Contemporary Quilling by JUDiTH+ROLFE

There's no denying quilling has changed significantly in the past decade and these changes are tremendously exciting. Thankfully, art isn't static.. how boring that would be! I often see images on Instagram that barely resemble the style of quilling that was popular at the end of the last century. 


Even in the early aughts, which was when I had my first encounter with quilling via a Martha Stewart Living article that featured minimalistic designs, most everyone was creating pieces made up of intricately shaped coils and scrolls. While traditional quilling is still being done, and often beautifully so, a healthy percentage of new adapters practice a form of line art composed of strips that are wider than the standard 1/8" (3mm) width. Sometimes traditional quilled shapes play a small role in the designs.

Quilled Cherry Blossom - in progress by JUDiTH+ROLFE
CHERRY BLOSSOM - in progress

Today I'm happy to introduce you to JUDiTH+ROLFE, a creative duo from Saint Paul, Minnesota, whose work is a great example of what I mean by this new style of dimensional, linear quilling. All of the examples you see here are Judith's designs, which I find fresh and modern. Sometimes curved outlines and occasional quilled tight coils are included, but more often than not it is strictly on-edge strips.

Paper Honeycomb - Judith+Rolfe

JUDiTH+ROLFE, a nom de plume, as she prefers to keep a measure of anonymity in this age of digital oversharing, has been posting these images and other geometric pieces on Instagram. HONEYCOMB was made with 3/8" (9.5 mm) white quilling strips and serves as the underlayer of a hand cut paper bee. [2022 edit: JUDiTH has now gone public - she is Daphne Lee and resides in Richmond, Virginia.]

Let It Bee Paper Art - Judith+Rolfe

This ginkgo leaf is one in a series of perfectly shaped autumn leaves.

Paper Ginkgo Leaf - Judith+Rolfe

I wrote to JUDiTH and learned that she and ROLFE are husband and wife; both are designers/architects. She does all of the quilling and manages social media while ROLFE is "her sounding-board and giver of really good constructive criticism."

Quilled Dinosaur by Judith+Rolfe

The dinosaur was made with 3/8" (9.5 mm) black precut quilling strips. In the future, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to hear JUDiTH is trying out heavier weight paper. Just this morning I received an email from Little Circles quilling shop in which owner Erin Curry announced a brand new collection of 1/4" (6 mm) card stock strips called On Edge, verification that quilling times are indeed a-changin'.

Quilled Tessellation by Judith+Rolfe

Some of you might remember the card stock strips that Michaels Stores sold in plastic tubes in the mid-to-late aughts. Quillers could only shake their heads since card stock can't be expected to shape traditionally rolled coils and scrolls. Line quilling was not yet a thing. 


Erin's 110 pound strips should work beautifully today for linear designs and folded strip art like the designs Yulia Brodskaya began doing in 2008. Click here to see examples of Yulia's signature style that has inspired so many, JUDiTH included. Who knew? Those Michaels strips were simply ahead of their time.

Quilled Plum Blossoms by Judith+Rolfe

JUDiTH told me she is still in the phase of trying out ideas. " work is going to stay unpredictable for a while until I find my place in the universe."

PAREIDOLIA Paper Art - Judith+Rolfe

The angular experiment above is composed of 1/4" (6 mm) and 3/8" (9.5 mm) white quilling paper on 12" (30.5 cm) x 12" card stock. JUDiTH used a pin to punch holes through the tight coils to allow light to shine through from below. (Don't worry, she has since purchased an awl to save her hand.) 


Can you make out the hidden message? The image below won't help with that I'm afraid, but it has me thinking of an equestrian show jumping course, albeit an impossible one. Join in with a guess on Instagram. 

PAREIDOLIA Paper Art (detail) by JUDiTH+ROLFE

Plans are underway to launch a JUDiTH+ROLFE online shop early in 2017 where quilled pieces and laser-cut work will be available. Meanwhile, you'll find a contact form on the website if you would like to commission a custom design.


Update! Here's a really nice video interview with JUDiTH+ROLFE... enjoy!

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Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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