Please join me in welcoming my first guest blogger of 2009, Tereasa Reasor. Teresa's hobby intrigued me, and she's been kind enough to share her love. I'm sure you'll find it fascinating.
My name is Teresa Reasor and I’m a writer, artist, and teacher. I live in a small town in southeastern Kentucky. But that isn’t the only place I’ve lived. When I was young my father was in the Marine Corps and we traveled quite a bit. It was during those years of travel that I took up the solitary pursuits of reading, writing, drawing, and painting, as well as several other art forms. I think I was nine or ten when I was introduced to Quilling in Girl Scouts.
I’m not talking about the traditional Native American Quilling that’s done using porcupine quills, though that form of quilling is just as old and worthy of mention. And if you’re interested in Native American art forms, which I have to teach in my curriculum as an art teacher, there is an excellent website called Native Tech, Native American Technology and Art which contains some wonderful information about this art form and its history, as well as several others. Since I’ve tried about every kind of art work over the years, I’m not ruling out trying porcupine quilling one day.
The type of quilling I was introduced to as a child is also called paper filigree and has just as long a history. Some sources say it was created with the invention of paper in China in 105 AD. Others claim that it began in ancient Egypt. Since paper deteriorates, we have no record of the very first project done using paper. But with some of the similarities seen in the beautiful metal filigree works done in the Middle East and Egypt, it is not far fetched to speculate that the craft had it’s beginning in a far distant past.
Quilling began its rise in popularity in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries in France and Italy. Nuns cut the gold tipped edges from the pages of religious books and rolled the paper around a feather quill to curl the paper and fashion it into decorations they used on religious artifacts and pictures. The paper was cheaper and easier to use than metal.
Later the art form spread to England where it took off during the Renaissance but became most popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras. Ladies of that time used quilling to decorate personal items and furniture. Quilling traveled to America with the Pilgrims and was used in Colonial times for the same purposes as in England. Tea caddies, boxes, fans, hand bags, and frames were only some of the items embellished with it.
Today the art is used in scrapbooking, cards, frames, pictures, boxes, gift bags, tags, and the list goes on and on. I’ve done three-dimensional miniatures for dollhouses, jewelry, cards, boxes, plagues, frames, Christmas ornaments, and created whole pictures with quilling. It’s a relatively cheap art form, and very easy.
There are numerous places to buy quilling papers and objects to embellish on line. And some of the more well known arts and crafts supply stores carry them as well. A kit that contains the basic tools, ( a needle tool, slotted tool, bottle of glue, paper strips, a ruler, and a plastic covered cork board) can be purchased for about twenty dollars. I’ve had my newest set of tools for about ten years and order my paper strips on line from either The Quilling Superstore, The Lake City Craft Co., or Quilled Creations . Lake City always has free patterns on their site if you want to check it out.
I’m not the first author to quill. According to Jane Jenkins in her book Quilling Techniques and Inspiration, Charlotte Bronte quilled a tea caddy for a friend, and in Jane Austin’s book, Sense and Sensibility, a character was “rolling strips” for a friend. I found The Jane Austin Center had an article from the Jane Austin on line magazine that talks about quilling done at that time and shows a beautifully quilled box produced during the Regency period. Also, in one scene of the A&E/BBC collaborated movie of Pride and Prejudice the Bennett sisters are rolling paper as ladies of that time might have done.
I find quilling paper a relaxing past time while I’m mulling over plot problems and working out characterization issues. And if I create something unique to give a friend or a member of my family, I know I’m following in the footsteps of one of our first romance writers, Jane Austin, in more than one way. Maybe one day my books will be as popular as hers still are.
And for those of you who are interested in quilling, there are numerous books on the subject and numerous websites dedicated to the craft. I’ve just mentioned a few in this blog.
Thank you Terry for having me and allowing me to share one of my passions with your readers. I appreciate it.
Blessings to all,
Teresa Reasor is the author of two historical romances, Highland Moonlight and Captive Hearts, both published by The Wild Rose Press. Both are available in ebook format from The Wild Rose Press, or in print at Amazon or other on line bookstores. You can find out more about her and her books at her website or her MySpace page, or at Inspiration, Inc.