The earliest known examples of paper quilling are from the 16th century and resembled decorative metal work, sometimes called filigree. The word filigree combines the Latin words for thread or filament (filum) and grain (granum). Quilling was popular in the 18th century as a “proper pastime” for gentle women and is often credited to ladies such as Jane Austen and the Bronte sisters. It was also a common skill for nuns who embellished religious objects at impoverished churches with gilded strips of paper and designs.
Modern day quillers continue to push the technique forward with modern twists. For example, Yulia Brodskaya’s work is a beautiful collision of modernism and an age-old craft. Her tightly packed, angular arrangements of paper strips are reminiscent of Impressionist brushstrokes and create a unique dimensionality in her artwork.
Another example is Hannah Gebhart who founded Dinocat Studio in 2017 and specializes in handmade, fine art woodcut printmaking and paper quilling. She is a self-taught paper artist who finds quilling to be therapeutic and meditative. Her pieces are often inspired by nature and she enjoys incorporating quilled shapes into her prints.
While learning the craft of paper quilling can take time, it is a fun and enjoyable way to relax, challenge yourself creatively, and become a master at this ancient yet ever-new skill. It can be used in a variety of applications from embellishing birthday cards to creating sculptural 3-d artwork. The learning curve varies from person to person, but with patience and practice anyone can achieve their goals. Paper Quilling Art