Wednesday, August 27, 2014

A Tribute to Aunt Berni


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!
She had 4 books from the 70s, some purchased from F&W Smith for 1 dollar. The basic beginner shapes are similar to the ones we have today. They used a corsage pin as a needle tool back then.


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!

16 comments:

  1. How sweet!! Really such an amazing tool and you are lucky to have received them.

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    1. Yes Suganthi, I am truly a lucky person indeed!

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  2. Just found one of the tools on Ebay for $10! Stoked!

    Awesome gift Cecelia! I would have been thrilled to receive such a time capsule too!

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    1. LOL!!! That's great you found one too LostnThought!
      Yup, believe me, I felt I had won the lottery!

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  3. what a delightful way to say thank you to a crafter who is no longer among us! thanks for sharing with us.

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    1. Thanks for visiting, tirane93! It was completely my honor to showcase her quilling. I knew everyone would enjoy seeing a blast from the past!
      Cecelia

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  4. As a kid I used to have that book in the bottom right of your picture. I used to dream of making that egg and oh! that piano!! Thanks for a great post.

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    1. Hi Stephanie! I know Kirsten and her family are happy Berni's supplies are triggering these great of childhood memories. :D

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  5. I love these kind of stories Cecelia

    ....it is like you were meant to be a quiller so when facebook was invented, Berni's niece would find you and pass on her supplies to you. They needed to go to the perfect person who would appreciate Berni and story behind the supplies.

    I received some quilling supplies a few years ago from a friend whose grandmother had passed away. My window into her quilling life was not as detailed as yours but it was amazing to get what she had saved.

    Awesome!!!
    Thanks for sharing
    Cheryl

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    1. Thanks so much Cheryl! I just knew our quilling community would love to discover and appreciate this as much as I did. That's great you had a similar experience too!

      Cecelia

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  6. Wow, how nice is this! No doubt Aunt Berni would be pleased.The paper colors are wonderful, the tool looks ingenious, and it was lovely of you to pass on supplies to the girls.

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    1. I'm so pleased you enjoyed this post Ann. The girls made us the sweetest quilled thank you card, staying up until 12 midnight to quill it, after just learning how.

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  7. Oh wow, what a treasure! That tool and the board are so cool. What detail went into the creation of that board, down to the little dent in the circle to more easily remove your piece. That's really neat you were able to share some of the supplies with newbie quillers. Lovely!

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    1. Yes, I was eagerly opening a gift box with my name on it! I'm happy I DO have a blog so other quillers will know about our shared history.

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  8. quel superbe trèsor, des outils précieux et plein de trucs pour le quilling c'est tombé dans de bonnes mains bravo

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    1. Bonjour evlin95, merci de commenter! Oui, j'ai eu la chance d'avoir hérité de ce merveilleux trésor!

      Hello evlin95, thank you for commenting! Yes, I was very lucky to have inherited this wonderful treasure!

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