At the end of March, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the paper art of quilling, as part of the Y Conference put on by AIGA San Diego. I had signed up for the conference just before it commenced, so the selection of free workshops (or “Thinkshops,” as AIGA calls them) that comes with conference attendance was limited. Looking at the remaining options, I saw that quilling was available. My curiosity was piqued, as this was something I hadn’t tried my hand at before. Some of the things that come up in an online search when looking up the term “quilling” are so beautifully ornate and intricate, I could see this was most likely going to be a fun, though somewhat challenging, experience.
The day of the quilling Thinkshop, I was pleasantly surprised to find a full room with almost equal numbers of men and women (probably 30 people or more total), sitting at tables, ready to hear the instructor, Candice Warner, a local designer and paper artist, give a brief description on quilling, show examples or her own and others’ work and give us some beginning tools, supplies and tips to get started on making some of our own things. I was inspired right away!
Candice was very generous, and set us up with the basics right off the bat: strips of paper evenly cut and in a variety of colors; a small quilling tool with a split metal head for holding the paper in place while curling; small clipping shears; a lightweight tweezers tool; paper-friendly glue; toothpicks; a disposable plate for placing small amounts of glue as we worked; and lastly, a couple of cards for practicing basic quilling shapes and structures and for creating a small design (pre-drawn on the card for us). Once we all got our hands on the goodies in front of us, we set to work. Our table consisted of a friendly group of people, and we chatted as we worked, talking about our jobs, other creative things we like to do and we also traded business cards. Quilling, it turns out, is not just a wonderful paper craft, it’s also a great way to network and socialize with your neighbors!
When the conference was over, I shared the practice sheet of quilling shapes I had done on Instagram and with family and friends in person. It was a beginning for me, and I kept my manila envelope with all of my newly acquired tools and paper strips at the ready in my workroom, should the mood strike me to start it up again. Well, it took a good couple of months, but I finally gave myself the opportunity to get back to it. And it took a crafting night with a group of friends, with whom I have also worked side by side over the past several years at a retail store, to break out that project I’ve been meaning to revisit. It felt really great to pick up where I left off with the quilling, and when I brought it home with me, I continued working on it.
Sometimes, it’s simply not enough to write down a to-do in your planner, or tell yourself to get back to something. It might take the company and support of friends to give you the permission to set aside the time to sit down with that thing you’ve been meaning to do for yourself. And once that inspiration is reawakened, who knows what’s possible? I like to think, anything at all!
Pictured above: my current in-progress quilling project (© 2015 by Pam Winters); the quote in the title of this post is attributed to Mark Twain