Quilled Balalaika by Licia Politis at Sydney Royal Easter Show

Another year, another Sydney Royal Easter Show, and another award-winning quilled artwork by my talented Australian friend, Licia Politis! For this year's competition she chose to create a tribute to her beloved and musical father-in-law who passed away last August.

Quilled Balalaika

She constructed Manoli's Balalaika, a colorful representation of a traditional 3-stringed Russian instrument, from thin foam board and decorated it with a quilled folk art design that features feathery birds, vibrant flowers, foliage, and berries. It was awarded a First Prize in the Quilling Section and is on display in the Standard of Excellence Showcase.

Quilled Balalaika at Sydney Royal Easter Show 2017

Licia's father-in-law actually played a Greek bouzouki, which is a similar instrument, but has a curved body. She chose to make a balalaika "due to its interesting shape and because it could be scaled down to under 50 cms (20") without looking too small. The balalaika comes in several shapes and traditionally the piccolo balalaika measures 66 cms (26"), so taking it down just that bit more seemed doable without looking odd."

Quilled Balalaika (detail) by Licia Politis

Licia said she is certain he would have loved this piece and her achievement.
Quilled Balalaika - Back Detail

She also admitted, "The paper engineering was a massive challenge for me!"
 Quilled Balalaika - Detail

"I took inspiration for the design from a Ukrainian painting. Berries or cherries are often seen in Russian quillwork. I also incorporated bandaging [the wrapped red and gold edging], spirals, and vortex coils, as I often do."

The Sydney Royal Easter Show closes this Wednesday, April 19 so be quick if you want to see the balalaika and other entries in person. See photos of some of Licia's previous Easter Show winners: Ombré Layer Cake, Bird Cage, If the Shoe Fits, and Fruit Basket and Chess Set.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. Amazing what love can move some to make. It is a gorgeous piece of work and I am sure will be loved by the family for a long time.
    XO April

  2. Thank you all for your comments. I'm glad you enjoyed seeing Licia's latest quilled project.


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