Tag Archives: quilled jewellery

Chain reaction

A trio of quilled discs mounted on a smooth Sterling Silver snake chain, with matching earrings

It was never my intention to become a jewellery designer. However, fate (with a great deal of assistance from arts festival collaborators in Taunton) has conspired to introduce me into a wonderful new world of jump rings, round and flat-nosed pliers, earring posts and snake chains!

This journey began with my conical bead jewellery – created mainly from upcycled magazine pages and marbled paper offcuts – which have proved consistently popular over the years, and to which I have now dedicated a separate page here on my blog entitled ‘My Jewellery‘.

However, with help and encouragement from colleagues at the Polkadot Jewellery Gallery in Taunton – where my quilled paper and Sterling Silver jewellery is now stocked – I am developing a whole new collection of pieces which utilise crimped, metallic-edged quilling strips, alongside some selected conical bead pieces.  It’s proving to be a really exciting process, creatively challenging yet at the same time very fulfilling too.

My sales in the run-up to Christmas have been very encouraging, surpassing even my wildest expectations!

As the process continues, I am gradually moving away from any pre-conceived ideas that I had about jewellery. My mind is being opened to new design concepts and the merits of different chain lengths, styles and other metallic fittings which I now realise play such an important role in complementing the quilling itself.

It is, indeed, a chain reaction! One thing leads to another, and whilst today I am so thrilled to have recently discovered the beauty of smooth-sided snake chains (like the one in the picture at the top of this post), who knows what the future will hold?

 

I am often asked whether I sell my jewellery pieces online, and the answer is that – for the moment at least – I prefer to operate solely as a retail supplier, as I am doing with Polkadot. Having said that, however, I am willing to discuss one-off commissions with anyone who chooses to get in touch with me. You can find my contact details by clicking here.

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Ending 2018 on a high

2018 has been a momentous year for me, dominated by two major developments which I could not possibly have foreseen 12 months ago.

Firstly, out of the blue, I was approached by a publisher and commissioned to write a book about quilling … and my earlier ‘adoption’ by Polkadot Jewellery Gallery as part of this year’s Taunton Live Arts Festival has led directly to my becoming a newly-established designer/maker of paper jewellery!

It just goes to show that one should always expect the unexpected, yet still I cannot quite shake off the habit of trying to make plans for my future life!

My book – a comprehensive practical guide to quilling techniques – is now written, and was handed over to the publisher this morning. It will be at least six months before it is published, but the timescale is actually now shorter than I had originally been led to believe, and it looks as though it will be printed in time for the Quilling Guild’s annual Celebration event in 2019. I cannot reveal too much about its contents at this early stage, but can safely say it will be completely different from all the other quilling books currently on the market. In writing it, my aim has been to inspire readers across a very broad potential audience, ranging from general crafters to existing quillers and mixed media artists alike. I learned so much on my path towards attaining Higher Level Accreditation with the Quilling Guild in 2016, and in many ways I see this book as the culmination of that journey. I’m looking forward to seeing the page proofs with bated breath …

Meanwhile, I am continuing to work closely with my new colleagues at Polkadot to develop an innovative new range of quilled and paper bead jewellery, in which a good deal of customer interest is already being shown.  Pieces retained by the gallery from my ‘adoption’ display in the summer are continuing to sell in the run-up to Christmas, and I am gradually replacing them with new styles which particularly feature gold- and silver-effect metallics. I am learning more about different types and lengths of chains, the importance of using Sterling Silver rather than plated findings and the styles that appeal to customers in the context of an upmarket contemporary jewellery environment. Exciting times indeed!

Meanwhile, demand for my conical bead earrings and necklaces made from recycled magazine pages continues undiminished amongst friends, acquaintances and customers at my occasional public workshop events. I am even exploring making beads from marbled paper, old maps and artists’ reject monoprints, too, which fuels the insatiable attraction I feel towards colourful papers. Unwanted scraps of paper which are headed for the bin often have the potential to make fabulous beads!

So ends 2018, with the promise of lots more creative activity in the year ahead. To be honest, I simply cannot wait for it to start!

 

 

Everything’s gone cone-shaped

So Autumn has arrived at last … and after another wonderful Summer of quilling-related events, it’s time for me to settle down to some quiet productivity once again. Over the next three months, I plan to finish work on my book – a comprehensive, practical guide to quilling techniques which I have been commissioned by a publisher to write. If everything goes according to plan, the book should be printed and available for purchase in the closing months of 2019. It’s an exciting prospect. So, too, is the opportunity that has recently arisen for me to market my quilled jewellery through a high-profile contemporary jewellery gallery. Both these activities look set to shape the path my life will take in the months to come.

If you follow my blog, you may recall that back in the Summer I was ‘adopted’ as an artist by the Polkadot Gallery in Taunton, Somerset, as part of this year’s Taunton Live Arts Festival. This amazing opportunity allowed me to showcase a specially-created collection of quilled and paper bead jewellery in the gallery’s shop window throughout the month of July, and during that period I was successful in achieving several sales.  At the end of the month, I was delighted to be invited by the gallery owner to leave my remaining pieces there so that they could officially be taken into stock! Not only that, I was asked to make more and also to supply further items to Polkadot’s main gallery in Exeter, Devon.

One of the great benefits of working with the Polkadot team is the guidance they have given me in terms of developing jewellery styles which reflect current trends and are therefore most likely to sell. In particular, they have encouraged me to focus on developing cone-shaped beads which incorporate spiralling text within the design, alongside an unusual range of quilled solid coil and ring coil pieces which make innovative use of colour and metallic finishes. Sterling Silver chains and fittings also play an important part.

My cabinet at Polkadot’s Taunton gallery now contains the fruits of this collaboration, and I will be delivering further newly-developed stock to Exeter during October.

Development of the conical beads has involved me in a great deal of experimentation, as it certainly is not easy to get text correctly distributed and spaced when you roll and expand the paper being used.  Trial and error played a big role in the special promotional beads that Polkadot asked me to try and produce, but the successful result of this work can now be seen in the earrings pictured at the top of this post. I am particularly proud of them!

 

 

A First at last!!

For the past four years, I have been making quilled competition entries for the fabulous Taunton Flower Show which takes place during the first weekend of August in Taunton, Somerset, UK.  The competitions marquee at this major event is huge, with classes ranging from high level floral displays (assessed by judges from the Royal Horticultural Society) to arts, crafts, photography, baking and even giant vegetables!

I always find it a real buzz to take part, and over the years have managed to gain Second and Third Prizes for various entries plus a Highly Commended award … but a First Prize always eluded me – until 2018!

This year, I entered the class for ‘A hand made greeting card for a special birthday’ which required every element to have been created by hand, with no commercial/kit components. You can imagine my delight on entering the marquee after the judging had been completed, to find a ‘First Prize’ sticker beside my entry! Here it is:

For those who like to read about techniques used, here is the text of the notes which I submitted to accompany my entry:

“Two squares of purple card have been cut by hand and matted. The lattice border was created by crimping narrow strips of bronze-edged paper and gluing the peaks of the crimps together. The numerals 6 and 0 were drawn on white paper and cut out by hand, then distressed with gold ink. The oval decorations were created from tightly-rolled strips of coloured paper, which have been wrapped around with gold-edged paper. The flowers at the four corners were made in a similar way. Lengths of gilt-coloured 0.8mm jewellery wire were coiled at each end using round-headed pliers and hammered flat in the centre. The inside sentiment was handwritten, and the filigree decorations made by hand using paper quilling techniques. The gift box for this card was measured and cut by hand.”

I have been enjoying experimenting with jewellery wire this year, after discovering that it can be manipulated into spirals reminiscent of those we use in quilling.  It’s a VERY different process from working with paper, however, requiring the use of pliers and a not inconsiderable amount of manual strength, but I believe it complements paper filigree creatively in very interesting ways. Regular readers might recall that I also used wirework in this piece which was displayed recently at the Taunton Live Arts Festival and has been much admired:

As a postscript to my previous account of the Festival, I’m delighted to say that I have now sold two of my framed pictures plus several pieces of the quilled/paper bead jewellery that I have had on display in the prestigious Polkadot Jewellery Gallery in Taunton. So, once again, it’s been a truly fabulous summer in Taunton … and I have a sneaking suspicion that the best is yet to come!!

 

 

Candy stripe paper bead earrings

ycv7tAInspired by a recent tutorial/free printable giveaway on Susan Niner Janes’ blog, Papercraft Post, I was keen to have another go at paper bead making. Susan’s clever idea was to add patterned ‘toppers’ to the narrower ends of tapered paper strips which are rolled into beads, so that an attractive design appears on the widest part of the bead after rolling. I wondered whether I could create my own patterns using short sections of quilling strips to produce a ‘candy stripe’ effect – and these earrings are the result.

To make the beads for my earrings, I tapered the edges of 20mm wide iris-folding strips by careful measurement and cutting to achieve a symmetrical shape. To the wider end (on the inside of the bead when rolled), I glued a short looped-over length of paper twine to form an integral hanging hook for my earring beads. This doubled-over length of twine runs across the whole width of the strip right at the end, providing a fairly firm central ‘core’ to roll the bead around. The resulting loop is useful because it gives you something to hold on to when smoothing the bead into shape and also when applying glue/varnish. Plus, of course, it provides a fixing to thread the jump ring through when making the beads into earrings!

For the candy stripes, I selected 8 short lengths of left-over 3mm quilling strips and glued them diagonally, edge to edge, across the narrowest end of the strips (to appear on the outside of the bead when rolled).

After rolling each bead, I found I could easily slide the outer band of candy stripes up and down in order to ‘play’ with the finished shape, and the central paper twine loop could also be pulled and pushed to help achieve optimum shape and smoothness before fixing the finished bead with an outer coat of glue. Once I was happy with the shape of each bead, I applied the fixing coat of glue with a brush and popped a cocktail stick through the loop to help hold it upright while drying. (I insert my cocktail sticks into the tiny holes of a ‘pin art’ board for drying purposes, but you could equally well use a bulldog clip or a lump of plasticine to hold them.) Once the glue was dry, I finished by applying a layer of clear nail varnish.

I’m quite pleased with the end result, and am sure there must be many more interesting ways of enhancing beads with ‘toppers’. Do check out Susan’s blog here for further bead-making inspiration.