Sydney Royal Easter Show Winner - Paper Garden of the Sea

It's been several years since Licia Politis's winning entries in the annual Sydney Royal Easter Show competition have been highlighted here, so it's high time to rectify that. And easy too, because for this year's show she created a heart-shaped profusion of colorful quilled elements titled Paper Garden of the Sea that was awarded First Place. 


heart-shaped profuse array of colorful, quilled elements that depict a sea vegetation scene hanging on door


Amazingly, this was the sixteenth time Licia's quilling took First Place (her initial First was for a card in 2002). Not only that, but for the thirteenth time, her work was placed in the Arts and Crafts Standard of Excellence Showcase. It's no wonder when you notice just how many techniques she included, not to mention the precision of her quilling.


array of brightly colored, quilled elements resembling a sea theme hanging on door


The double folded accordion strips that wind around the interlocking hanging chain are called Witch's Ladder, for example. If you're curious about the various quilling techniques, click the link to see a handy guide posted by the UK Quilling Guild.


array of colorful, quilled elements resembling sea vegetation


Originally, Licia had planned the piece that depicts underwater plants, sea life, and coral to be covered with a Perspex box, but was pleased when, after much deliberation, she made a heart-shaped wall hanging instead.


array of brightly colored, quilled elements positioned on heart-shaped background


"The base is a piece of polystyrene, approximately 1.5 cms thick. Therefore, it is quite light. I covered it with lime green tissue paper and used lots of cut up foam balls and foam Easter egg shapes that I also covered with tissue, as support for the quilled parts in the design. By using polystyrene, I was able to use dress making pins to hold the marine life shapes in place while I worked out the design and placement.


array of colorful, quilled elements resembling a sea theme


"I started by quilling heaps of components that I thought would be underwater-related shapes….grasses, coral, anemones, sea urchins, and starfish. While some shapes look similar and recognisable, others are pure fantasy." 


profusion of brightly colored, quilled elements with an underwater sea theme


"Probably the trickiest part of the composition was the bottom centre area, which was the last part of the design. I enjoyed using witch's ladder technique to represent seagrass and seaweeds. Pixie hood loopings and vortex coils were included in the design too."

detail of brightly colored, quilled elements resembling a sea theme

Licia has been entering the show since 1997. She told me she cringes at her early show work, but appreciates that it has evolved over time. I include her statement just to show that the old adage is definitely true... practice makes perfect! 


brightly colored, quilled elements in a sea theme


She also said that she actually couldn't believe that she finished the piece, as more than once over the several weeks that it took to create, she wanted to stop. Luckily, her artistic adult children kept her on task by offering wisdom and support that helped her to focus.


smiling woman holding heart-shaped colorful quilled display that depicts sea vegetation


Enjoy a look back at several of Licia's previous winning entries:  


Ombré Layer Cake 


Sea Quill  


A Day at the Races 


Bird Cage


Succulent Wreath 

Follow along with Licia's latest creations via Instagram where she is @paper_to_jewellery.

Ann Martin
Ann Martin

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  1. THANK YOU Ann for the post on my latest piece, Paper Garden of the Sea. I appreciate your interest in my quilling, which is very kind of you. I look at the piece and I am amazed that I completed that in 6 weeks! Thanks again🤗

    1. You're very welcome, Licia! It was an enormous undertaking and as usual you gave it your all. Congratulations!


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