‘Quill’ your time away

Elizabeth Thomas creates wonders by folding and rolling papers.  Her art pieces look like colourful 3D replicas

Published: 18th January 2022 06:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th January 2022 06:31 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Malappuram-native Elizabeth Thomas has been quilling for some time to escape from sheer boredom. The quilling art using paper may sound new. But  the unconventional crafting method can lead to the creation of astonishing masterpieces by rolling thin strips of paper, bending and moulding the curls into shapes to create decorative designs. With her Instagram page, Soul of Quilling, the youngster has been creating and teaching paper art to those interested across the state and beyond.

Elizabeth was always fascinated and adored the craft works done by her mother, Annie, who worked as a primary school teacher in the Maldives. But art and crafts were not Elizabeth’s cup of tea until a decade ago. She tried the craft while waiting for an appointment letter as a software engineer in Bengaluru in 2017. 

“Out of curiosity, I tried making paper flowers through quilling which I learnt from mother. As I am a perfectionist on everything, I made the floral quilling with utmost care. Later, one of my colleagues noticed my quilled flowers and asked whether he could buy some as a gift for his friend. From then on I got serious in my pursuit. I started trying out new designs including decor pieces and wall hangings,” says Elizabeth.

Using the art of paper rolling and folding, she created dream catchers, a two-feet long peacock, photo frames that feature bride and grooms, house nameplates, mandalas and many such eccentric designs. At a glance, it may look like a 3D painting done on canvas. The multilayered coloured paper strips neatly stacked to create portraits of Jesus Christ and Argentina footballer Lionel Messi, a few of her favourites to mention. Crafting images of a girl on a swing, a woman wearing a colourful gown holding a birdcage, the just married couple portraits of Kodavas, Christian and south Indians in their traditional attires showcase how she converts the bits of paper to complex paper mosaics or models.

Great tolerance and strong idea are the pillars for a paper quilling artist. Elizabeth adds that it is not an easy job and paper cuts on her fingers are regular. “The fingers will get hurt from the sharp paper edges but the longing to get a good decorative piece make me neglect them and keep going. I didn’t paint even a flower during my childhood. But the passion to create paper images and a good colour sense helped me come up with unique pieces. The most challenging work was quilling the peacock. I collaborated with my mother for it and it’s a treasured piece for me,” she adds. 

Though the availability of quality paper strips aka acid-free paper for quilling is still a hard task, Elizabeth continues to explore her art including contemporary quilling. She also conducts workshops to teach more like-minded people. “Now I explore paper cutting and layering technique which gives a 3D effect to the image. The quilling is performed using five to 11 mm long paper strips using various folding designs. Teardrop, tight coil, half-moon, petal, heart, diamond and V shape are some of the patterns used mostly in paper quilling designs,” she says.

According to Elizabeth, the quilled paper designs are the new age green gifting options by youngsters as these are made using bio-degradable materials and wood frames. She also adds that paper quilling is good for every age group especially kids. “Due to online classes children are having more screen time, paper quilling is a good way to distract them and become creative,” she concludes. 



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