Quilled Succulent Wreath - Licia Politis

I always enjoy featuring my Australian friend Licia Politis's annual entry into the Sydney Royal Easter Show quilling competition and this year is no exception. Have a look at the gorgeous paper succulent wreath she created for the 2019 show that takes place April 12-23 at the Sydney Showground.

quilled succulent wreath hanging on door

Competition winners will be announced this Wednesday evening at the Sydney Royal Arts Preview. [Edit: The wreath won the Frances Binnie Award and is on display in the Showcase of Excellence! This is the first time quilling or paper art of any kind has received the prize.] For those of you who are lucky enough to attend, you'll have a chance to see all of the entries throughout the show, as well as watch a quilling demo on April 23 from 9-5 that will be presented by members of a local quilling group.

quilled succulent wreath detail

Licia put a great deal of thought into the making of the wreath and entertained me with images throughout the process. Because she is always willing to share her quilling knowledge, I asked Licia to tell us why she chose to make this particular project, along with construction details and tips learned.

quilled green paper succulents on wreath - detail

Most of my inspiration came from my love of growing succulents. Easy to care for, they require little water in our arid climate.  I have a small collection that I referred to often while completing the wreath. In the foreground you can see examples of string of pearls and string of hearts plants that are included as paper versions.

potted succulent varieties

My sister Gilda is my main inspiration for growing succulents - she plants them in all sorts of vessels. One example is this sheath that fell from a coconut palm. Most of the ones I see are so twisted they won’t hold soil, but this one is an ideal planter. I've noticed a general resurgence of people creating living succulent wreaths since last Christmas, as well as cakes decorated with succulents, in jewellery designs, and some in quilling too.

palm sheath succulent planter

I tried to use as many quilling techniques as possible in my design. The list includes closed loose rolls, tight coils, dimensional tight coils, ring coils, interlocking ring coils, bandaging, wheat ears, alternate side looping/huskings, vortex coils, and crimping.

quilled succulent wreath detail with alternate side loop example

Loads of learning was involved in this piece... it was a challenge even creating the basic succulent shape! In the beginning I was quilling a more flattened version that looked like a flower, but realized I needed to position the petals to stand more upright.

quilled succulents including examples with cupped elements

I used nearly 200 x 30 cm (12 inch) strips to make each of the larger plants, tearing and curling the ends before they were rolled. In general, I don't glue strips as I go, nor end to end. Instead, each strip is fed into the tight roll slowly... this way the petal can be shaped at completion.

quilled succulent wreath with hanging chain

I like to incorporate crimping and bandaging techniques into my quilled art. A crimped edging worked well with succulents to create a bit of variation, shape, and light play. A bandaging example would be the chain links that suspend the wreath. There were several pieces that I originally quilled that went into the reject pile, but eventually I refashioned them to use in little crevices around the wreath.

quilled succulent wreath portion with pink and green plants

The rigid wreath vine that looks so realistic was actually constructed with lots of wire around which Licia twisted brown tissue paper. She used two grades of wire... the heavier type was coat hanger wire and the remainder was box wire, a much finer grade, but heavier than florist wire.

quilled succulent wreath on table

I found gluing the larger pieces to the wreath was extremely difficult, so I had no choice but to wire them in place with fine florist wire. The smaller pieces were glued, as were the strings of hearts and pearls.

jagged edge quilled succulent plant

Did you know that a quilling strip has a right and wrong side? The machine cutting process causes it to have a slight curve on one side (the 'correct' side) and an indentation on the other. It is important to pay attention to this and roll multiple strips all facing the same way so that the resulting coil will be as smooth as possible, a technicality many beginners wouldn’t realise.

close view of quilled succulent wreath

Licia Politis is on Instagram - @paper_to_jewellery

You might enjoy seeing some of her previous Sydney Royal Easter Show entries:

Quilled Bird Cage 

Quilled Layer Cake

Quilled Ship

Quilled Mannequin

Quilled Fruit Basket and Chess Set 

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Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. Wow! Stunning work! Love your wreath so much!

  2. WOW, Fabulous work! They apear so real if not for the close uo pics.

  3. This is absolutely W-O-N-D-E-R-F-U-L!

  4. Simply stunning! Every year she somehow outdoes herself!

  5. It was delightful to discover Licia continues to creating these stunning, cutting edge designs that have awed me since I met her. Outdoor succulents is a pursuit of mine too... and she captured these with amazing, life-like detail. I love how Licia, Yulia B., you and so many others have elevated paper arts beyond "crafting" and to see growing respect and much deserved acclaim and recognition being given to those who are inspired to create with humble paper!

    So fun to pop in for a visit to your blog after a very, very long absence from paper arts. Very thrilled to see the continued success and wide audience your blog has gathered...you have always been so gracious at highlighting and promoting the artistry of others as you pursued your own skillful, innovative and inspiring paper art.

    Best wishes for an amazing 2020, Ann!

    1. Oh Paula, it is so nice to read your kind words and see your smile again! I hope you and the family are fine and that the new year will be a good one. Would absolutely love to welcome you back into the quilling fold... um, roll! :D


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