venerdì 22 novembre 2013

Quilling o filigrana di carta: un po' di storia /Quilling or paper filigrane: a little bit of history

Quilling, or paper filigree, is an ancient art, it apparently was present in ancient Egypt, and it has been more or less popular in different epochs: high quality works were produced by French and Italian nuns in sixteenth and seventeenth century, gentle dames in the Stuart period made little masterpieces, and even in the Georgian and Regency periods, and lately it's been the object of a revival through the works of some international artists, among which, in my opinion, one of the best is Yulia Brodskaya, who a couple of years ago was asked to prepare works for the Christmas windows for Coin, in Italy: they were spectacular displays, of a unique beauty.

Jane Austen, in Sense e Sensibility, mentions quilling and apparently also the Bronte sisters made works in this technique. Of course in the past it was made with parchment, even if it became more popular with the invention and development of paper. 

Nuns often decorated reliquaries and sacred pictures with it, and if it had been silver or gold coated it was quite difficult to distinguish it from precious metal filigree.

Anyway, we discovered it thank to the works of the Russian artist Yulia Brodskaya who enchanted us some time ago with her marvelous works of art. And we decided to make a few attempts at it, at the moment Christmas themed ones, but soon there'll be one dedicated to my wedding anniversary.

Here are our first "works": a Christmas tree and a candle, which, by the way, can be used also for Hanukkah, of for Saint Lucia, or for what you prefer as a feast of the Lights.

For the Xmas tree you need:
  • many paper strings, 2 mm. large, 8 cm. long each (there are pre-cut paper strips, but you can prepare them yourself) in dark green;
  • some strips, 2mm. large, in various colours (I used white, red and yellow) to prepare ornaments in the shape of little balls;
  • one brown stripe, 2 mm. large, 15 cm. long;
  • 6 yellow or gold stripes, 2 mm. large, 8 cm. long, for the star;
  • a thin wooden stick, like the one for skewers or a toothpick;
  • vinyl glue
  • a sheet of paper or light cardoboard to glue your work on
Begin from branches: roll (rolling is the basic movement in quilling, the one from which you obtain everything) each green paper strip until its half on one side, then take your wooden stick out without unrolling your strip of paper, roll the other side until the half, so as to obtain an S-shaped strip.

Go on like that until you obtain many S-shaped strips, rolling them more or less tightly, according to how much empty space you wish for your drawing.
Take the cardboard or shhet of paper and with a small brush brush the glue on it in the shape of a triangle, the basic shape for a Xmas tree. Then  start gluing the S-strips on it

until you obtain the fir you desire. If any S-strips are missing, you can roll some more and add them to your triangle.

Here's ours.
Once finished the fir, think about ornaments and roll the different coloured strips of paper in the form of a tiny spiral: here's a yellow ornament.

(this is the quilling instrument, but it's nothing more than a metal stick with a cut in it to hold the initial part of the paper strip while you roll, and it's not necessary, really)

Then glue your tiny paper ornaments where you wish on the fir, either within the spirals of the S-strips or on the outer branches, as you prefer.


Finally, think about the log: roll the brown strip until you obtain a spiral (if you want a log that is fuller than mine you simply have to use a longer strip of paper)
Then, with your fingers, press your spiral giving it a rectangular shape:.

And in the end the star as the top ornament: take your 6 yellow/golden stripes and prepare 6 spirals. Then take five of them and give them the shape of a triangle, pressing them on their sides, as in the 
photo below:


Glue the remaining spiral in the centre, then glue the 5 triangles around the central spiral, so as to form the points of the star.

And here's the tree:

La versione italiana è qui.

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