Insignia #2 – A Rural Patchwork

Continuing with my ‘Insignia’ series of quilled collages inspired by heraldic shields, I am very pleased to present the second piece which I have entitled ‘A Rural Patchwork’.

As I explained in my last post, I love the idea of dividing up shield shapes into small compartments, and with this one I have tried to echo that colourful ‘patchwork’ of fields and enclosures that can be seen in rural landscapes – particularly in Somerset, where the views from the hills seem to me to have their own very individual character, quite different from their equivalents in Devon and Cornwall.

I began by selecting different papers and card for the backgrounds to the compartments inside this shield, ranging from the bright yellow of rape seed fields to the varying greens and browns that typically adjoin them. I used Decopatch papers for the forest and parched earth; a photo from a glossy magazine for the flowing blue river; an envelope from a mailshot for the small patch of black ‘mud’ and various other materials from my ever-growing ‘stash’ of scrap paper.  The exterior border and compartmental ‘hedges’ are multi-layer ‘sandwiches’ of 3mm wide quilling strips, some of which are crimped and feature metallic edges.

Once the background was in place, I selected some ‘symbols’ to quill: a tree, an ear of corn, grass, wild flowers (poppy, buttercup and daisy), plus a bee without whose efforts the countryside as we know it simply could not exist. These I have placed inside selected compartments, creating an image which – I hope – is pleasing to the eye.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I plan to make at least five quilled collage pictures for my ‘Insignia’ series, and am delighted to announce that they will be placed on public display during the forthcoming Taunton Live Arts Festival 2018 in July. I am privileged once again to have been ‘adopted’ by the magnificent church of St Mary Magdalene in Taunton, which will be hosting my work as part of the Festival’s excellent ‘Adopt An Artist’ scheme.

In a separate but equally exciting development, I’m delighted to say that I am also going to be ‘adopted’ by the Polkadot Gallery jewellery showroom in Taunton for my quilled and paper bead jewellery … I shall hope to publish a further post about this in due course.

It looks like being another very busy year for me in Taunton, which is now firmly established as my true ‘creative home’. I am excited and honoured in equal measure …

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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!!

 

 

A new flower blooms

DSCF6554I’ve used the ‘sandwich’ edging that I described in my earlier post to make a border for a new quilled flower which I was inspired to make by Cecelia Louie in her recent tutorial for creating outline flowers – you can find it on her ‘Paper Zen’ blog here.

I’ve always admired Cecelia’s work, and even more so since writing a review of her excellent new book Pretty Quilled Cards which appeared on my old Quilliance blog here. Cecelia created a flower by rolling a coil, pressing it unglued into a teardrop shape and then cutting through the rounded end to create lots of little petal-shaped segments. Great idea! I made some coils using two pink strips glued together along their length for extra strength, and chose to make my own cut through the pinched points to produce rounded petals. Like Cecelia, I then set about creating a flower using these little sections of curved pink strip, grouped around a central coil in a gently asymmetric fashion, just as you would see in nature. I have secured each petal with TINY little dots of glue on the ends, assembling the whole bloom on a clingfilm-covered board with pins.

My flower is edged with little white teardrops, all bordered around with a length of crimped purple strip.

I’ve always thought that cutting coils offers a great deal of creative potential. It reminded me of the ‘cut eccentric coils’ which I experimented with a few years ago – you can read about them here and here. Also, I really love the unusually open style that sections of gently curved, on-edge strips bring to quilling.

I was wondering what to do with this flower, and have decided to mount it on to a card ready to take to The Quilling Guild‘s forthcoming Annual General Meeting and Display of Work at Dereham, Norfolk, UK, in September. (Read all about it here.) The Guild is aiming to create a display of the greatest number of quilled flowers in one place which we hope may one day form part of a Guinness World Record attempt. Our initial target is 1,000 flowers, so there is still a lot of quilling to be done!

Feeling edgy!

If there’s one thing I have learned over the past few months, it is that two strips are often better than one … and multiple strips can open the door to a whole host of possibilities.

I’ve found that two standard quilling strips glued together along their length are great for use in ‘on-edge’ and open filigree work, as they can be readily curved and ‘sculpted’, just like working with light card. I suspect that it’s not just the extra thickness, but also the plasticity of the dried glue in between the two layers that helps them hold their shape so well.

Being me, of course, I’m not content with just joining a couple of strips together! In fact, I’ve been experimenting with creating multiple ‘sandwich’ strips which are nine, 12 or even 15 layers thick (see photo below)!

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This particular one is a 15-strip ‘sandwich’, made up from five separate parts: three strips of lime green glued together; three strips of olive green glued together; three strips of yellow glued together and then crimped while the glue is still wet; another three strips of olive green glued together; then three strips of brown glued together. I made each colour component separately, then joined the lime green to the olive, the olive to the yellow, the yellow to the olive etc and allowed the whole thing to dry thoroughly before use.

Once the glue between the all strips has completely dried (you have to be patient!), these ‘sandwich’ strips can be bent and shaped to form substantial edge pieces and borders for quilled designs. They even hold their shape when curved inwards for ‘concave’ shaped features, provided you apply a thin layer of glue to the underside.  When you just want straight sections, you can cut the sandwiched strip with scissors, although it requires a bit of effort – you could, alternatively, use a paper cutting knife (but be sure to mind your fingers while you cut!).

Here’s another example that I have used in a recent project …

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Sandwich incorporating two sets of gold-edged crimped strips

I’ve found that you need to use a minimum of three strips of each colour to make a strong visual impact. The addition of crimped sections adds interest to the overall effect.

 

 

I used my 15-strip ‘sandwich’ to make a border frame for a new quilled project which I will share in another post.

It’s great to be back!!