Sunday, August 9, 2015

Book Review: Quilling - Paper Art for Everyone

Quilling:  Paper Art for Everyone by Betty Christy and Doris Tracy.  Published by the Henry Regnery Company 1974.  205 pages.

I rate it ... excellent!

4.8 / 5.0

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

This was my very first quilling book, and I adored it.  Still do.  As a child I read it about a million times.  Really.  You can see this copy is pretty beat up.  I was captivated by the pictures of old quilling, and the stories of the history of the craft.  The gallery of images of quilling projects was inspiring, even if in black and white.  And the tutorial for beginners was well thought out and easy to follow.  So my bias is often to judge other books by this one.  Does the book inspire me?  Is it factual and interesting?  Is it easy to use?  And the most important … does it make me want to run off and quill right now?

The book starts with a well thought out history of quilling.  The impression is that the authors did some serious legwork to find out all they could.  Some of their facts and assertions are backed up by references or citations, but others are not.  They do make some of their own claims based on personal research of items in museums, but these are often supported by pictures and dates of the individual pieces.  Overall the section reads very well, and comes off as both scholarly and interesting.

The second major section is the quilling tutorial.  It is very detailed with large images of possible shapes and how to make them.  The quality of the quilled shapes is high, and each coil is appealing.  The tutorial ends with a 'first project' - making a quilled daisy.  It demonstrates all the issues one might encounter dealing with a daisy, such as lining up the petals and having them all 'curve' in the same direction.  Then the book proceeds to give you more than a dozen ways you might employ a daisy as decoration or embellishment, allowing your mind to wander to consider all the ways quilling can be used.

The next section offers hints and tips, such as using watercolors or spray paints to color your own paper.  Of course, these days there are such a wide variety of papers available that gilding one's own paper with gold isn't really necessary, but might be fun and a way to create unique colors and textures.

The book winds up with an inspiring gallery of projects, some with line art drawings to assist you if you want to try to make one of them yourself.  I got to see the quilled church in real life as a kid, as it was 'on tour' with the artist (or an artist who made one exactly like it, and I was young so couldn't tell the difference) who was teaching quilling classes.

Overall, a great book.  Nearly perfect.  Inspiring, historical, and with a solid tutorial for a beginner.  Worth grabbing a copy if you are a collector, certainly, but also simply if you like good quilling books.  It's out of print, but I've spotted it used on places like Amazon for less than $2!  Well worth it, I say.

Image Credit:  My pic of my book on my shelf.

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