Saturday, January 13, 2018

Quilling Workshop - UUCC Women's Retreat

Smiling with my quilling
supplies at hand.
There was a buzz of happy conversation during registration for the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Columbia's (UUCC) Women's Retreat this January 6th.  We hadn't had a woman's retreat in over a year, and this one-day mini-re"treat" was indeed a treat.

I was excited and honored that my quilling workshop was selected as part of the program!  As I noted in a previous post, at the last women's retreat I quilled my name tag.  This tag started all sorts of conversations, including one that suggested I should teach quilling at the next retreat.  It was really gratifying to see that idea come to fruition.

Now, I had taught a quilling workshop just the week before to children aged 5-12.  It went wonderfully, but all my materials were in a happy mess.  I had to scramble to get myself organized for the Jan 6th retreat.  With organization mostly achieved, I packed 15 of my 50 quilling books into my rolling craft carrier, along with tools, paper, patterns, glue and all the rest.  I included some of my actual quilling, like my Halloween Sampler, Spiral Moon, and Berry Sampler.

Discussing quilling designs with artist
Carol Zika.  The books were a great way
to introduce the world of quilling.
Everyone found something to inspire them.
The room filled with the 20 people who had scheduled for the workshop.  I was prepared with a pile of tools and paper (thanks muchly to Quilled Creations and their teacher discount!) so everyone had their own to work with.  We started with introductions, and then I spent time passing around my quilling examples as well as quilling books so everyone would have a chance to see all the amazing things that are possible with nothing more than paper and glue.

Then we got deep into the paper, with everyone practicing how to form the basic loose coil.  As it happens, I don't quill with a tool; I've been using my fingers alone for decades.  I only use a needle tool in some specific circumstances.  Many of my quillers with stiffer hands and arthritis found the slotted tool to be the most user-friendly way to quill.  Some quillers preferred the fingers-only approach. 

I find this is a very important point in a workshop, because an experienced quiller makes things look easy, and for first timers quilling can be tricky.  When their first coils don't look like mine, I always see some frustration.  So I provide a lot of encouragement and coaching at this point, trying to get people to adjust to the fact that their initial attempts might not be as perfect as they had hoped.  Quilling, like any craft, gets easier the more you do it.  The group was having fun, and was very motivated, so collective frustration didn't last long.

Here I am demonstrating my personal
take on the finger quilling technique.
I handed out sheets with various shapes (thanks here to the NAQG formal list of shapes and names) and we made teardrops, squares, triangles, eyes, and more.  By this time some of the quillers were off - seeing things in the books they wanted to try and just going for it.  Others spent more time quilling the basic shapes, trying to hone their technique.

By the end of our time, everyone had at least some quilled shapes to take home, while others had used the cards I provided to make some pretty substantial designs.  I was able to hand out extra paper to everyone, and even some tools to those who wanted to use them.  I also gave everyone a three page handout I had prepared that included: information about quilling, instructions on making the basic shapes, and free snowflake patterns I designed using those shapes.  It also included my contact information.  It was really nice to get two emails the very next day from people who said they had a great time, and wanted to continue to quill!

I had a great time sharing something I have loved since I was nine years old (which means 40 years of quilling, yikes!)  It was also wonderful to have some more time to connect with the women at UUCC.  I'm looking forward to our retreat this fall in early December!

Images:  Pics using my camera taken by workshop attendee.  Carol Zika's face and name appear with her permission.

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