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Paper filigree or quilling is a paper craft that consists in rolling thin strips of paper with the help of a needle point tool to form basic shapes that are glued together creating all different kinds of figurines simulating metal filigree.
Paper quilling can be used to do a great variety of designs such as flowers and animals that are used to ornate scrapbooks, greeting cards and pictures; figurines like Christmas ornaments, Nativity scenes and jewelry.
The earliest piece of preserved paper quilling was created in the 1600's but there are references to pre-17th Century works.
Tradition holds that the art form began in monasteries, abbeys and convents. In the Medieval and Renaissance periods religious houses worked preserving knowledge so they had access to paper, vellum and parchment.
When a page was trimmed for a scroll, a manuscript or a book the scraps were probably saved rather than discarded because paper was very precious in those times.
Most sources maintain that early work was used on reliquaries, icons and niches in churches and chapels.
In England on the Victorian era, noble ladies crafted paper quilling to decorate tea boxes and in that time the craft was exported to the American colonies where some sources claim that it got the "quilling" name because goose quills were used to make the filigree.
In the next years quilling production dwindled and was almost forgotten until the 1970's when interest revived and quilling techniques spread around the world.Please mouseover image to zoom.
Also needed to do quilling is a white glue that dries clear, tweezers and pins.
In Mexico paper quilling has given artisans an excellent medium to express their creativity and talent and it is used to make Christmas ornaments, nativity scenes, pictures, and jewelry such as pendants and earrings.