Children are the future

Yesterday, I had the privilege of conducting a ‘make and take’ quilling workshop at the annual ‘Culture on the Common’ event in Hartley Wintney, a village in Hampshire in the south of England. I had taken along a quilled project to work on during ‘quiet moments’, but I never even touched it as I was besieged by a succession of eager children (and their parents!) who couldn’t wait to create their first quilled flowers. Some of them were as young as four years old.


Pictured here (with her parents’ permission) is a young lady named Celia who proved herself to be a natural quiller right from the start. As soon as she had mastered the rolling of a coil, she was well on the way to creating her first flower with minimal guidance from me (which was just as well, as other children were soon gathering at my display table and clamouring for my attention).

It never ceases to impress me how quickly young children can grasp the basics and see the potential of creating art through the imaginative assembly of quilled shapes … and what firm ideas they have in terms of colours and shapes which quickly supersede any pre-planned project I have intended for them.

We started off by making small quilled daisies (as described on my workshops website Learn To Quill), but soon digressed into the creation of extra petals, tulip flowers, leaves and butterflies. The boys were instinctively drawn to the cog wheels of my crimping tool, and soon became engrossed in the processing of long crimped strips which their sisters then began to roll into coils.


Celia (my star pupil!) created her first quilled card with the daisy and a tulip, before vacating her seat at the table for another of the waiting children. It was not long, however, before she came back for more, and with just a little guidance from me was quickly reproducing another quilled flower design that she had seen on one of my cards … followed by a third design that she made up all by herself.

I always find it fascinating to witness how some people always seem to need a pattern to work from, while others can produce imaginative creations with quilling straight out of their heads – and it obviously starts in childhood. Celia certainly needed no prompting to place herself in the latter category! Did I help to inspire a new generation of quillers? Only time will tell … but the experience of working with these brilliant kids has certainly made me smile.