This gorgeous card featuring a quilled ship was sent to me by a dear friend in Vineyard Haven, on the beautiful and historic island of Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. She knows it is a hobby I love, and knew I would treasure it.
What is quilling, you ask? It is a paper craft, where long, narrow strips of paper are coiled with a quilling tool and then the coils adjusted into different shapes. It is an ancient art, with a religious background. Though it dates back to the ancient Egyptians, it was popularized in monasteries and abbeys, where nuns and monks would take the gold paper left over from book binding, trim it into strips, and roll it into shapes to decorate illuminated manuscripts. Later, it became a pastime for European ladies, who would use it to decorate cards and boxes, just as we do today.
And why is it called "quilling"? It is because the original quilling tools were birds' feathers, where the groove in the quill held the end of the paper strip.
TRY IT YOURSELF
You can make simple little yachts (great for little boys' birthday cards), or use the same strips of paper to make flowers to decorate a card, or a little box holding a few choice candies. Or a rabbit (for an Easter card).
The card pictured at the top, the one Kay sent me, is really exceptional. The outlines of the masts, hulls, and sails have been delineated with fine strips of card, and then the delicate coils have been slotted neatly into the shapes. Note the simple coils that depict the waves. It has been created by a Vietnamese artist with very nimble fingers.