After developing her process and then making many mosaics, Erin - who I think it's safe to say is a bit of a free spirit - departed with her husband and young children from their midwestern home to travel the U.S. for a year while selling art. They found their way to Hawaii and wound up staying much longer than planned.
Hawaii was beautiful and so much fun, but eventually we got a little itchy being on an island. I had aspirations to start my quilling product line and the laws and shipping costs in Hawaii were not conducive to that. Here I have a beautiful art studio and a lot of space to store all of my paper and products. We love Northern Michigan - it is every bit as beautiful as Hawaii, just in a completely different way.
Do you recall the first time you were introduced to quilling and what was it about it that drew you in?
I stumbled across a beautiful pair of paper earrings on Etsy in 2008. The listing didn't mention the word quilling, but I began cutting paper strips and rolling them with my fingers in an attempt to recreate the effect. I headed to a local big box craft store to try and figure out what the art form was, and was fortunate enough to find a tool, a little tube of strips and a quilling book. The book did not hold my interest, but the beautiful quilled shapes did; I quickly became obsessed. I was unable to find any other information at the time so I learned through a lot of trial and error.
Yes, I order paper from a variety of paper mills in bulk, and bind and cut it into strips. I then package and label them with labels that I print and cut myself. It has been quite a learning curve since the launch a year ago, but I am slowly getting the hang of things and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. It feels really good to be able to share quilling paper and tools that I love to use in my own work.
I do design tools and have had a few of the more unique ones that I offer made by craftsmen, but not all. Early on, I decided that I wanted the focus of my line to be high quality paper and tools that are a pleasure to use. For example, the wooden stacked tools are made by a talented woodturner and my bead rollers are made by another.
The slotted tool I sell is not my design. It serves as a place holder until I can find someone to manufacture a quilling tool that I really love. There are other suppliers that focus on tools and they do so very well. At this time I am more interested in the paper side of things... I enjoy launching 12 new colors at the start of each season in the highest quality 70lb paper I can find. Currently I offer 48 colors; another dozen will be launched in December and January.
Yes, absolutely - my mosaic making has slowed since launching the website and shop. I embrace the busy-ness however. I have always been a person who does things in a furry of obsession. The mosaics consume my life for a hundred plus hours each time I create one. When in the middle of a mosaic, I do very little else and it is all solo work. It is very welcome to have other activities that are related to my passion, but not quite as intense as art-making.
I enjoy having contact with other quillers on a daily basis as I find them to be incredibly supportive of one another. It makes this relatively lesser known craft seem so much bigger and more important to me. I love the community and feel immense gratitude for the opportunity to spend my days making things that inspire other people to create things of their own.