Contemporary Mixed Media Quilling - Deb Booth of Different Light Studio

I joined a recently formed Facebook group called Contemporary Quilling that reminds me of a now-defunct Yahoo group I enjoyed as a new quiller at the turn of the century. {Wait, that makes me sound ancient... I mean this century, kids!} When learning an art or craft, looking at photos only goes so far... what's really helpful is to talk to others who share your interest, receive immediate feedback on projects and answers to questions. And for those of us who have been quilling for awhile, it's a place to find inspiration, offer guidance and to see firsthand the new directions people are taking our particular form of paper shaping.

Mixed Media Quilling - Betta Beauty
Betta Beauty

Contemporary Quilling is where I met today's featured artist, Deb Booth of Different Light Studio. I'm sure I'll be showing the work of more members as time goes on, but because Deb has a solo show underway at C'ville Arts in Charlottesville, Virginia throughout the month, I'll start with the remarkable mixed media pieces she creates that have wowed many of us in the group. Her series of colorful Siamese fighting fish never fails to attract attention.

Mixed Media Quilling - Sensual Betta
Sensual Betta

Deb told me she lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge mountains of Virginia and has worn many hats in her life - wife, mother, secretary, hairdresser, actress, radio personality, author, audiobook narrator, photographer, and Zentangler. All have contributed to her current favorite pastime, quilling. Hairdressing gave her a love of flowing lines and curls, and her photographer's eye and experience fostered a love of creating arresting visual scenes.

Mixed Media Quilling - Red Betta
 Red Betta

Two years ago, after spotting modern quilling on Pinterest, Deb began experimenting with techniques. Initially, she glued traditional quilled shapes directly onto the surface of misprinted photos, but quickly switched to on-edge monograms and flowing designs.

Linear Quilling - Lines and Curves
Lines and Curves

Deb began a series of quilled ballerinas called Tiny Dancers; originally, they were only 8x10 inches when complete. She would find an image, alter and edit it, and print it out. Then she would watercolor the dancer and quill the leotard and tutu. It was like grownup paper dolls! She began embellishing the dancers with tiny jewels and spangles in addition to the quilling.

Mixed Media Quilling - Leaping Grace
Leaping Grace

Last year, Deb was asked to do an exhibit that would include much larger pieces. She experimented with having her Tiny Dancer images printed on canvas, which she then quilled atop - a new and scary experience. Her Tiny Dancers went from 8x10 inches to 30 x 40 inches, and leapt onto the walls of the exhibit, exuding vibrant life and movement.

Mixed Media Quilling - Three Tiny Dancers
Tiny Dancers

Deb says that while she is at work by day as a law firm's file manager, visions of new projects dance in her head. "People will often look at my quilling and say it must be so tedious. I tell them I don't do tedious. I've never been able to shut my inner three year old up long enough to meditate. When I begin to quill, I clear my work space, put on beautiful, happy music, say a quick prayer of gratitude, and start. THAT is my meditation. Applying sequins, one by one, can be deliciously quiet and centering. Until I drip glue on my piece..."

Mixed Media Quilling - Winged Grace
Winged Grace

See more of Deb's work at Different Light Studio and on Facebook.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

This is a short biography of the post author and you can replace it with your own biography.


  1. These are absolutely beautiful! And to see them in person is breathtaking! The photos just don't do these works-of-art justice...You have got to see them in person!!!

  2. Wowed is right !!! These are fabulous!!!

  3. Kim, I would love to see them in person. Lucky you!

  4. Deb's work is just beautiful. I've seen her quilling first hand and find it absolutely delightful, and it's truly a joy listening to Deb talk about her work and her passion for it. I congratulate her on this article and on her recent exhibits - the most recent at C'ville Arts. Great article!!

  5. Hi Ann,

    Thank you for showing an insight into Deb's world.

    This is Zoe from Facebook

  6. Anon, I'm glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

  7. Hi Zoe, I always enjoy hearing the back story to an artist's work. I'm happy to hear you liked reading about Deb's. Both of you are a credit to the quilling world!

  8. I only discovered Deb about a year and a half ago. . .her work (and her photography are simply amazing. . .this year I treated myself to an original. . .and oh my goodness - seeing the depth and dimensions of her work are breath-taking. Thank you for spotlighting her!!

  9. You're welcome, Diane. Thanks for your first-hand report on Deb's art.

  10. This quilling art work is truly stunning. The movement and realism is breath taking. What an inspiration!

    1. So glad you enjoyed seeing Deb's art! I agree with you.


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