Quilling is for the Birds

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I’ve gotten two quilled pieces done this week—that has to be some sort of record for me given that, as much as I love quilling, I often find more meaningless ways to fill my time.  Say, with cleaning or cooking… or, um, putzing on Facebook.  I’m very excited about the latest because I’ve sort of been setting up the whole thing in my head for quite some time.  The quilled portion measures about 4″x6″ and features a tree “blossoming” with hearts throughout its swirling leaves and 3 sweet little bluebirds, two of which of happily perched on the message, which reads “Love grows here.”  Though I made the piece to sell on Etsy, I may have to make a 2nd one for myself—I’m really quite pleased with the outcome.  It feels very clean and simple to me, but still colorful and fun.

My trees have been such a blast to make that I am a little sad when the piece doesn’t call for one (fortunately, this one did!).  The technique is one I made up and I feel it gives my pieces a bit of character.  I start with strips in 3 different shades of brown, which I roll into marquise of different sizes (that’s a loose coil which is pinched on both ends, sort of giving it an almond shape).  Then I glue the marquise all together to form the trunk—they just kind of go together willy-nilly—I don’t really have a plan when I start, which is why no two trees will ever be the same.  As I glue the trunk pieces together, I pinch them into each other to fill any gaps.  I may include a small branch coming off the trunk here and there; you know, whatever feels right.  I like to give my trees obvious roots coming off the bottom because there’s a lot of symbolism in it—plus, that’s often just how trees look!  The leaves are simply open, loose coils of different sizes and in 2 or 3 shades of green.  They, too, are placed wherever they want to go.  I often go 2-3 layers deep in some areas of the tree—and I keep rolling coils and adding them until the tree tells me it is complete.  Since I love to add color—you’ll usually see some sort of fruit or flowers (or hearts!) in my trees, but mostly just toward the bottom of the leaves.  When we picked apples at my grandma’s house as a child, I remember that the only apples I could really see were those peeking out from the bottom of the mass of  leaves—so that’s how it looks in my quilling too.

Lastly, my birds.  Nature’s birds dazzle me, and quilling them is a joy.  They are the simplest things to make (just a loose coil manipulated into a bird  shape by pinching one end while pushing upward w/ a flat finger on the other end, add a tiny beak—done!) and they just add so much life to a piece.  They make me smile—I hope they make the recipient smile as well.

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