Monday, November 16, 2015

Book Review: Pretty Quilled Cards

Pretty Quilled Cards by Cecelia Louie.  Published by Lark Crafts, Sterling Publishing Company, 2014.  127 pages. (Review updated Aug 7, 2016)

I rate it ... very good!


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

Pretty Quilled Cards is subtitled "25+ Creative Designs for Greetings and Celebrations."  I rarely put quilling on greeting cards, since such cards are hard to keep and store without marring the quilling (unless you leave them out or frame them.)  But I certainly have made quilled cards on occasion, and this book has a bevy of new designs for lovers of cards, tags, and such like.  I was also thrilled to find a quilling book with a relatively recent (2014) date - as I am looking to learn new techniques and am always on the hunt for new ideas.

It is a little difficult to rate the book, because it represents a significant departure from the "traditional" or even "modern" quilling in the books of the 2000's.  This book has more "innovative" or "new wave" quilling - emphasizing very loose coils and open outlines, rather than tight, lacy coils and borders that are completely filled in.  In fact, a lot of this isn't what I'd call quilling at all but instead "Paper Outlining" or "Paper Line Art" or even "Paper Collage."  This can be misleading for new quillers.  There are techniques in this book like 'softening' and 'scraping' that you won't find many other places.  The projects themselves are a little strange in terms of how they are presented, because every single strip of paper is shown with the necessary fold marks on it.  In other words, these designs show you specifically how and where to fold every single crease in every strip of paper.  This is different from other books, so it takes some getting used to.  So comparing this book directly to the other books I've reviewed isn't as straightforward as it could be.  But I'll give it a shot :)

What I liked:
New ideas and new designs.  Almost every project has something in it, however small, that I haven't seen elsewhere.  Even if it is just a trick of folding the paper, there is something new to be had.  The book is well illustrated and photographed, with lots of color pictures of projects.  The projects are highly detailed with copious instructions.

What I liked less:
The tutorial for beginners is not straightforward, and could cause some confusion.  There is a lot of coiling, opening, and recoiling of strips to achieve the effect the author wants to see in their quilling.  This may be necessary to achieve the very specific look and effects of this book, but is not at all necessary for many other forms of quilling.  This isn't mentioned, and a beginner could come away with the idea that this book shows the 'right' way to quill, and other books are 'wrong' rather than simply thinking of this as a different approach.  (Or perhaps a different craft altogether, such as "Paper Line Art" or simply "Paper Craft" etc.)  The projects often require use of a copier, or even color copier to get all of the pieces necessary - rather than emphasizing the use of materials a quiller might already have on hand.  There is no ancillary material at all, i.e. history, gallery of ideas, etc. (you know my bias.)

I wouldn't recommend the book for a beginner.  However, a practiced quiller who is looking for ideas for cards will find much to entertain themselves with here.  I'm glad it is on my shelf, even for the relatively high going price of a new, recent book (from $15 to $20).

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