Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Cut-Coil Quilling A Reverse Monogram


This 2" thumbnail is from my sketch book. At first I had planned to make quilled teardrops surround a letter shape, then remove the letter and allow the negative space be the monogram. Then I realized the Cut-Coil technique could be something better to experiment with.


I do enjoy the stately look of serifs, and placed my previously made cut-coil flower gift tags underneath a letter E to help imagine how it might turn out. I felt the serifs would cut into the flowers too much, so opted for a sans serif font instead. The one I chose to use is Amaranth, Bold, at 500 pt (a free font from Font Squirrel).



After cutting it out of card stock, I turned it upside down to add "plinths" made of quilling strips I trimmed in half widths. This made it the perfect mid-way height to fence in my quilling – not too high or low. 



After making solid coils and gluing them to all the corners, I dabbed the circles with Zig 2-way glue. When it's dry, it allows me to place my letter onto my work surface and keep it in place. When I'm done quilling, I can remove it without leaving a mark. I will sometimes even use it for my quilled pieces when I'm not sure of the placement but need to keep the elements tame until I'm ready for permanent glue.

Although I tried to make a video to explain this process, I haven't quite figured out all the technical kinks so am going to re-iterate my process a bit more fully here again.


I chose to use 3 colors that came in 26" lengths: 4 Red, 6 Fuschia, and 5 Pink were used in total for this entire project. I made a small inner coil to start off the flower (left), then made 5 coils of 4" lengths, wrapped around a skewer stick to ensure I got larger rings.


Using fine tip tweezers, I pushed the coils toward the end of the outermost ring. Then I pinched the opposite side. I snipped through all the layers and have my cut coils.


 Placing a finger lightly on the coils, I separate them one by one using tweezers.


Here are all the components I had anticipated using for one large flower.


Starting with the inner coil, I glue the smallest cut pieces all around it. I simply keeping picking up the smallest pieces, rotate the flower until the petal appears to fit well, before gluing permanently. As it comes in contact with the letter, I flow around it.


When I first imagined the challenge of how the petals would interact with the letter's outer edges, I had assumed I'd want to cut the flower petal midway, to make it appear to be peeking from behind the letter.


However, after removing the E, I realized that's the wrong look completely. I now plan to remove those snipped petals. How did I remove glued quilled items?


I lay an x-acto knife it on it's edge and slowly slice into the glue, separating the paper as best as possible.


The paper fibers on my surface are ruffled up, so I use the other end of my quilling tool and slide it over my surface to smoothen it out. I do plan to glue a full petal in this space, so the residual marring won't be very noticeable.


Here is the start of my quilled monogram. I plan to soften the harder letter lines with added petals so it's not so deliberate-looking.



Here's the next stage where the E is taking more shape.


I think it's 95% there but will take the time to look at it with fresh eyes on another day and fill in the spots I think need filling. Honestly, I don't know if this is what I had in mind. I wanted the flowers to flow more into one another and I had thought the petals on the edge of the letter would be less obstructed looking.

One student at my quilling demo the other day admitted she was hesitant to start quilling even though she had wanted to for years. I was surprised because in my mind, it's just paper – not a huge investment. However, at the beginning of this I was hesitant in case it "didn't work out" and feared investing my emotional disappointment. In fact, I was assembling the flowers without gluing them to the surface, which took excruciatingly long to do – just so I could move them around until I had the "perfect" spot for them. I made 3 flowers this way, then gave up or else I'd never be done. Now I have a much better appreciation for her tentativeness in trying something new. In the end, I realize the only way to learn if this was going to turn out was to simply "do it"!

I'm often asked how long it takes me to quill a project. It took 3 weeks to reach this stage in between my job and life. I often start a timer at the beginning of a project, to record a true time, and I've never successfully remembered to either shut it off when the phone rings or turn it back on after dinner.

Does anyone else have a method of tracking time that works for them?

14 comments:

  1. Hi Cecelia, great idea, fascinating to see it taking shape. Love the detail of how your project is progressing.

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    1. Hi Karen, so happy to hear this is intriguing to you! Have you given it a try?
      Cecelia

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    1. Hi Eliza, thanks so much for your kind words!

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  3. I think it turned out great! You're right, sometimes you just have to go for it and give it a proper go before deciding whether it works or not. I bet this technique would look great with all sorts of different styles of quilling. I haven't given cut coils a try yet, but I do plan to one of these days!

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    1. Hi Honey, I can't wait to see what you do with it! I know you'll come up with something clever!
      Cecelia

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  4. Dear Cecelia, I am sure that with your magic fingers and a little bit of practice you'll get the hang of it in no time, and your next attempt will be flawless! With every new project you are bound to hit some bumps, but I always enjoyed this journey of discovering something new! I wouldn't add any more petals to this one, it looks exquisite just as it is. :)
    Same things happens to me, too, I never know for sure how many hours I spend working on a project, even thought I tried timing myself so many times...
    Love,
    Manu

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    1. Hi ManuK, I'm always thrilled to see you here. You're right - I have no idea why I was so hesitant - it's only by seeing the improvements that we can then learn. Thank you so much for your encouragement!!!
      Hugs, Cecelia

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  5. Very inspiring !!
    Thanks for sharing

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    1. Hi Pily, thank you so much for letting me know you've enjoyed my ideas! :D

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  6. So clever !! you are such an intelligent crafter , I learn so much from you , keep sharing. I am hoping to try your dahlia as soon as I find time.

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    1. Oh Suganthi, you're always such a great cheerleader for me! I really do hope you find some time for your fingers to play soon!

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  7. Your method gives a very pretty effect. Do you find it to be more time consuming than typical coil rolling and gluing? I'm like you... I never seem to be disciplined enough to keep track of time after the first session or two.

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    1. Thanks so much Ann! As you know, I haven't done much standard coiling, but I'd have to say yes simply because the airy coils cover a large area quickly.

      Standard quilling is easier to handle if one prefers to make them before gluing down the entire flower. When I tried doing that, it was going to be impossibly fragile and finicky because the glue points were so minute. I gave up after 3 flowers.

      I think what intrigues me most is how each flower has its own personality, a random feel to the petal size and curve that I can't homogenize, even if I tried.

      Ah, good to know I'm not the only one who can't clock in/out, ha!

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