Saturday, October 3, 2015
Artist Interview: Philippa Reid
I'm very pleased to be able to post this interview with quilling artist Philippa Reid! She has provided a wealth of information about her quilling life, as well as the Quilling Guild (UK) and their magazine, Quiller's Today!
1. How old were you when you started quilling, and how did you get involved?
I first got into papercrafts in 2007, when I was about to retire from full-time work at the age of 52. In those days I was a burned-out freelance writer, desperate to free myself from the relentless pressures of a career in marketing/PR, and ready to divert my creative energies into something visual rather than verbal! I received a catalogue through the mail containing intriguing details of a kit for making paper roses ... I sent for it, and received some interesting papers, punches, a needle tool and a packet of card blanks. I hadn't ever thought of making cards before, so I bought a book on the subject which included individual chapters on different card-making techniques, one of which was quilling! It gave details of some very simple projects based on closed loose coils which fascinated me at once. I had never seen quilling before, but I immediately fell in love with the look and the idea of paper filigree work. I bought a pack of multi-coloured quilling strips, a cheap and nasty plastic slotted tool (quickly discarded in favour of the needle tool that had come with the rose kit) and set about teaching myself to quill from specialist books and information that I was able to obtain on the internet, especially through people's blogs.
As soon as I got to grips with quilling, I wanted to do it 'differently' and to do it for a purpose. It's very much part of my nature to think creatively about unusual applications for things and push the conventional boundaries of my chosen art. So I experimented, beginning by combining quilling with photographs and digital graphics to create unusual greetings cards which I sold at my local village market. I designed and created quilled earrings and other types of jewellery which also proved to be popular. I learned to cast moulded acrylic shapes, creating paperweights with quilled motifs (and other things!) embedded in them. I started a blog, too, in which I shared my experimental endeavours with quilling - it quickly gained a significant following. Latterly, I've got more into creating framed pictures, moving away from cards and jewellery to concentrate on larger projects. All this brought me a level of creative satisfaction which I had not experienced in the world of work for a very long time.
2. What is your favorite project(s) that you have quilled? Was it a gift or a special occasion?
I think my favourite project so far has been a piece which won three awards in The Quilling Guild competitions for 2014. It's called 'Bordering on Antiquity', and was made partly for the Guild's competitions and also as an Accreditation project. My aim was to explore the artistic potential of intersecting circles using various border techniques that are evident in antique quilling, creating a piece which uses traditional quilling methods to produce a design which is unashamedly modern!
3. What is your current quilling work-in-progress?
I'm in desperate need of one!! My last project - the quilled fantasy octopus - occupied me for about six months, and was made as a competition entry for two events in 2015. Having just returned from The Quilling Guild's annual meeting at which it was most recently exhibited, I'm ready to start a new project but haven't yet decided what it's going to be. I feel lost without a current work-in-progress!
4. Where do you get your ideas for new projects?
From nature, architecture and other art forms. I tend to get a basic outline for an idea, start it, and then make it up/refine the detail as I go along! I am not a conventional quiller: I don't use patterns, and I'm not really into floral arrangements, cute characters or 'twee' images. My tendency is towards the abstract, and for that reason my work tends to be very different from 'mainstream' quilling art.
I'm delighted to say that I have won several prizes over the years, not just with The Quilling Guild, but also at a major regional country show and a national Women's Institute competition. I don't sell at the market any more, as I wanted to free up my time for my growing involvement with the Guild and to tackle larger quilling projects. I love receiving commissions to create quilled pictures, and I have also had work on show in a local gallery which brought me a great deal of satisfaction. I enjoy doing workshops and demonstrations, and hope to do more of this, delivering activity sessions at outdoor events, in elderly care homes and at children's parties. I think, most of all, I would love to provide a student with one-on-one tuition, perhaps helping a promising youngster to develop creatively using quilling skills taught to Quilling Guild Accreditation standards.
6. How do you find and communicate with other quillers in the community?
The internet has always been my window on the quilling world, where my online persona is 'Quilliance'. In addition, of course, it is always wonderful to meet with fellow quillers face to face through Quilling Guild events. In the village where I live (in southern England), I became quite well known locally for my market activities, and people still come to me privately to commission work or book the occasional demonstration.
I joined The Quilling Guild in 2010, having read about it first on the internet. At the time, the current Membership Secretary lived just a few miles from me, and invited me to participate in her local quilling group, which I still do to this day. Learning of my background in marketing and recognising my enthusiasm, she nominated me to join the Guild Committee, which I did in 2012. As a Committee member, I was keen to use my professional experience to help promote the Guild in order to try and attract new members in the internet age. I launched a private blog for Quilling Guild members, called 'Quilling Now!', which has proved to be very successful, and also re-vamped the Guild's website at www.quilling-guild.co.uk. In 2013, when the previous Editor moved on, I volunteered to take on the Editorship of the Guild's magazine, 'Quillers Today'. That same year, I succeeded in gaining Accreditation from the Guild in respect of my technical quilling skills.
8. Tell us more about editing "Quillers Today" - what interests you as an editor, and how can members best use and contribute to the magazine?
After a long break from writing, it has become an absolute joy for me to commission, edit and originate articles about a subject that I truly love. I can honestly say that being the Editor of 'Quillers Today' - a 32-page, full colour seasonal magazine - is "the best job that I never had"!! I keep my eyes open online to watch what is going on in the world of quilling, and never hesitate to approach Guild members and ask them if they would be willing to share information about what they are doing in the magazine. Mostly, they are delighted to oblige! Of course, I'm always happy to receive unsolicited material, too! My aim is to make it easy for people to contribute. Not everyone has the time or confidence to write articles themselves, so I just ask them to send me the basic facts about a project or activity in note form, together with some relevant photos, which I can then pull together into a magazine feature on their behalf. When people tell me that they like the combination of patterns, projects, news and features that I put together in the magazine, it really is music to my ears!
9. How do you stay current with new techniques and trends in quilling?
The Quilling Guild's annual 'Quill, Chat and Chill Days' provide a great forum for sharing and learning new techniques. I also keep a close eye on developments in the online quilling community via social media and people's blogs.
10. What one aspect of or technique in quilling do you really want to learn (or learn to do better)?
The quest for perfection is ongoing, especially in terms of achieving perfectly round and regular closed loose coils!
11. Do you have a blog/website/online gallery?
Yes, I have several links I can share with you:
My current blog: http://quilliance.wordpress.com
My original blog: http://quilliance.blogspot.com
Photos of my work on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/philippa_reid/
Quilliance on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Quilliance-151266724899022
My quilling workshops and demonstrations: http://learntoquill.weebly.com
Image Credit: All images belong to