Quilling, also known as paper filigree, is the art of rolling and manipulating narrow strips of paper and then shaping them to make the most exquisite designs. Projects can range from simple gift tags and cards to pictures, jewellery, three-dimensional models or the decoration of boxes.
The History of Quilling
PAPER-ROLLING, PAPER-SCROLLING, FILIGREE, MOSAIC and QUILLING are all names which have been given to this art during its long history. Some sources suggest that many of the techniques we use today were originally practised in Ancient Egypt.
The popularity of Quilling has fluctuated. Work of high quality was achieved by French and Italian nuns in the 16th and 17th centuries; genteel ladies in the Stuart period; ladies of leisure in the Georgian and Regency periods – and it is currently enjoying a modern revival. It also spread to North America with the settlers. Those of us who quill today find we have something in common with Elizabeth, daughter of George III, Joseph Bramah (the famous locksmith), Mrs Delany (pioneer of other paperwork and friend of Jonathan Swift), Jane Austen (who mentions it in her novel ‘Sense and Sensibility’) and the Bronte sisters: quite a distinguished gathering of enthusiasts!
Nuns on the continent decorated reliquaries and holy pictures, adding gilding and much ornamentation. The ecclesiastical connection was maintained when the art spread to England with the development of paper, though vellum and parchment were also used. Poorer churches produced religious pictures with rolled decoration. When gilded or silvered, it was difficult to distinguish it from real gold or silver filigree work.
Quilling was never practised by ‘working-class’ women in the past. Indeed, it was a decorative art which ladies of leisure would use to work panels and coats-of-arms. Later it was extended to include covering tea-caddies, workboxes, screens, cabinets, frames etc. Backgrounds for these often included foil, mica or flaked shells. Beautiful boxes were made by cabinet makers, with recessed sides. These were advertised and sold, often to boarding schools for young ladies. ‘……it affords an amusement to the female mind capable of the most pleasing and extensive variety; and at the same time, it conduces to fill up a leisure hour with an innocent recreation…’ (The New Lady’s Magazine – 1786)
The Quilling Guild exists to encourage, support, preserve and publicise the art of Quilling. The Guild is a non-profitmaking charity (UK registered number 1123927) whose trustees and workers are all volunteers. Whether you have been quilling for a month, a year or several decades, membership of the Guild opens the door to a world of opportunity.
Join the Quilling Guild and become part of an internationally-recognised quilling organisation that has your interests at heart.
* Obtain recognition for your quilling skills through our highly-regarded Accreditation Scheme
* Enhance your quilling knowledge with our specialist publications.
* Be inspired by our seasonal 32-page colour magazine for members only, packed with patterns, ‘how-to’ articles and quilling news
* Exhibit your work and meet other quillers at our inspirational Displays and Quilling Festivals
* Learn from the experts at our regular local workshops and Shared Ideas Days
* Keep up to date with happenings in the quilling world through our exclusive members-only blog
* Make contact with other quillers through our friendly regional network and our vibrant Facebook page
* Go for glory in our high-profile annual competitions
* Save money with special discounts on selected workshops, demonstrations and quilling supplies
You can find out more on the Quilling Guild’s website www.quilling-guild.co.uk