Thursday 27 September 2012

Some new earrings ...

I had fun demonstrating the technique of 'beehive' quilling at the Quilling Guild's recent Shared Ideas Day, although I found it quite a nerve-wracking experience performing in front of celebrated quillers such as Jane Jenkins and Diane Boden Crane! Fortunately my hands did not tremble too much, and afterwards several Guild members found that they, too, had caught the 'beehive bug'!

I needed to stock up again on earrings for the market this week, so I've spent a couple of happy afternoons creating a few new designs - beehive style!

Here are the first ones I made - and I have to admit, I like them so much that I've decided to keep them for myself!

I created the external squares for each earring by winding a red strip four times around the wooden handle of a rubber stamp (I managed to find one that is just the right shape and size!). Then I made a pair of tiny red vortex coils (wheatear method) to fit inside one angle of each square. The beehive coils were created using pairs of conjoined black and white strips. I like to make random twists with my slotted tool when I use the beehive technique, and I am happy for the coils to form their own individual patterns when I insert the twisted strips into the retaining ring (or square, in this case!). The result is a unique design every single time, and I think the black and white combination is really striking.

I also experimented with some different shaped retaining rings (a circle and a teardrop) as you can see below. The teardrop version is filled with beehive twists made from conjoined pairs of graduated strips (an idea suggested to me by one of the many talented quillers at the Guild workshop), and I think it works quite well.


Monday 24 September 2012

A floral fantasy in quilling

First of all, I'd like to say a really big "thank you" to everyone who has so kindly commented on my last two posts about the quilled pictures that I entered into the 2012 Guild competitions. I have been surprised and delighted by the favourable response to these two pieces! For those of you who have email addresses registered on Blogger, I have tried to send you a reply direct. In other cases, I've done my best to contact people via their blogs. For anyone I may have missed, however, please know that I appreciate your comments very much.

It's been a hectic few days for me, putting up photos of the recent Quilling Guild meeting and Shared Ideas Day on Facebook, and responding to the huge number of comments that were posted as a result. There has been an enormous amount of interest shown in the event by quillers right around the world, for whom sight of the photos definitely seems to have been "the next best thing to being there". For those of you who would love to have attended this fabulous quilling event in the UK, I've got some good news: plans for next year's event are already well underway, giving you plenty of advance notice if you would like to join us in 2013. So make a note in your 2013 diary for 10th and 11th August, when the Quilling Guild's 30th Anniversary Celebration of Quilling will be held at Liverpool University in the north of England.  This will be the Guild's 5th International Festival of Quilling, and detailed information will be published in a few weeks' time ... believe me, you won't want to miss it!

Meanwhile, I'm coming back down to earth now with a picture of my third competition entry for 2012 which was made for the Freestanding Quilling category at the Guild's recent display. No prizes for me here, but I was quite pleased with this little 'floral fantasy' piece which is mounted on a self-supporting stand made from two extra-wide 'P' coils. I used some open filigree coils and huskings for the green sections, plus a cut eccentric coil for the central bloom, whose spiky pink and purple petals are twisted in various different ways. I added a 'white mist' of unsupported 'beehive twists' in the background too, plus some classic folded roses to decorate the stand. The blue zig-zag decoration on the front is just a strip of blue gift wrap cut with pinking shears!

It looks big in the photo, but the whole piece is actually just 12cm tall.

For anyone planning a freestanding design, I think the large 'P' coil supports (made from strips cut from card) offer quite a bit of potential as a stable base for quilling, and they look quite elegant too!

Wednesday 19 September 2012

A long-distance flyer

Well, here she is at last: my quilled woodpecker! I had intended to post this yesterday, but found my whole day taken up with putting details of last weekend's amazing Quilling Guild display of work on the Guild's Facebook group page - the interest in this event has been phenomenal! Quillers from all over the world have been avid to see pictures of the quilling work on show and the competition winners ... and from the response I've already received, the pictures I posted did not disappoint! I'll be putting more pictures up on Facebook every day this week.

Anyway, to return to the woodpecker ... believe me, this is a well-travelled bird! I originally quilled her for entry into to North American Quilling Guild's 'Framed Quilling' competition at NAQGCON 2012, so she has already flown across the Atlantic and back! And while she was there, she managed to achieve a fleeting appearance on American TV!

Then, last weekend, I took her to Lutterworth where she proudly stood amongst other quillings on the Master's category table in the 2012 Quilling Guild competitions.

Sadly, she failed to achieve sufficient votes from members to gain winning status at either Guild event - but I am very proud of her, nonetheless.

She is actually a Green Woodpecker - a brightly coloured species of bird which is commonly found in English woodlands. Her plumage is mainly fashioned out of tiny vortex coils, which I made using a combination of shades to try and echo the subtle variations that occur in the natural colouration of the feathers. I have found that vortex coils are ideal for filling in large areas - perhaps even better than teardrop and marquise shapes, because they can be manipulated to fit the most awkward of spaces!

I made the tree trunk using self-supporting 'beehive' quilling (i.e. not contained within a shape) whose coils were glued together at countless different 'anchor points'. I used 1.5mm strips for the trunk to give the appearance of depth to the picture, since the rest of the bird was made from 3mm strips.

She may not have been considered a 'winner' in Guild members' eyes, but my woodpecker is actually about to hit the big time in the UK as a guest of our Women's Institute (WI) organisation! I'm very proud to say that Hampshire Federation WI is going to feature her on the front cover of their October magazine, with a little story about my quilling exploits on the inside. The ladies at my local WI are all VERY excited about this, so the woodpecker will soon be making one more outing to attend our next group meeting ... after which she will hopefully enjoy a well-earned rest on my dining room wall.

Monday 17 September 2012

Read all about it!!

Well, what a wonderful weekend we've just had at the Quilling Guild's annual celebration of all things quilling here in the UK!

On Saturday, we had our Annual General Meeting, coupled with competitions, demonstrations, the chance to buy all manner of quilling supplies ... AND the most breathtaking displays of paper filigree work. Then, on Sunday, we had our equally fabulous Shared Ideas Day at which quillers from across the world gathered to socialise and learn techniques from one another. My senses are still on overload, and I would not have wanted to miss a single minute!

I'll be posting lots more detail about what went on over the course of the next few days, but I want to start with the pictures that I promised of my winning entry in the Quilling In A Frame competition category.  (I was delighted to be awarded Third Place out of a total of 14 entries - the biggest group by far - and what fantastic entries they were!)  Unfortunately, I couldn't get wi-fi in the hotel where we were staying, and if I had tried to upload the pictures over my painfully-slow Vodafone connection, I would still be waiting for it to finish now!  So here goes ...

I actually completed this picture last winter, after several weeks of work. It was originally inspired by the design of a beautiful ceramic tile which hangs in our downstairs bathroom, and I saw it as an opportunity to try out just about every type of quilling shape I know!

So I utilised pinched eccentric coils (the lemons); vortex coils (many of the bricks); open filigree work with solid coils (the fruit trees, steps and balcony); marquises, teardrops and eyes (everywhere!); wheatear huskings (the plant and terracotta pot); 'packets' of flat crimped strips (the distant ocean); beehive coils to fill in the windows and door; a mixture of contrasting marquises and beehive coils (the waves tumbling on to the beach) ... in fact, just about every technique I could think of!

To give the picture depth, I added the balcony, starfish and seaweed as separate layers, and had the whole thing framed in a triple mount (not shown) for added impact.

I worked on a tracing of the shapes delineating the various sections of the picture, which was covered in cling-film and held in place by pins on a mounting board. In order to keep the picture within straight edges while I was quilling, I purchased the inner mount first and worked within it, using a reverse bevel cut to hold the quilling in. I lifted the entire quilling from the board in a single piece (an anxious moment, believe me!!), before gluing it to a neutral-coloured backing paper (pale blue) and taking it to be framed.

I feel very proud of this picture, because it is definitely the most ambitious piece of artwork I have ever created, and I was delighted by the admiring comments that I received from so many Guild members on Saturday. I'd like to thank ALL of them for giving me their vote!

Saturday 15 September 2012

What a day!

I just had a GREAT day at the Quilling Guild's annual display here in the UK. My framed quilled picture won third place in its class .... Mobile Wi-fi is way too slow here to upload picture, but you can see it on my Quilliance Facebook page! Will post properly next week ....

Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless device

Sunday 9 September 2012

An eventful year draws to a close ...

No, I know we haven't even had Christmas yet ... but, for me, the 'quilling year' begins and ends in September with the Quilling Guild's annual meeting and display here in the UK.

I'm finding it hard to believe that it's already 12 months since these two little quillings of mine were awarded trophies at the 2011 Quilling Guild event:

... yet now it's time to pack the trophies away and return them, ready to be passed on to this year's competition winners.  I'll miss them!!

This year's event is going to be held at Lutterworth College, Bitteswell Road, Lutterworth, Leicestershire, LE17 4EW, UK, on Saturday 15th September, and will be open to the public from 12.30pm (entry fee £2). Members of the Quilling Guild can enter free of charge, and many of them will be attending the Guild's annual general meeting which will be held at 10.30am, before all the other visitors come in.  You can find full details of the event on the Guild's website via this link: .

Believe me, if you're interested in quilling and you'll be in the UK next Saturday, you've simply GOT to be there!  It's a fantastic opportunity to meet up with fellow quillers from around the world, many of whom you will probably already know from quilling groups on Facebook and right here in blogland!! There will be breathtaking displays of quilling on show, demonstrations from the experts, merchandise on sale from popular traders and, of course, all the excitement of this year's competitions ... who will receive the trophies this time around?

I've prepared entries for several of the competition categories, although of course I cannot reveal any of them until after the event! I'm sure I can't possibly be as lucky in the competitions as I was last year, but you never know! I've had loads of fun creating my entries over the past few months, and am looking forward to sharing them with you right here on Quilliance.

Quite apart from all that, however, what an eventful twelve months it's been! I've managed to get some of my quilling work into a local gallery ... I've stepped up my programme of quilling workshops and demos in venues as diverse as village halls, a historic mansion and an elderly care home ... and I'm proud to say that I've recently been asked to serve on the Committee of the Quilling Guild - a role which will involve me in spreading the word about the benefits of Guild membership whenever and wherever I can.

For me, next Saturday's event is definitely going to be the highlight of them all, so I hope you'll forgive me for devoting so much space to it here. Who else will be going? Please leave me a comment to say if you are, and I'll be sure to look out for you next weekend!

Monday 3 September 2012

Some new cards taking shape ...

Taking my lead from sales last week at the market, I've been working on two new cards. Both are based on designs I've created before, but I decided to bring them right up to date with 'mark two' versions that feature new techniques.

The first, a 'Get Well' card, utilises a background photo of a fabulous bouquet of flowers which came my way a year or two ago. Of course, I immediately thought about quilling a butterfly to put on it, but then I thought "no, let's try something different". So I punched out some leaves and a scallop-edged flower shape from pearlised gift-wrap paper, stuck them to the card, and set about decorating the shapes with short sections of 1.5mm twisted 'beehive' quilling. For the flower, I used a tight coil of 3mm crimped yellow to form the centre, then added pairs of gently curved 3mm pink strips to demarcate the petals, before filling in the petal sections with 1.5mm 'beehive' twists. Twisted sections like these are normally contained within the fixed borders of an outline shape, so I found it a little more challenging to use them 'free-form' to make the vein pattern on the leaves, but it's really just a matter of choosing sufficient 'anchor points' when you are gluing the pattern down.

My second project was a Wedding card. I've used the church porch picture as a background before, but this time I processed the image through my favourite Photoshop filters to create a 'painted' effect. It looks richer and more attractive than the original photograph, I think. Then I punched two heart shapes out of white paper, dry-embossed one of them with a swirly effect, and added a combination of filigree and 'beehive' quilling to decorate them. The swirl at the base is made from two conjoined strips - a construction which I find is much less likely to unravel when it comes to gluing!

Having made these, it will probably now be several weeks - or months! - before I am next asked for a 'Get Well' or a 'Wedding' card at the market ... but at least I will be ready!!


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