I’m fortunate to have been born into a family of makers. My dad is the proverbial fix-it man, and mother and grandmothers were role models of patience while introducing me to many crafts during my childhood. Christmas at our house always included the latest kits and stacks of supplies under the tree. I became a medical/surgical hospital nurse and although I loved my fast-paced job, I always looked forward to coming home and spending a stress-free hour or two on whatever craft I was immersed in at the moment.
Several years ago, I noticed an article in a magazine about something that was completely new to me, called paper filigree. I was instantly captivated by its elegant look and the seemingly magical things that could be done by rolling and shaping narrow strips of paper. I set about reading all I could find on the subject and connected with other paper artisans via online groups. I was interested to learn that paper filigree has changed very little in its five hundred year history. Believed to have begun in European monasteries, gilded paper coils and scrolls were used to embellish objects as an alternative to more costly gold or silver filigree.
Once I had familiarized myself with the technique, quilling as it’s also known, became one of the most relaxing things I’ve ever done. Completely immersed in my thoughts, I plan a project and move through the steps of creating it. Most of all I love the challenge of making something that shows a completely fresh approach to this age-old art.
When doing demonstrations to introduce paper filigree to others, some people are so fascinated they linger to watch and ask many questions. I love seeing their enthusiasm and excitement, so similar to what I felt the first time I came across paper quilling.
I’m grateful that the simple act of shaping paper allows me to unleash my creative side and brings goodness into my life – new skills, new friends, and a sense of accomplishment with each completed design.
My name is Ann Martin and I'm a paper filigree artist in Delaware. US. I design projects for books and magazines and enjoy writing about a wide variety of creative paper artisans on my blog, All Things Paper.