butterly quilling

Aiken resident seeks to revive ‘lost art’

Debbie Bruce wasn’t looking for another hobby, but something about the beautiful swirls of glued paper fashioned into a design intrigued the Aiken resident.

She’s not exactly sure how she was introduced to the art form of quilling. Facebook was the most likely culprit, and it was the height of the pandemic, leaving her lots of time on her hands to try something new.

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Like many 21st century do-it-yourselfers, Bruce went to YouTube to find out more, and the journey encouraged her to attempt it on her own.

“I made something very simple, and I was pleased,” said Bruce, whose first quilling piece was of three succulents.

Quilling elephants. Photo by Debbie Bruce

Since that first piece, she’s experimented with different types of paper and designs and upped the level of difficulty on the designs she’s made. Joining the North American Quilling Guild inspired her even more as she met others with a similar passion. She gleaned from their knowledge.

 Quilling, she said, is a lost art. The guild’s mission is to “pass the rich tradition on to future generations.”

Unable to find a local teacher, she continued perfecting her craft until others wanted to learn about what she was doing, prompting her to begin teaching classes of her own. Currently, she only teaches in her home, but she has done projects for small groups of people such as church groups.

She tries to create projects that can be completed in about two hours.

Just as painters or sculptors have their own styles, quillers do as well.

“Mine is more whimsical,” she said.

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Some quillers prefer a more realistic approach. She knows of quillers whose works recreate photographs.

The more she learns about quilling the more she wants to try, she said.

 “I want to try to use magazines,” she said.

And she’s also contemplating combining her love of quilling with another art form she’s been successful with — jewelry design.

Bruce designed jewelry pieces for many years, but she moved away from it when the market became more saturated.  

To learn more about quilling, contact Bruce at obsessedbyart@gmail.com.

Charmain Z. Brackett is the publisher of Augusta Good News. Reach her at charmain@augustagoodnews.com. Subscribe to the newsletter here.

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