I was writing this post when the news came about the tragedy in Japan. Like many other's, my thoughts, heart and prayers are with the people of Japan. For those looking for ways to donate to support the disaster relief efforts, here are a few links:
About five months ago I was asked to create a large-size quilling picture featuring the Japanese flowering cherry — Sakura, and birds. I was able to find and buy a deep frame measuring 19 5/8 x 19 5/8 inch (50x50cm). This is my first work in such a large format. Before starting to work on actual quilling, I looked at tons of books and Web resources on Japanese art in search of inspiration. As this was a custom-tailored work for a client, I sent her a variety of sketches to choose from. She liked this one, but asked for red birds.
After agreeing on a sketch, I could start quilling. First, I made a plenty of flowers with eccentric coils for the petals, using narrow pink strips, only 1/16"-wide (1.5mm).
The flower centers were made of tiny fringed flowers with a pink base and yellow fringe. In the photo below, the grid lines are at the distance of 1cm apart.
Then I shaped the eccentric coils into "teardrops" and attached five petals to each flower center I have made. To add dimension to the flowers, I glued the petals at an angle. In order to do so, I used a circles template to hold the flowers until the glue has dried completely. You may put something underneath the template to place it even higher, to achieve the angle you want.
Next, I outlined the tree branches on a square sheet of thick light-blue paper, and placed the flowers to see if I had enough of them. Then I made some half-open flowers out of three pink petals each, and also closed buds. The latter were created with three-dimensional quilling using pink and brown strips. For this quilling project I used the total of 44 completely open flowers, 14 half-open flowers and 8 closed buds, which means I had to make 262 eccentric coils :) I also made light-green leaves out of 1/16"-wide (1.5mm) paper strips.
To make the birds, I first drew them on a separate sheet of paper. Then I put the sketch onto a cork board covered with plastic wrap for assembling. For the birds I used 1/8"-wide (3mm) paper strips in different tints of red.
When the birds were ready, I started mounting them onto the picture. First, I glued onto the background the sitting bird on the far right. Then I began creating branches of the cherry tree by rolling "tendrils" around a long needle tool. For these I used 1/16"-wide strips (1.5mm) in tints of brown.
When the branches were finished, I mounted all the buds, leaves, flowers, and the remaining two birds. The right-hand side of the picture looked too empty to me, so I decided to add also a bumble-bee.
For this picture I used both home-cut and precut quilling strips. My husband helped me cut the matting. It has a beveled edge (at 45 degrees) which I dyed with golden acrylic paint.