I received a message through FaceBook from Kirsten the other day, whose Aunt Berni passed away a few years ago. While cleaning out her belongings, Kirsten and her mom found a box of quilling supplies and wanted to find someone who would appreciate and use her supplies. I was the incredibly lucky person they found, and I wanted to express my gratitude by writing a tribute to her aunt by showcasing her work and tools.
Berni (Bernice Spencer Wilmeth) enjoyed quilling flowers and created this lovely bouquet full of a variety of blossoms. There's something about ovals that frame a bouquet nicely. Kirsten tells me the quilling is on top of olive green raw silk - can you imagine using that in your craft room? I've never thought about quilling on top of fabric. My favorite is the blossom near the middle, shown from the side in a range of pinks. A similar, smaller bud is just to the left of it.
Here is a basket of flowers she made. Can you see all the layering involved here in the basket weaving and overlapping flowers? Can you imagine the patience it took to place all those elements? They didn't have Zig glue back then!
I now know how archeologists must feel, with fingers tingling to peel back the years, uncovering treasure. Her box of half-made shapes were safely stored in a hosiery box. Unopened strips were .49 cents for 50 strips, purchased at American Handicraft.
This is the slotted quilling tool Berni used - Hazel's Quill Quiky! Don't you just love this retro teal? My mom had a hand blender in this color. There is a hand cranked slotted tool and a disk with circle template. Turn the disk over to uncover a storage area for pins. They're used for making eccentric coils and maquise shapes. I think they took more care back then to ensure they were very even.
The slot is similar to ones I've seen for making paper beads. One hand holds the strip in place and the other cranks the lever on the opposite side. Even though the turning isn't smooth anymore (perhaps needs cleaning or from disuse), the tension is extremely even!
And oh, the paper! Sigh, just look at these gorgeous colors! They are earthy without being drab, vibrant without being bright. Can you see a hint of texture? They are also ever so slightly thicker than our usual fare and I look forward to trying them out. Wish I could buy this kind of paper today!
Was it kismet that my neighbor had 4 nieces visiting from Norway and Canada, and they asked for a quilling demo? Of course after making some simple hearts, they were asking where to buy supplies. They were leaving in a few days and wouldn't have time to shop while fitting in time with relatives. So I gave them the majority of the paper, in hopes that quilling may now be rekindled abroad.
Beyond quilling, Berni's talents lay in oil painting, sewing (clothes, quilts, purses), cooking, decorating, and flower arranging. She always wanted a little store – in today's world of Etsy and e-stores, I think she would have had quite a successful business. I'm so grateful to Kirsten and her family for letting me showcase Berni's quilling and supplies!