Artist’s quilling cards are revival of old art form
By JAMES LANARAS / Windsor Correspondent
Windsor artist Viki Stockette’s cards are part of a revival of the three-dimensional art form known as quilling.
Also known as paper filigree, quilling is the art of cutting and curling narrow strips of colored paper, usually 1/8-inch wide, to create hearts, teardrops, circles, leaves, flowers and other intricate designs that are glued to paper greeting cards for a 3-D effect.
The process dates back to the 13th century, when religious orders used the gilded edges of old manuscripts to decorate religious artifacts, according to the North American Quilling Guild. The paper was curled around a goose quill, or feather, a way to keep young ladies busy during the Victorian Age in England.
Stockette, 47, took up quilling as a hobby in 2009 when she wanted to send a card to a relative. She had moved to Sonoma County from Philadelphia, where she worked in human services organizations for at risk youth, pregnant and parenting teens and adults in need of employment training.
The hobby became a source of income when she left the workforce to raise her daughter, now 9. The goose quills have long been replaced by slotted needles that Stockette put to use whenever she had down time, waiting at the Department of Motor Vehicles, for example, or watching television.
“People would stop and ask me about it when I was out with my daughter,” she said. “It’s a very rare and esoteric art. You’re only limited by your imagination.”
Stockette also took an interest in tole cards, another art form that consists of gluing several layers of an image on top of each other, like a puzzle but separated by tiny foam squares to create a 3-D image. Tole is popular in Germany, the Netherlands, Australia and New Zealand.
“I discovered it while buying quilling supplies, so I got into that,” she said.
Dozens of tole card images on perforated sheets of paper can be purchased online from Germany, with themes that include children, pets, landscape, music, religious themes, seascapes, sports and wildlife. Each 3-D tole card requires at least three images, but some have as many as a dozen.
“It can take a few minutes to a half-hour to make a tole card,” Stockette said. “The average time is 8-10 minutes.”
She usually limits copies of one particular card to 20 and leaves the insides blank. “It doesn’t limit the card to an occasion,” she said.
“I’m selling a lot of grapes and hydrangea, and animals do quite well. It depends on the venue.”
Stockette usually brings 500-800 completed tole and quilling cards to the Windsor Farmers Market and sells them for $4.50 each or five for $20.
“A lot of people say I’m underpriced,” she said. “The cards sell for more in the store. I want to make a profit, but not be greedy about it. I think of ways of saving money instead, like using recycled plastic that covers the card.”
Stockette’s artisan cards are sold at Artists Coop in Bodega, Pages on the Windsor Town Green, Enduring Comforts in Freestone, Bill’s Market in Sebastopol, Attico in Sebastopol, Ricochet in San Mateo, at First Friday in Guerneville, and at farmers markets in Santa Rosa, San Francisco, Treasure Island, Windsor and Calistoga.
“I try to gravitate to craft fairs,” she said, adding that county fairs and flea markets are not conducive to selling artisan cards. “More hours and more people don’t necessarily mean more money.”
“I’m not in it to get rich. This allows me to be somewhere and be useful,” Stockette said.
“It’s a hobby business. I can bring my daughter with me, and this pays for her violin lessons.”
Viki Stockette can be found at the Windsor Farmers Market at the Town Green from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Sundays through December. She may be reached at (707) 756-0406 and at quillfullyyours.blogspot.com. She also gives individual and group instruction.