It’s all happening in Taunton!

There are now just six weeks to go until the Taunton Live Arts Festival 2016, and from my point of view things are really starting to come together!

Last week I received confirmation that permission has been granted for my exhibition of quilled collage pictures in St Mary Magdalene church to go ahead, and so now I am busy sourcing the necessary display stands and designing the flyer leaflets that will accompany the pieces. I have written before about the breathtaking beauty and atmosphere of this wonderful church – see this previous post – and I cannot tell you how privileged I feel to be able to display some of my work in the very place that has inspired several of my quilled tracery patterns. Although I have now completed the six pieces that will be on show (from 18th July – 6th August), my brain is buzzing with more ideas after visiting the church again last week – hopefully I will find some time to explore some of them in the weeks ahead.

Just as the exhibition had been confirmed, I also received word from Taunton Library that the poster for my pre-bookable quilling workshop on 22nd July 2016 is now ready – here it is:

Library workshop poster

I have limited the places at this workshop to a maximum of 10 so that I can give each of the participants plenty of individual attention. If there is sufficient interest, however, I have agreed to stage a second workshop at a later date, so that anyone who misses out on this one will not be disappointed. Watch this space!

Now I am just waiting to confirm the details of the drop-in ‘make and take’ workshop that I will be running in the Orchard Shopping Centre, Taunton, on Thursday 21st July 2016. Hopefully there will soon be a poster available for that event too.

During my visit last week, I also delivered the two quilled festival logos that I had made at the organisers’ request, and I was delighted to learn that these are to be awarded as prizes to people who produce outstanding creative work after attending one of the many workshops included in the festival programme – what an honour!

I cannot describe how much it means to me to be so deeply involved in a festival of the arts in the place that I love beyond all others. One day I hope to be able to make my home in the Taunton area once again, but until then this is unquestionably the next best thing!!

 

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.

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.

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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