Thursday, September 30, 2010

Taylor's Eclectic

Isn't this gorgeous? It's a decorative vessel made of paper (of course!) by Taylor Twigg of Etsy shop, Taylor's Eclectic, and is just one in a series she calls Red Rose Blooming.

Taylor also creates a wide variety of wearable sculptures... necklaces, earrings, brooches, bracelets, and rings.

Even though the pieces look very much like stained glass, they're surprisingly lightweight and comfortable to wear.

Individually hand sculpted via a process Taylor developed, the designs don't require molds or forms, and the only materials are paper, wire, and sealants.

It's hard to choose, but I think these earrings might be my favorite. Taylor calls them Cucumber Slice. I'm pretty sure the clever name and picture helped to win me over.

Taylor is busy preparing for the Apple Butter Festival in Berkley Springs, West Virginia, October 9th and 10th. It's a massive show with an expected attendance of about 30,000 - 40,000 from the immediate and surrounding states, including the Washington, DC area. I bet her colorful display will be a feast for the eyes.

Speaking of colors, I love the shades that make up this dramatic Harlequin vessel. Taylor describes it best, "Alive with color, texture, and geometric design, this vase is a full sensory experience." I'd say that pretty much sums up all of her eye-catching work!

She accepts custom design orders too, and can be contacted via her shop, Taylor's Eclectic.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Halloween Hoop

I frequently check in with Betz White's blog as she's always posting something fun. She and I generally travel in different worlds - hers is sweater soft. Betz makes all sorts of delightful things from felted wool - pincushions, for example, as shown on the cover of one of her books.

But recently this lovely mix of pretty and creepy caught my eye.

It's a quick project made with simple materials, which to my way of thinking is the very best sort. Just paint an embroidery hoop black, add a piece of lace and a fake spider - you'll have yourself a cleverly elegant Halloween decoration in no time.

If you'd like to recreate Betz's nifty idea with a quilled spider instead of a store bought version, here's my tutorial on how to make this leggy black widow... shudder!

Another blog I'd like to give props to today is i made it so. Ana and I first struck up a conversation via Twitter as she and her young daughter have been learning to quill together. She recently posted a three part quilling series and kindly included my work, but aside from that, I think you might enjoy the variety of topics she features, as well as her engaging way with words.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Kylie Stillman - Altered Books and Paper Carving

Kylie Stillman engraves books and stacks of paper as if they are blocks of stone.

Silver Banksia, 2010, paper carving, 6,000 sheets of computer paper and wood base, 56 x 40 x 30 cm

Starburst Winter Wren, 2009, paper carving, printed paper, diameter 13.5 cm

With textures so inviting, I imagine running my fingers across the nooks and crannies of Kylie's ethereal tree and bird sculptures.

Common Oak, 2007, book carving

Semiformal reminds me of a fossil.

Semiformal, 2004, book carving

Gorgeous birds in flight.Flock, 2007, Installation Meat Market
Flock, 2007, detail

Little Room, 2007, Installation Meat Market photography David Marks

The beautifully lit piece to the right is a red maple plywood sculpture.

Kylie studied studied Fine Art - Painting at RMIT, Melbourne. She's a frequent exhibitor and is represented by Utopia Art Sydney, Australia.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quilled Twitter Fail Whale

If you happen to be on Twitter, you're probably familiar with the fail whale. It's a friendly graphic that pops up from to time when the site is over-capacity. Your heart melts, frustration eases... ah yes, that's the whole point.

Here's the real deal as created by Yiying Lu, a multi-talented artist and designer in Sydney. Cute, right?!

One day when the whale was appearing on my screen more often than not, I finally managed to tap out a tweet, "Thinking of quilling the fail whale." This was met with raucous laughter and cheers from my followers... well not really, but several did egg me on.

Quilled Fail Whale

So after a couple of false starts and a good amount of angst over the crazy number of on-edge netting bits, my bad boy took shape.

The true fail whale has endeared himself to many and consequently shows up fairly often around the internet as a sand sculpture, cake, tattoo, carved pumpkin, you name it. But until today, no quilled version that I can find.

Quilled fail whale card

As so often is the case with this sort of thing, there's an interesting backstory. While still a student, Yiying created the design as an ecard for a friend. Later, Twitter's co-founder, Biz Stone, bought the image from iStockphoto for a few dollars, and it quickly caught on as the site's mascot.

Fans promoted it heartily, bringing well-deserved attention to Yiying - consequently she's been able to market fail whale merchandise. Coffee mug, anyone?!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Quilled Holiday Designs from Yulia Brodskaya

On a bit of a quilling jag lately, so let the trend continue...
I have some brand new quilled designs to show you by one of my very favorite quilling artists - and yours too, I bet - Yulia Brodskaya.

These were spotted on the website of Cafe Rouge, a chain of French-inspired restaurants located throughout the UK. Yulia was commissioned to quill her typical, eye-catching designs for the purpose of attracting diners and party-planners to reserve dates for holiday events.

Lots of companies have hired Yulia to create quilled designs in recent months - Google, Oprah's magazine, Martha Stewart Living, and The New York Times just to name several, but what I especially appreciate about Cafe Rouge is that they included an About the Art/Artist page in plain view on their website. [edit: site is unavailable]

It credits Yulia, links to her site, and even includes a few videos showing how quilling is done - how cool is that?! I imagine people are often stopped in their tracks by her work and must wonder what this amazing paper art is called. Happily, Cafe Rouge is doing a great job of spreading the word.

Is it too early to wish you a Happy New Year? Nah, especially not when the greeting is from a high-kicking cancan girl!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Christmas Quilling Book Winners!

Drum roll please... And the winners are:

Christine in Idaho - Such a beautiful book!!! My fave is the pear tree! Stunning!!!

Maia in Richmond BC, Canada - I love to make cards to send for Christmas or with gifts and I love new ideas and to learn new techniques. This book would be a joy to have as I haven't tried quilling yet.

Krista in Vancouver, Washington - I love papercrafting and I would love to learn how to quill. I have always been intrigued by quilling.

Thanks so much to everyone for leaving such lovely comments. It's great to see there's a ton of enthusiasm for fresh quilling ideas and I think it's safe to say all of us look to new books for inspiration.

Winners were selected by the random number generator at I will be contacting each one of you this morning for your mailing addresses so Elizabeth can send out the books.

By the way, about the mystery of the knees in the printing press picture from yesterday's post... Elizabeth says, "Well spotted! It is a worker who constantly checks the colour levels as each one of those five blocks is a colour CMYK and I think the fifth one added a finish or gloss, but it was so loud in there I didn't catch all I was being told!"

And just so you don't have to go away sad if you weren't a lucky winner, how about another chance?! Quilling author, Molly Smith, is giving away two copies of her terrific book on her blog this week. She is celebrating the news that the hardcover edition of The New Paper Quilling has just been re-released as a paperback by Lark Books!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Interview with Quilling Book Author Elizabeth Moad

Here's the promised chat with Elizabeth Moad, designer of paper crafting projects and author of the new book, Christmas Quilling, for which a giveaway (three copies!) is going on until the end of today. If you live in the U.S., Canada, or the UK and haven't had a chance to sign up, there's no time like the present.... go ahead, we'll wait. :-)

Meanwhile, let's ogle this pretty box Elizabeth made for an issue of Crafts Beautiful magazine last year. The medallion is an example of tea bag folding, something we don't see too often in the U.S. Funny name, right? Don't worry, no tea leaves are harmed in the process.

Okay, is everyone back? Here we go...
Elizabeth, how did you happen to get started with paper crafting, and especially quilling?
Quilling is the paper craft I began with about twelve years ago. It started me off on my creative career and it is the craft I continue to return to. I began making cards around 1998 when I was working full-time in Cambridge [England] for a software company. I needed something creative to do at weekends, so I bought my first quilling set in 1999, and this set me off on the quilling road!
How did you decide to start selling your designs?

I was getting really nice comments from friends and family which encouraged me to have a stall at a craft fair. So in the year 2000 I had a stall and sold my cards which all sold on the first day, so I had nothing to sell on the second day! It was brilliant, but exhausting.
Have you studied art formally?
Yes, in 2001 I decided to leave my job and study on the one year Art Foundation course at Norwich School of Art and Design. I gave myself one year to see if this art and craft life was for me, and if I could make a go of it.

You do quite a bit of designing for magazines in England... how did that come about?
It was at another craft fair in 2002 that a magazine editor asked me to write an article for the magazine, Crafts Beautiful. I then decided to stay in Norwich for another three years and study for a fine art degree specialising in printmaking. The publishers, David & Charles, (part of the F&W group) saw my work in the magazine and commissioned me to write my first book. This was a busy time as I had a degree to study, two part-time jobs, and writing my first book, The Papercrafter’s Bible! Three more books followed before I could be fully self-employed as a craft designer.

Your David and Charles books are well-regarded. How did you decide to take on the task of self-publishing this time around for Christmas Quilling?
Unfortunately the recession hit us here in the UK and I was not commissioned for any more books, so I woke up one morning and decided I would do it all myself. I called the photographer and editor who worked on my previous books to request their help, called printing firms for quotes, and then found a designer friend to do the layout of the pages.
It must have been empowering, but a tremendous amount of work at the same time.
Yes, I was left with designing and making the cards, writing the instructions, preparing the steps for photography, planning the layout of the book, and of course funding the whole project. However, having complete control has been really exciting. Styling the cards for the photography was great fun – putting the Christmas props around the card to get the shot right, took at least thirty minutes for each of the main project cards. Finally, I took it to a local printing firm in the very English village of Lavenham. They let me go in to see it come off the press which was fabulous. Now I have a wall of boxes of my books stacked up in my house, and I am learning a lot about distribution and selling on Amazon. Still another book is being planned in my head so it can’t be all bad!

Here are a few pictures of Christmas Quilling rolling off the press. Elizabeth says it took two hours to print the pages as the litho presses run off 15,000 sheets per hour. The books were bound and stitched in another process.

Wait a second... I think I spy a pair of knees hiding back there. Camera shy perhaps, or a part of the printing process?!

This is a tea bag folding card Elizabeth made to go along with the box.

It shows a classic rosette of eight folded squares, except that on this card and the box, Elizabeth folded two different sizes as a twist. She often cautions people about buying tea bag folding books, because many include origami type diagrams that are difficult to follow unless you're a pro. Elizabeth says she learned by trial, error, and a lot of folded pieces!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

(Paper) Material Girl

Recognize this gal?

I laughed out loud when I came across the quilled card by Sandy Diaz in her Etsy store, Sweet Spot Card Shop. Since Sandy's husband is an avid Madonna fan, she created it with him in mind. I love the way she managed to capture Madonna's attitude with bits of rolled and folded paper.

I asked Sandy how she happened to start quilling and she said she had an awesome art teacher in junior high who made it a point to teach new techniques every day - quilling was one of them. "We just used construction paper, but I created a snowflake and remember thinking I had created something really cool. It stayed with me."

(You wanted to see the side view, right?)

After Sandy's twins were born, she turned to quilling as a stress reliever. "I love the fact that quilling is becoming more modernized, but my favorite part is that I can start and finish a card within the same day. Although lately I've been eyeing ideas that can potentially take much longer. We'll see what happens."
Follow The Sweet Spot where Sandy blogs about her latest projects.

A giveaway for the brand new book, Christmas Quilling, is on now through the end of Monday. Just leave a comment here for a chance to win one of three autographed copies.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quilling Book Giveaway!

Yay - a new book! Many quillers rely on books for fresh ideas and it's been far too long between titles. Perhaps you're familiar with Thrilling Quilling, The Papercrafter's Bible, Cards For Men and Boys, or Quick and Clever Christmas Cards... all of these are books by expert paper crafter, Elizabeth Moad.

Christmas Quilling is Elizabeth's brand new, self-published book that features twenty step-by-step quilled projects and sixty card designs. There's no need to be concerned about the self-published aspect, as there is nothing amateur about the book's presentation and content.

I've been reading Elizabeth's blog for quite some time and have been impressed by her books, so was excited when she offered to send me a copy.

Elizabeth has included all of the information a beginner will need, from supplies to shape making, in addition to some neat, new techniques, even for those with plenty of experience. For example, wait until you see her realistic fir branches!

The project ideas run the gamut from cute to classy. If fact, if I had to find something to quibble about, it's that the cover doesn't quite convey the modern ideas you'll find inside, many of which are novel and elegant. I love this topiary with gilded pears.
Elizabeth will be sending an autographed copy to three lucky commenters who live in the U.S., Canada, or the UK. To enter, just leave a comment by the end of Monday, September 13th telling why you would like to win. Earn up to three extra entries by mentioning the giveaway on Twitter, Facebook, and/or your blog. Winners will be selected by a random number generator.

The reasonably priced book is available in the UK via Elizabeth's online shop, will be available at Amazon UK very shortly, and should be available in the U.S. within a month or so. Next week I'll be posting an interview with Elizabeth that I think you'll enjoy.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Katty Barac

Katty Barac has a talent for creating simple, stunning designs. Several months ago she opened an Etsy shop from which she sells paper lampshades and mobiles that easily double as modern art sculptures.

Mariella Lampshade, recycled paper and steel
Yes, both photos are the same lampshade... amazing! It looks so different from one angle to the other. The shade casts a soft light downward, but a bright light toward the ceiling.

Big, Big Shell Lampshade, paper, steel

This shade is constructed of watercolor paper and was created by Katty and textile designer, Genevieve Bennett. I'm picturing the beautiful shadows it must cast in the dark of night.

Contemporary Leaf Mobile, paper, steel, nylon thread

Katty takes pride in developing products that are elegant, durable, and economical, and after spending years designing objects for others to produce, decided she would enjoy taking part in the making side of the process... thus her new shop.

Handmade Flair Lampshade, cartridge paper (heavy drawing paper) and steel

In 1995 Katty co-founded One Foot Taller, a furniture and lighting design company in Glasgow, Scotland, and has since added a second location in Saint Plancard, France. The company uses new materials manufactured locally, along with recycled ones, and strives for sustainability.
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