Monday, August 24, 2015

Book Review: The Book of Paper Quilling

The Book of Paper Quilling - Techniques and Projects for Paper Filigree by Melinda Johnston.  Published by the Sterling Publishing Company, 1994.  144 pages.

I rate it ... excellent!

4.9 / 5.0

See my post about book reviews for details about my review criteria and biases.

Next to the last book I reviewed (Paper Art for Everyone) this is probably my favorite.  Or at least one of my favorites :)  It is one of the first of what I'd consider to be the "modern" breed of quilling books.  I have in my mind this idea that the "traditional" quilling books/kits/patterns were published in the 70's and 80's, and the "modern" quilling books generally in the 90's until today.  And there are other quilling books that I consider sort of "post-modern."  I call these "innovative."  These offer really new looks at techniques and projects (like typography, illustration, cross-cultural, and impressionistic work). 

Anyway, with that in mind, this is an excellent modern quilling book.

The book begins with a brief history of quilling, and then moves into the introductory/tutorial section.  The bulk of the subsequent pages are spent on projects and patterns, followed up by a gallery of wonderful quilled pieces.  Really, this is sort of my ideal outline for a "working" quilling book.

What I like:
First of all, the quality of the quilling the book is invariably high.  All the pieces are uniform, created with even tension and have a nice, even, lacy quality.  There are very small, regular center holes to each of the pieces.  The history section is accompanied by images of period quilling pieces, and the accompanying text includes several references, although more would have been welcome.  The "getting started" section is very well constructed, including showing how different paper widths effect the finished quill.  The "menu" of quilled shapes is comprehensive, and high quality.  Techniques include looping, husking, and weaving.  The bulk of the book, as noted, is filled with interesting patterns, each with detailed instructions.  Patterns include: wall art, wreaths, miniatures, ornaments, eggs, borders, gift tags, cards, magnets, coasters, baskets, jewelry, hats, and an incredible chess board with pieces.  At the end there are even simple motifs for kids to quill.  The gallery includes abstract quill art, as well as impressive, more traditional pieces.

What I like less:
Honestly, just the history section.  It needs a touch more of a scholarly approach with more citations and references for information.  That's it, really.

So if you like quilling, this is a must have, as far as I'm concerned.  And if you don't have it yet, you can get it used for less than $3.  With 144 pages of great quilling, it's a total steal.

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