History of Quilling

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In the 13th century Italian nuns would cut off the gold edges from the pages of their books; then used a feather to create filigree shapes from their every day world.   In fact, work of high quality was achieved by the Italian and French nuns of the 13th and 15th centuries. 

As paper became more available, the wealthy nunneries provided paper for the nuns to create shapes to adorn their precious objects. They  discovered that the exposed edge was sharp and often cut them.  Gold and silver was plentiful so it was melted, and using the feather, very gently they would paint the gold or silver unto the exposed edge; thus
gold filigree was born.

quill-crop.jpg (18060 bytes)Until the gold was painted onto the paper the nuns had created Filigree; much as filigree was, pre dating this period; and as it is made today.  Any material whatsoever that can be manipulated into the Quilled shapes is called filigree and it is, as it always has been, a craft.  However when the gold or silver  was applied, an art form was born, and to this art they gave the  name QUILLING; which  refers to the tool on which the shapes were made.  A feather or Quill.

Courtesy of the British Quilling Guild