An old art form that involves the use of coloured strips of paper that are curled, rolled, twisted and manipulated to create abstract designs is called Paper Quilling. This technique was initially used centuries ago by nuns and monks to decorate book covers. The art form then spread to parts of Europe and America and gained popularity. Paper Quilling has become quite popular these days due to easy availability and low cost of the materials involved (paper, glue and quilling tools) and one can easily spot quilled jewellery and models in shops and art galleries.
Paper Quilling is being used by artists all over the world to create abstract art, illustrations and 3D models. One of the most famous artists known for bringing Paper Quilling to the center stage and creating elegant and detailed paper illustrations is Yulia Brodskaya. The Russian artist and her illustrations have earned her an international reputation and her long list of clients include Oprah Winfrey, Hermes, Cadbury and Starbucks, among many others.
I believe that one of the main reasons I enjoy the paper craft, is due to my love of the material: paper. Although I’ve always had a special fascination for paper, it has taken me a while to find my own way of working with it; and then it took a little longer to find out that the technique I have been using so intensively is called Quilling.
Paper always held a special fascination for me. I’ve tried many different methods and techniques of working with it, until I found the way that has turned out to be ‘the one’ for me: now I draw with paper instead of on it.
Yulia started her career by working as a graphic designer, but soon left it to pursue her real passion which lay in paper craft. She found ways to combine her love for paper and knowledge of graphic designing to create artworks that took the world by storm. Reference images, imagination and ideas would transform into detailed sketches which would later give way to coloured pieces of paper glued to the background. Bit by bit, the illustration and the story would come together and transform into a magical piece of art which would take peoples’ breath away.
Yulia calls her artworks ‘a declaration of love to the material and technique’ and although it takes her hours to complete even small to medium sized illustrations, she doesn’t shy away from experimenting. One of Yulia’s best known projects is based on unique ways of portraying old people. She focuses on approaching death and aging people, and has devoted hundreds of artworks to the same. One of the added bonuses of this project, according to Yulia, is being able to manipulate paper quilling to depict minute details like face wrinkles.
The old craft technique became much more popular after people all over the world witnessed Yulia’s experiments and she has been credited for breathing life into the art form and making it way more fun and modern.
One of the main reasons why people prefer Quilling art works over 2D paintings is probably the fact that the former adds a whole new dimension to the story- one is able to see the illustrations and feel them too. Paper craft is believed to be the most versatile out of all tactile crafts. The revival of this old art form has inspired a lot of young artists and they are trying their best to give Paper Quilling a new life and transform it into a contemporary art form.