Paper Quilling Four Seasons Chinese Style – Zhu Liqun Paper Arts Museum

I went to a craft expo with my mother about 15 years ago and that was where I first encountered genius level artists who can transform twirly swirly pieces of coloured paper into masterpieces. I was shown cute little puppies and stunning flowers, and after I picked my jaw off the floor I bought Mum a quilling kit for beginners. She was equally fascinated, looking for a new hobby and decided that quilling was the thing for her.

Unfortunately I never got to see any of Mum’s masterpieces because as lovely and gorgeous as she is, she doesn’t have the best track record in actually using the majority of the things she really wants me to buy her (sorry Mum, but it’s the truth 💕). So, like the special book to write treasured recipes and the colouring books after them, the quilling paper and tools remain unused in a drawer, if she still has them at all.

I’d forgotten all about quilling until I saw this book listed in my library’s catalogue of new releases. It turns out that those quilling masterpieces I was shown by the sweet craft ladies over a decade ago were the elementary Quilling 101 showpieces. As soon as I saw the cover of Paper Quilling Four Seasons Chinese Style I knew my jaw was in imminent danger of dislocation. The name of the front cover image is Godess of the Four Seasons and maybe a proofreader should have picked this up but they were probably blinded by the awesomeness of the artwork so can easily be forgiven.

This book takes you through the history of quilling and gives you a photographic tutorial for how the various shapes are made. I adore that rather than just making pretty pictures (although that would be remarkable in itself), Chinese-style paper quilling …

has given birth to many novel techniques of creation and borrowed wisdom from the traditional profound cultural essence ranging from folk arts, paintings, myths, poetries, auspicious symbols, idioms to time-honored solar terms which are still used today. In this sense, it is an art form that integrates tradition and innovation.

How cool is that?! The designs in this book are inspired by the 24 solar terms of the traditional Chinese lunar calendar, so besides looking amazing they also have deep meanings. Each quilling design is accompanied by an explanation of that solar term.

For anyone who can look at some photos, read instructions and then go forth and create, the step by step guides are clear and concise. For people like myself who looks at the photos and immediately switch into hyperventilating mode, it may be best to watch a video tutorial or better still learn from someone crafty in person first, just to get the techniques down before turning the easiest tutorial of a duckling into something amusingly grotesque.

Disclaimer: My artistic ability is equivalent to sometimes being able to draw a stick figure that looks like a stick figure if and only if the stick figure is just standing there. The poor guy is probably standing there praying I won’t try to animate him in any way because I may break him but he’s safe because I know I would break him.

So now that you know details of my artistic prowess I looked at the categories of difficulty and thought:

Beginner – Yeah, right. Once I’ve spent the next year or so mastering the individual techniques of lines, scrolls, coils, loops and crescents with a long suffering (emphasis on the suffering) crafty tutor, only then would I dare attempt this.

Intermediate – I may have snort laughed when I read Intermediate and then turned the page. The stunning blue bird in Spring in the Air and the elegant lines of Swan on Water are extraordinary. The idea that one day many years from now I may be able to create something this breathtaking is intoxicating, I’ll admit, but I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Advanced – Would someone please make a Summer Water for me and frame it in some drool resistant material? The teensy tiny surfers riding the huge waves have this serenity in motion feel about them. I adore this one!

The twirly swirly bottom line: If you want to make gorgeous art, quilling may be for you. This book’s designs will make you look like a quilling genius if you can pull them off. It seems like once you’ve sorted out your scrolls from your coils and your loops from your crescents, the only limit to how creative you can be is your own imagination. If you want to drool over the creative genius of someone else and fantasise about ‘One day …’, I highly recommend this book.

My favourite is a girl standing under a tree. She’s looking off into the distance. It’s called Waiting and there’s something so haunting and wistful and beautiful about it that makes me want to look at it for hours.

If I ever master the art of twirly swirly pieces of paper, this is the first masterpiece I’d like to recreate. One day …

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

Create stunning papercraft works of art for every season with this creative and easy-to-follow Chinese paper quilling book.

Quilling, the art of coiling and shaping narrow paper strips into 3-D designs, has been popular with crafters for some time but the art form is hundreds of years old. This seasonal guide links beloved Western crafting with traditional Chinese Arts. 

Paper has a flexibility and elasticity that gives it endless possibilities. All you need to get started is strips of paper, glue, and a tool to roll the paper. You can readily get these at any craft store or use what you already have: recycled paper and a bamboo skewer or toothpick work well. 

This guide offers:

  • Examples of various forms of Chinese art for inspiration.
  • Different modes of composition.
  • The unique styles of Chinese paper quilling.

Each season is depicted in all its distinct color and beauty through the unique art of paper quilling.

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