While my blog and digital photo books have taken over my hobby time recently, my heart is more in the realm of paper crafting even if it’s been almost a year since I tackled a project. The days are just too short to do everything I want to do, so sometimes things get put aside for a while. I know that eventually I will circle back to my paper crafts and put my obsessively over stocked craft room to good use again.
I have always been drawn to other crafters who excel in the field and have an entire bookcase dedicated to books written by fellow memory keepers sharing their tips and tricks. So, when I realized that there was a quilling artist located in Maine, I knew I had my letter Q locked up. I too have tried my hand at quilling, but on a much more simplistic and less successful level.
Stacy Bettencourt creates incredible designs that bring paper to life. When I scrolled through her website, Quantum Artistic (formerly Mainely Quilling), and looked and the portfolio of designs she has done I am truly in awe. I recommend visiting her Pinterest board to see the range and scope of her work. It is impossible to pick a favorite although I find her quilled lobsters especially interesting probably because I love all things connected to Maine.
Below is a slideshow of pictures from Stacy that showcase her amazing designs.
Stacy was kind enough to answer a few questions for me about her quilling art.
How long have you been quilling?
I have been quilling since late 2014.
Are you self-taught or did you take any lessons?
I am completely self-taught as are most quillers. It’s a medium that works easily and has a lot of possibilities. I think that perfectionists and control-freaks excel at it as we get to micromanage hundreds of teeny weeny pieces of paper and they have to do what we make them do – or else! (To the rubbish bin…) lol
Do you find your other art skills have helped you with your quilling projects?
I think that having innate artistic ability allows quillers to achieve excellence with their work and to create truly masterful artwork, though I have seen people with no “known” artistic talents become quite amazing quillers. Maybe it’s more to do with details and patience and persistence than artistic flair? I’m not entirely sure how it works. I think that my background in art has helped with presentation and color choices and balancing and knowing what people might like to look at.
Where do you find inspiration for your designs?
I find inspiration in my daily life mostly. I get ideas when I think of something that interests me. I love adapting photographs and illustrations into the quilled medium. I like to remake line art. I often make things that I loved as a child – hence the horse, my mother’s house, the church, the lion, etc.
Is there a piece you’re especially proud of?
I’m especially proud of the lion and the horse. The horse was truly a labor of love as she took me over forty hours to complete. The lion was around 30-40 total. The art of quilling isn’t something you can whip up in a few minutes like a sketch. Projects often go on for days, even weeks.
What has been the most challenging piece you have made?
I can’t decide which piece was the most challenging as they all have their moments but in different ways. I tend to move from one extreme to another and with this come new techniques and… of course… challenges. My mother’s house was the first multi-layered piece I did and I had to create new techniques to make it work in four separate layers. The horse was completely “combed” (a technique) and I had to use the paper as paint to create the color gradients and shading. That was a new thing for me.
Are there any tips you would give to someone starting out with quilling?
The tips that I would give to anyone starting out with quilling is to begin with a small assortment of tools and paper. It’s very inexpensive, around $20 will get you through the initial phase where you decide if you like it or not. Google and Youtube are your friends when it comes to learning techniques and finding simple patterns to try out. And possibly the best thing to do is join an online quilling community like the one that I formed last year: Contemporary Quilling. The groups are filled with a wide range of quillers from beginner to expert and you will learn more than you think is possible while gathering inspiration and confidence with your own artwork.
When someone commissions you for a piece, what is the process?
The bulk of my commissions come from someone seeing a piece that I’ve posted on the web somewhere. They use the contact form on my website or message me through my Facebook page. We have a discussion about what they are looking for and I figure out a price for them. Once that’s settled I require a 50% non-refundable deposit to begin the piece and 50% prior to delivery. Most of my customers are from the US and they span from California all the way to the northern tip of Maine.
She also shares tips and tricks on quilling on her website including tutorials which cover everything from tools of the trade to the difference in paper widths and how it impacts your design. I especially liked her video on boucle, beehive, popcorn, continuous scroll. I had no idea how easy this one was to do. And by easy, I mean trying it on a random strip of paper. It would not be easy to use it in a design and make it look as amazing as she does. But, I am going to try it out on my next scrapbook page.
She sells some of her items through her Facebook store, and can be contacted directly for commissions. Wherever your imagination can take you, I’m pretty sure Stacy can follow turning strips of paper into intricate designs full of precision and whimsy.
Do you do any paper crafting? Have you ever tried quilling?
|things to know|
|Company Name||Mainely Quilling|
|Quantum Artistic Facebook (formerly Mainely Quilling)|
|Website||Quantum Artistic Website (formerly Mainely Quilling)|