Tag Archives: quilling

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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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!!

 

 

Beware free range artists ….

… so said a sign alongside the Artists’ Quarter at the Big Saturday event of the Taunton Live Arts Festival 2018, where I was privileged to be able to stage a drop-in quilling workshop for a steady stream of  keen participants.

I  was kept busy all day long helping children and adults alike learn the basics of quilling, alongside a talented ‘free range’ creative team of painters, print-makers, glass fusers and a sculptor.

It was great, and my most cherished moment occurred when I witnessed a young girl successfully explaining the quilling process to her brother using EXACTLY the same steps that I had taught her earlier!

Here are some pictures of the event, kindly shared with me by fellow creatives Mark Adkins, Anthony White and Adam Grose:

I’m delighted to say that my ‘Adopt An Artist’ placements at the Festival have been a great success too. My new ‘Insignia’ series of quilled collage pictures have been well received in St Mary Magdalene church, while my quilled jewellery has actually been selling well in Taunton’s Polkadot Jewellery Gallery.

The opportunities that Taunton Live has brought me are absolutely fantastic, and I am so grateful to the organisers Jenny Keogh and Liz Hutchin for enabling me to get involved.

The Art Of Storytelling

In my last post, I reported on the video interview that was filmed by documentary-maker Owen Nutkins featuring me and my quilling, during my recent residency in Taunton.

The finished documentary containing this footage has now been released and you can view it here:

 

Its title, ‘The Art Of Storytelling’, reflects the content of the video which examines ways in which a group of different artists – myself included – endeavour to tell stories through their art.

It was a privilege for me to be involved in this project, and it was great to have the opportunity to speak publicly about quilling in a way that may, hopefully, help to bring it to the attention of a wider audience.  The other participants represent a wide variety of artistic genres, and so we all had very different ideas to contribute.  Storytelling through art is certainly a very interesting topic to explore.

I have managed to collect a few ‘screen grabs’ from the video, and am posting them here because they provide an excellent record of the exciting two weeks that I spent in Taunton.  Here they are:

The interview at Hestercombe with an inset photo of me teaching quilling

 

Quilling at Hestercombe in a biting easterly wind!

 

Quilling outdoors on your lap is certainly not easy!

 

At work quilling during my residency at CICCIC

 

Quilling a new design using pins on a board

 

A selection of my quilled pictures on the gallery wall at CICCIC during a meeting of the local Creatives Club

 

All these moments have taken on a somewhat dream-like quality for me now, but fortunately it will not be long before I am back in Taunton once again to play my part during the forthcoming Taunton Live Arts Festival 2018, whose organisers – Jenny Keogh and Liz Hutchin – are also featured in the documentary.

I hope to have plenty more news from my activities in Taunton before too long.

 

 

What’s my story?

I have just returned from a memorable two week stay in Taunton, Somerset, where I had the privilege of being ‘Artist in Residence’ at the vibrant Creative Innovation Centre gallery in the town centre. It was a wonderful opportunity to get a lot of quilling done and talk to visitors whilst doing it …and I also offered workshops at which visitors could come and learn the basics of paper filigree art. A rewarding experience indeed!

At the beginning of my stay, I was interviewed on camera by a local film maker, Owen Nutkins, who is making a documentary entitled ‘The Art of Storytelling’. The focus of Owen’s film is to be an investigation into different ways in which artists tell stories through their creations using many different types of media, and it was a great pleasure for me to talk to him in this context about me and my quilling.

The interview took place in the beautiful surroundings of Hestercombe Gardens, and you can see a complete uncut version of it here:

Owen is going to select some of what I said and include it alongside other artists’ comments in his documentary, which will form part of a wider initiative called ‘What’s Your Story?’ on a website of the same name.  I hope you’ll agree with me that this is an exciting collaboration, and a great opportunity to spread the word about quilling as an art form.

I was filmed at work in the gallery, too, and it is possible that this footage may also be included in the documentary, along with various still photographs which Owen took.  I will publish further links as and when they become available.  Meanwhile, here are some other photos of my space in the gallery taken during a memorable two-week stay:

My quilled pictures can be seen displayed on the far left.

Some happy workshop customers:

One of the best things about the residency was that I got LOADS of quilling done! I took the opportunity to start work on a new project for a very special purpose: I’m creating an abstract piece which is going to appear on the front cover of a book that I have recently been commissioned to write – a comprehensive practical textbook on quilling techniques.  If all goes to plan, the book should be published and available for purchase early in 2020 or maybe even sooner … watch this space! As you can imagine, I am very excited indeed about this new challenge, and will publish updates on my blog as the work progresses.