personally, I have never used a slotted tool, as the kinked appearance of the centres of the resulting coils has always been unacceptable to me. I approached my Accreditation challenge as a firm believer in the needle tool, but even this did not give me the means to produce “perfect spirals that begin in the perfect centre”. So, kicking and screaming, I reluctantly converted to the ranks of those quillers who roll with their fingers. I have never looked back.

I learned that if you condition a strip thoroughly with your fingernail (on both sides) before rolling, and then roll it up roughly just to get a basic degree of curve in it, you can then unwind it, form a proper centre, and re-roll gently between your fingers to form a true spiral. I learned to roll and re-roll coils repeatedly, adjusting the tension as necessary. Eventually – and it did take practice – I began to witness the miracle of near-perfect coils forming themselves in my hands.

Absolute perfection is, of course, impossible – but I learned that if you have a clear picture in your mind of exactly what you are aiming for, significant improvements are absolutely within your grasp!

Applying this approach to my Open Coils, too, I managed to increase my Accreditation marks to the point where I actually achieved a Pass with Distinction!!

Make no mistake: the whole Accreditation process was very, very challenging. However, looking back on it all, I can honestly say that it was very, very, very rewarding too!

Of course, the samplers were only part of my Accreditation story. I also had to submit my five pieces of artwork which, although accounting for 20% of the overall marks, were crucial to the overall success of my submission. Without telling you what they were for, I have already featured some of my pieces here on the blog.

Here they are again:

SeahorsesYou can read more about this piece, which I’ve called “A trio of seahorses”, here.

Bordering on Antiquity

You can read more about this piece, “Bordering on antiquity”, here.

Black pearl montageI wanted to include a 3D piece as well as quilled pictures, so created this little paper sculpture called “Black pearl” – more details here.

%22Zentangle%22

Plus I also included this piece which was my attempt to translate Zentangle™ patterns into quilling, using ‘on-edge’ graphic techniques.

 

%22Quilled mosaic%22

Finally, you’ll find details of this quilled mosaic on my old blog here.

I am very proud to say that my Accreditation work will be placed on show at The Quilling Guild’s forthcoming Annual Meeting in York on 17th September 2016.

After that – who knows? I plan to focus on raising awareness of quilling as an art form and passing on what I have learned to others through demonstrations and workshops. I am very much looking forward to demonstrating quilling as part of the Taunton Live 2016 arts festival in July, where some of my quilled pictures will also be exhibited. Plus I have another exhibition to prepare for in Spring 2017 at Gallery 55 in Hartley Wintney, Hampshire.

Some may say that I am a glutton for punishment, but I couldn’t be happier. Quilling is now an integral part of my life, and I am more proud of this Accreditation achievement than anything I have ever done. Onward and upward indeed …

Tudor Timbers

 

Tudor Timbers #2

The title of this collage – Tudor Timbers – refers to the picture at the top of the arch which shows one of Taunton’s most iconic landmarks, dating from the 16th century.  This lovely half-timbered building stands right in the centre of the town, and always used to be known as the Tudor Tavern. Today it is a coffee shop, but I remember it back in the 1970s as a Berni Inn (oh happy days!!), with a separate room at the back called the Hangman’s Bar. The hangman in question was the infamous Judge Jeffries who presided over the so-called ‘Bloody Assizes’ in Taunton in the late 17th century. This followed the suppression of the ill-fated Monmouth Rebellion at the Battle of Sedgemoor, in which many local citizens had unfortunately been involved. Despite this somewhat grisly association, the Tudor Tavern remains a potent symbol of Taunton’s history, and seemed to me to be the perfect centrepiece for a Tudor-style collage. I like the way the steep roof of the Tavern zig-zags down towards the right hand side of the arch, highlighted by a subtle patina of moss on the richly coloured roof tiles.

Like my other collages, this piece is divided into brightly coloured black-bordered sections reminiscent of a stained glass window, with quatrefoil tracery shapes positioned on the inside of the arch. The tracery is constructed from 3mm pastel yellow/silver-edged quilling strips, crowned by my quilled interpretation of a Tudor rose. Two of the window panels contain typography: look closely and you will see that the one positioned towards the lower right includes the opening words to the famous Tudor song, ‘Greensleeves’. I decided to decorate this particular panel romantically with a folded paper rosebud. The interlinked silver spirals in the gold panel above it were made with a punch – I had to insert the paper first forwards and then backwards into the punch to form each pair, because the paper I used was only coated in silver on one side. (I’ve had to learn how to think both upside down and back to front when making these collages!) The serrated decorations on the left hand side of the arch were made by cutting paper with pinking shears, and I’ve also included numerous tight pegs made from gold and silver edged quilling strips throughout the design. The borders for the arch were created using the quilling strip ‘sandwich’ technique described here.

DSCF7393I promised to share the pattern for my Tudor rose, so – for the quillers amongst you – here it is:

I worked with 3mm (1/8 inch) wide quilling strips, cut into lengths as detailed below. These lengths are necessarily short, since the main body of the finished rose measures only 30mm (just over 1 inch) across – yes, be warned, it’s fiddly to make! However, the pattern could easily be scaled up if required.

Make 10 closed loose coils out of 26 mm (1 inch) lengths of crimped white paper, and five tight pegs out of 26 mm (1 inch) lengths of grey paper. Create five pairs of white coils by gluing them together side by side. Then add one grey peg to the base of each pair as shown in the photo. Glue these three-coil sets together in a ring, working over circular graph paper.

Use a yellow strip to create a tight peg big enough to fit inside the ring, and glue it in place.

Make 5 teardrops from 3 mm (1.25 inch) lengths of dark green paper and glue these in position between each pair of white coils, pointing towards the centre of the rose.

Make 5 crescent/bunny ear shapes (refer to photo) from 225 mm (8 inch) lengths of dark red paper for the rose petals and glue these in position above the white coils, separated by the dark green teardrops. Glue the tips of each petal together.

Make 5 teardrops from 3 mm (1.25 inch) lengths of lime green paper and glue these in position as shown in the centre of each red petal.

Voila!

If you use this pattern and post a photo of your Tudor rose online, I’d be grateful if you could please include an acknowledgement to me and a link to this blog post – thank you.

Tudor Timbers will be placed on public display at various locations in the coming months, including the Taunton Live 2016 arts festival. Should you be interested in purchasing something similar (custom-made), please contact me by emailing quilliancemail@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

Viva Vivary!

Viva Vivary #2

One of the many treasures to be found in Taunton (the county town of Somerset in south-west England) is a classic Victorian park which was first laid out for the public’s enjoyment in 1895.

Known as Vivary Park (after the medieval fish farm or ‘vivarium’ that was once sited there to serve Taunton’s ancient castle and priory), it features prominently in my memories of life in Taunton in the 1970s, and is still one of my favourite places to visit whenever I find myself in the town.

Vivary Park is the venue for the famous Taunton Flower Show which takes place annually in August, at which I was thrilled to win some prizes for my quilled art last year.  If you like, you can read about that particular adventure here and here.

The park has now become the subject of my latest quilled collage featuring gothic-style tracery, which aims to create a decorative ‘window’ on to this peaceful and colourful oasis in the town. At the centre is a digitally stylised picture of the gorgeous fountain which was unveiled as a memorial to the late Queen Victoria in 1907, and which is regularly re-painted in vivid bright colours which preserve its original magnificence even in modern times. The beauty of the fountain is echoed by fabulous displays of flowering plants throughout the year. There is also an elegant Victorian bandstand in the park, plus a peaceful sensory garden area – it really is such a delightful place!

I have tried to capture the rich colours of the park in this collage through my choice of background papers and the quilled flowers I made to complement them. Quillers will notice a little combed work along the edges of the deep magenta panels, nestling in between crimped-strip teardrops. The tracery is constructed using 3 mm gold-edged gold strips, triple-rolled to create ring coils around dowels. By cutting the ring coils, it is possible to make arcs that form the basis of classical gothic architectural shapes. I’m learning more and more about the geometry of tracery every time I make one of these pieces!

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

Viva Vivary!!

Gold beneath Burrow Mump

Gold beneath Burrow Mump

 

So, this is the style that I’m adopting for my gallery collection: a segmented collage of different background papers, individually bordered with black crimped paper strip ‘leading’ like the panes of a stained glass window – all contained within a rigid framework made from ‘sandwiched’ multiple quilling strips and selectively decorated with various forms of paper filigree. Continuing the stained glass window analogy, each piece is going to be framed by tracery shapes, constructed from metallic-edged quilling strips. In church architecture, tracery forms an integral part of the window, crossing the panes, whereas mine positions itself – perversely! – around the edges.

If art provides an insight into a person’s soul, this speaks volumes about my affinity with bold shapes, ideas and colours. I’m so excited that others have seen and responded positively to this unique new style of mine … and I feel as though my creativity has been unleashed in a way that I’ve really never experienced before.

Yes, it’s moving away from quilling just a bit … well, away from ‘traditional quilling’, anyway, and for that reason I suspect it may not necessarily find favour with all of my friends and acquaintances in the ‘quilling blogosphere’. However, quilling still underpins the work in so many different ways: in the tracery (ring coils, cut and joined); in the edging (straight and crimped quilling strips sandwiched together); in the decorative detail of the window panes (open coils, ring coils and delicate huskings – the very essence of filigree as practised by our ancestors).

Because the piece shown above speaks for my soul, it had to contain just a little bit of Somerset. You’ll find this in the uppermost segment: a tiny image showing the summit of Burrow Mump – an iconic hill which rises dramatically out of the flat lands of the Somerset Levels.

King Alfred the Great is known to have climbed Burrow Mump to scan the distant landscape for marauding Danes in ancient times. During the time of his reign as the King of Wessex, the area of the Somerset Levels was a vast, marshy sea in which this natural knoll stood out as an island, making it an ideal lookout post. The ruin at the top of the Mump is the medieval church of St Michael which was used as a refuge by Royalist soldiers during the Civil War. Soon afterwards, the King’s army occupied it again during the Monmouth Rebellion of 1685. The views from the summit of Burrow Mump are spectacular to say the least. As you catch your breath beside the ruined church after your steep climb, you can look out towards other ‘islands’ standing in the Levels, such as Glastonbury Tor and Alfred’s own royal Isle of Athelney. The Rivers Parrett and Tone converge at the foot of the Mump and flow away together to the Bristol Channel. It’s a truly magical place.

When creating this piece, I imagined that there might be gold deep inside the Mump, stretching out beneath the strata of the rock. Go deep enough down, and you might eventually discover subterranean water, whose colour echoes the brilliant blue of the sky above. However, I will leave my image of the Mump to speak to you in its own way …

For those who are interested in the technicalities of these things, I created the outline for this collage using a cross formation assembled using blank jigsaw pieces, which then provided templates for the individual segments of the design. The borders of the cross are delineated using my quilling strip ‘sandwich’ technique , glued down on to an outline shape which I embossed on to the blue background card over mounting board, using the crooked end of a crochet hook. In this photo, you can see how I applied tiny dots of glue into the indented outline and allowed them to go ‘tacky’ for a minute or so before placing the ‘sandwiched’ strip into position on the background card:

DSCF7358

 

I am proud of this piece, which will be placed on public display at various locations in the coming months, unless previously sold. Should you be interested in purchasing it (or maybe even something similar, custom-made), please contact me by emailing quilliancemail@gmail.com or leave a comment below.

 

 

The opportunity I’ve been hoping for!

All too often over the past few years, I’ve been unable to share photos of ‘work in progress’ here on my blog because the projects have had to be kept ‘under wraps’ … usually because they were destined to be competition entries. I very much enjoy entering competitions staged by The Quilling Guild (and other organisations I’m connected with such as Taunton Flower Show), but I love my blogging too – and now, finally, I’ve got a new objective in view that I’m able to ‘go public’ with right from the start!

I have been invited by Freda James, the owner of Gallery Fifty Five (in Hartley Wintney, southern England) to submit a collection of framed quilled/collage artworks for display in her Spring 2017 Exhibition, where I will be introduced as a Featured Artist.

This means I now have twelve whole months in which to work on creating the pieces that I plan to exhibit (and hopefully sell!), bringing me exactly where I want to be in terms of featuring my activities publicly on this blog and perhaps even enhancing my reputation as an aspiring artist.

This very exciting opportunity arose for me after I had shown Freda a quilled/collage picture that I’ve just completed. Now, true to established form, I cannot show you this particular one in its entirety just yet because I’m intending to enter it into a couple of competitions in 2016 … but I am going to share a tiny section of it here so that you can see the kind of style that I’m going to be developing for my Gallery collection:

Window section

 

It features cut-out sections of various background papers on a black background, embellished with quilled shapes and bordered with ‘sandwiched’ lengths of bundled quilling strips … all linked together with a network of the quilled tracery that I’ve been developing in recent months, and which has already been featured in several of my earlier posts this year. Once the competitions are over, this particular collage is going to be the centrepiece of my 2017 exhibit.

I’m really excited by the potential for these tracery shapes in quilling, echoing the wonderful curved and intersecting patterns that are found in gothic-style stained glass window architecture. Now I have the opportunity to develop them fully and explore their potential in some ‘proper’ art pieces.

I started with some experimentation this past weekend, after obtaining a quantity of silver-edged mixed pastel coloured 3mm strips which have allowed me to try making some ‘multi-coloured’ tracery pieces:

Coloured tracery

 

The initial results are quite pleasing, I think. I obtained these pastel-coloured strips privately, but will be happy to share details of the supplier on request.

I also plan to do lots more work with the wonderful solid gold/gold edged and solid silver/silver edged strips from JJ Quilling Design that I now have in my stash and which have brought me the closest I’ve ever been to feeling that I’m actually working with precious metals.

Right now, I’m starting to put together my next piece in which quilled tracery will be featured centre-stage … and I’ll definitely be sharing it here as the work progresses. Maybe there are some potential buyers out there who are going to like what they see – well, you never know!!

 

 

Mullions, transoms and tracery

Tracery bouquet

Quilled tracery design by Philippa Reid; lace effect graphic courtesy of Karen Stimson

In Somerset – these things always seem to happen to me in Somerset – I was struck last year by an aspect of church architecture which I had never really noticed properly before.

I used to live near to the lovely old country town of Langport, and like to return there whenever I’m in the area – these days, it’s quite a ‘hot-bed’ of contemporary and traditional arts.

During a visit to the town’s breathtakingly beautiful All Saints Church, I stopped to look – really look – at the wonderful stained glass windows in the church, which are complemented by beautiful examples of tracery.

As I mentioned in my last post, tracery is the network of interlaced ornamental stone ‘ribs’ which can be seen supporting the panes of coloured glass. The upright posts in such windows are called ‘mullions’, while the horizontal cross-pieces are called ‘transoms’. Now, I’m not entirely sure where mullions and transoms stop and tracery begins, but I do know that the overall effect can be stunning, and the patterns which are formed can – with a little imagination – be effectively translated into quilling.

This has set me off on a real ‘quilled tracery kick’ which is taking me on an interesting journey of experimentation and discovery.

The basis of the tracery I’ve been making has been ring coils cut into consistently-sized incomplete circles (horse-shoe shapes). By gluing these cut circles side by side, I’ve been able to create patterns like this:

DSCF7275

… which has then led on to some new ideas for card designs:

Tracery fish

Tracery #2

Last week I was in Somerset again, and took some time to check out the fabulous church architecture to be found in the county town of Taunton. I took this photo of St George’s Roman Catholic church, whose main tower window is a classic example of the way in which tracery patterns can be linked together:

IMG-20160113-00065

Then I visited the amazing church of St Mary Magdalene where I discovered that these tracery patterns are also evident in carved wood pew-ends, the font cover and ornamental seats like this:

IMG-20160113-00067

The pattern in the photo above interested me, because in a way it’s ‘tracery within tracery’ – take a close look and you’ll see what I mean. So I had a go at reproducing the shape using metallic edged gold and silver strips – and this is the result:

DSCF7288DSCF7290

I love these patterns – they really to offer SUCH design potential. So please bear with me, because I suspect I am going to be continuing on my ‘tracery kick’ for quite some time to come!!

Tracery and deconstruction

Every now and then, my love of experimentation gets the better of me and I eagerly set convention aside to try some ‘different’ forms of quilling.

DSCF7273Regular readers of this blog will know that I often like to cut things up when trying something new, and a few weeks ago I tried cutting through some of the spiracles (loops) of an eccentric coil, just to see what interesting things might happen! I’m not a particularly enthusiastic cook, but I do enjoy watching the TV programme Masterchef, and I’ve noticed that the chefs in the competition are often very keen to ‘deconstruct’ classic dishes, presenting familiar ingredients in different and surprising forms. I had this in mind while I played with my eccentric coil, looking for ways in which I might cut the loops and then put them back together in new ways. The shape shown on the left is the result!

Once I started, I realised that there are all sorts of ways in which the spiracles of a coil can be shaped and repositioned … and I also could not resist inserting a few new coils inside the loops of the original one! Incidentally, all this has strong echoes of the cut coil flowers that I wrote about a while ago, and which I believe also offer some interesting potential.

After seeing my ‘deconstructed’ eccentric coil in a post on Facebook, Jane Jenkins asked me whether I had tried deconstructing a husking, so I decided to give that a go too. I fiddled about with a wheatear and also an alternate side looped husking, but didn’t really get very far with either – both the shapes are just too linear. I’ve concluded that spirals offer far more opportunities for creative variation than straight, narrow loops, but if further inspiration strikes I will definitely let you know!

The other thing I’ve been experimenting with is an attempt to reproduce Gothic architectural tracery patterns in quilling. In architecture, tracery is the network of interlaced ornamental stone ‘ribs’ which can be seen supporting the intricate panels of stained glass windows – I have often admired this feature when visiting old English churches and cathedrals. Tracery gives us beautiful trefoil and quatrefoil shapes which are formed by positioning incomplete circles together. I’ve found that it’s possible to recreate these patterns in quilling, simply by cutting regular sections out of ring coils. To achieve consistency in my cut circles, I’ve made marks on the dowels that I roll the rings around so that I always make the cuts in exactly the same place. Then, with a little imagination and careful gluing, I’ve managed to create the simple tracery-style quilling that you see below. Experiments are ongoing!

tracery card

Where the heart is …

I have lived in several different places over the course of my life, but none has ever meant more to me than the town which I am so proud to call home: Taunton in Somerset.

For this reason, I was thrilled to be awarded two prizes for my quilling at the prestigious Taunton Flower Show earlier this year (see previous posts here and here) … and, this weekend, I am equally delighted to have been accepted as a member of a vibrant local arts organisation called GoCreate Taunton – you can now read my profile on the GoCreate website here.  This connection has produced a very exciting opportunity for me take part in the Taunton Live 2016 arts festival next year – watch this space for further announcements!  You can read a review of last year’s event as a taster here .

Yes, home is definitely where the heart is – and yesterday my own house provided the venue for a really enjoyable quilling workshop, staged especially for 10-year-old Lily and her Dad at the kind request of our mutual friend, Janet.

It soon became apparent that Lily is artistically talented and very creative, just like her father! They both took to quilling like ducks to water!

Janet came along with them, and I insisted that she try some quilling too, despite the fact she’d assured me beforehand that she’s totally ‘cack-handed’! Not true … it wasn’t long at all before we got Janet rolling and coiling with the rest of us, and she surprised herself with the results (see below).

Janet with her quilling

After I had shown them the basics, Lily began by making a lovely purple flower and Pug (her Dad) got stuck into making a very impressive collection of marquise shapes for a poinsettia! I showed them some of my own quilled pieces, and Lily was very taken with my fantasy octopus that had won one of the prizes in Taunton. She was inspired to start making multi-coloured solid coils (just like the suckers of the octopus), and one of them quickly became so big that I had to help her reinforce the base with glue!

It was a delight to spend the afternoon with these three lovely people, and I’m very pleased to be able to share some photos of them and their creations here:

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