Wednesday 31 March 2010

Art Nouveau style quilled coils

This week, I'm experimenting with 'Art Nouveau' style coils which Jane Jenkins describes in her excellent book 'Quilling Techniques and Inspiration' as "Charles Rennie Mackintosh style roses" after the work of the famous Scottish designer from the 1930s. To make these, you glue different colour strips together and bend (in short lengths) rather than roll the coils.  By using three different colour strips glued together as described in my earlier post On a roll!!, I've created quilled flowers for these two cards.

I'm pleased with the result - I think they look really different.

Meanwhile, I've been asked to make a larger stock of cards to sell down at the cafe, which I'm really pleased about. Any excuse to do more quilling!!!

Sunday 28 March 2010

A feast for the eyes!

Today I went walking with my husband on some heathland close to our house, and, as usual, found plenty of visual treasures to record with my camera. Even on a dull, cool day, there is so much to appreciate in the colours, shapes and textures of the natural world.

Gorse, bursting out in glorious golden yellow amidst a lattice of spikes:

Tree buds on delicate twigs encrusted in grey-green lichen:

Fungus growing at the base of a decaying tree-stump, marked out in rings like the wood itself:

I can definitely feel some new card designs coming on ...

Saturday 27 March 2010

On a roll!!

I've just had a blissful afternoon starting to replace the 14 cards that I sold at the market yesterday. (A great result for me!) So far I've printed out 14 (some old designs, some new - all with photo backgrounds) and put quilling on six of them, so I'm really on a roll!

Anniversary cards are always in demand, so I've made this one using a flower photo that I took last year in the Isles of Scilly. (I just love these flowers with unusual colour centres - these particular ones have blue in the middle with yellow dots.)  I thought I'd have a go at creating a multi-coloured butterfly's wing using three strips, but instead of gluing them all together at one end I glued them at intervals so that the colours are introduced gradually as the coil is rolled. I think it's worked quite well (see close-up), so I'll definitely be doing some more of these.

It makes me so happy when people like my cards enough to buy them - it gives me all the excuse I need to carry on doing my favourite craft! And two ladies came to the market yesterday wearing items of quilled jewellery that they've bought from me in the past, which is just great! Hopefully I'll have time to do a bit more quilling tomorrow ...

Thursday 25 March 2010

Right angle quilling challenge: solved!!

In my last post, I was complaining about how difficult it was to create equal-sized right angle triangles out of loose quilled coils in order to make a kite motif. Surely it should not be such a challenge? So I had another go - and I think I've found the answer! This card is the result:

Here's my solution to the problem. First, make four same-size loose coils.

Next, pinch them into teardrops and glue together in pairs, as shown.

Then, flatten the edges of each glued pair to create the necessary right angles.

Finally, you can glue the flattened pairs together to make a diamond shape, which forms the body of the kite.

The photographed view on the card, by the way, was taken looking across Pagham Harbour in the south of England, where I went last Sunday. The sun came out, and the blue sky was reflected in the water, creating fabulous colours. Pagham is a great place to go and see wading birds, which feed there in their thousands when the tide is low. It's a wonderful sight!

Tuesday 23 March 2010

Quilling at the right angle?

I needed to replace the '2 year old' age card in my market stock this week, so had a go at quilling the multi-coloured kite shown here. It was MUCH more difficult than I expected, because you have to create four matching 90 degree triangles and position them so that the right angles meet together in the middle to create a diamond. I rolled the coils OK, but found that pinching them consistently into the same shape with corresponding length sides was quite a challenge. Has anyone got any tips for doing this? Or did I miss something when I was learning my quilling basics?

The background for this card is my photo of the rainbow colours which I discovered in my kitchen sink a few months ago, caused by light refracted through a bottle of clear cleaning fluid! it makes a great background for all kinds of design, because you can choose any colours for quilling and know that they will match.

Because the kite was tricky to make, I'm not now sure whether I like this card or not!

But here's another Easter card that I am quite pleased with, created using a photo that I took of a gorgeous bunch of daffodil flowers last week.

Saturday 20 March 2010

Easter chicken

Only two more weeks to go until Easter, so I thought I'd better make a start on some cards before it's too late! I took the picture of this beautiful chicken last summer whilst on holiday in the Isles of Scilly, and had always intended to use it on an Easter card - fortunately, I remembered it just in time!! However, try as I might, I could not get all of the chicken's 'comb' into the oval mask I had created for the card. (My fault - I had not held the camera quite high enough when I took the picture.  But the chicken was moving about at the time ... well, that's my excuse!) Anyway, I thought of something that my father used to tell me: "If something goes wrong in a design, make a feature of it", and I have always found this to be excellent advice. So I decided to quill the missing bits of the chicken's comb - perfect solution! And I think the addition of little yellow quilled chick makes a nice contrast with the colours of the photo overall.

My cards are starting to sell down at the cafe now, so I've put this card in the sales basket that I have down there. And I'll be working on a few more Easter cards to take to next Friday's market.

Friday 19 March 2010

New quilled butterfly in a bluebell wood

Spring has finally arrived here in England, and it will not be long until bluebell time! Here's my latest quilled butterfly card, with the quilling set against a photo of a lovely bluebell wood where I walked last year.

Now it's time to settle down and make some Easter cards ...

Tuesday 16 March 2010

Quilled kingfisher

I've been working on this kingfisher on and off for the last couple of years - and now, at last, I have finished him! Now all I need to do is find a suitable frame ...

Thursday 11 March 2010

Welcome card for an adopted baby boy

I used to make a lot of these 'cut-out' cards in the days before I discovered the endless design and print possibilities of my iMac software! This card is in the same style as one I made for the baby's sister a year or so ago, and was made in response to a special request from a friend (the proud adoptive grandmother).

After cutting out the oval shape, I dry embossed the lettering using an alphabet stencil and light box (working from the reverse side). Then I went over the letters with a silver gel pen, using the raised embossing as a guide. It really made me appreciate the accuracy and versatility of computer-generated shapes and type, as it's so hard to achieve perfection when trying to do it by hand!

My friend wanted quilling to be added on a steam train theme, so I've created an engine and a little truck. I hope she likes it!

I've also been working on a new 'photo montage' design for cards this week, and I'm quite pleased with the results.  Please check out my Flickr page to see some more!

Tuesday 9 March 2010

The joys of quilling in black and white

Over the past week or so, I've been fascinated by the idea of using black and white photos as backgrounds, with just a small section of colour picked out.

So I've created these two cards as an experiment. I used the iPhoto software on my Mac to convert two of my own photos to monochrome. Then, using the Pages word processing software, I pulled the images into pre-defined shapes before printing them on to the front of the cards. I used brush marker pens to colour in a single section of each picture, before adding some small quilled details (hooray - I'm back to quilling again!!)

I think this technique has potential to create some unusual and eye-catching cards. It could be used for framed pictures, too, so I'm glad that I gave it a try.

Also today, I finally decided to make use of a quilled butterfly that's been lying around on my table for ages. I had originally used light green and purple strips to make the wings (inspired by the colours of a sea anemone!), but I thought the end result was actually a little bit dull on the brown body. So today, I 'gilded' the whole butterfly with metallic and glitter gel pens, which brightened it up quite well.  And I found just the right background to mount it on, in order to create this card. So my butterfly has a home at last!

Sunday 7 March 2010

Still not quilling!

I'm sorry to say that I'm still unable to quill because my thumb is still too sore - but I'm hoping that it will be fully healed next week.

Never mind, it's given me the chance to take a breather and catch up on some reading.  And fortunately I had plenty of stock to take to the market on Friday.  Here's part of my little display, which I share with other crafters every Friday morning.

Wednesday 3 March 2010

Quilling accident ... ouch!!

Well, there I was, quilling happily this afternoon when - ouch!! I cut the tip of my thumb on the razor sharp edge of a quilling strip (a blood red one, as it happens). The cut was deep, it bled - and now I have an annoying plaster on my thumb which gets in the way of everything.  I hadn't realised how much I rely on that thumb for making coils, and it just doesn't work the same with a plaster on. So I'm going to have to wait for it to heal before doing any more quilling.  Either that, or learn how to make coils with the other hand.

So, be warned fellow quillers - at the time I got cut, I was trying to straighten out the bends in a new strip by running it between my finger and thumb. It's easy to forget how sharp the edges of cut paper can be.

Fortunately, I had just finished making these two cards which I needed to have ready for Friday.

Some words of wisdom for today:
1) Be careful of paper cuts when quilling!

2) "A man's errors are his portals of discovery" - by James Joyce.
This thought-provoking quotation came my way via Charlotte's excellent newsletter, The Art of Quilling, which arrived in my inbox this morning. You can subscribe to future editions via her blog at  Great reading!

And finally ... a warm welcome to Quilling Arte Virna Genovese who joined my list of Followers yesterday.

Tuesday 2 March 2010

More signs of an English spring

Check this out!

If you're not already a follower of All Things Paper , do visit Ann's excellent blog this week. Not only does she have a fabulous quilling book to give away, but the articles in her blog never fail to inspire. Well worth a visit!


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