Paper Quilled Artwork - 'Twistie' the Cat26. November 2015
I’ve been working on an interesting piece of commissioned art. After spending endless hours on it, I am glad to say that it’s FINALLY done! A coworker of mine absolutely loved the quilled cats I had made - http://www.kaagaz.co/collections/cat-collection. She decided to order one but then she got an idea! She asked if I could make a quilled artwork of her cat. She sent me a photograph of her cat - ‘Twistie.’ I looked at the photo and wasn’t sure if I can do it. The closest artwork that I had done along the same lines were the Owls but to quill something that closely resembled the cat in the photograph seemed like a daunting task. I let her know that I will try my best to quill it and she can decide if she likes it or not. She preferred that I use the actual colors of the cat in my artwork. Now with paper quilling, one of the challenges is that you don’t get an unlimited palette of colors like water colors, acrylic colors or oil paint. You cannot mix colors to get the desired color you want. Your palette is limited to the paper colors that you get in the store. After doing some ‘paper’ shopping, I bought papers in the colors which I thought closely matched the natural fur coat of the cat. But looking back, I think that was the easiest part. The tough part was to quill it!
I used some photo editing tools to make the kitty ‘quill-ready.’ I took a few print outs of the kitty and pinned them on the walls and kept the original image on my desktop. I then started quilling. The process seemed to take forever. All in all, I must have spent close to 18 hours to make this piece. I started with shades of light and dark green mixed with black paper strips for the body. I kept the toughest part for the last - The face and the eyes! There were a lot of decisions I had to make along the way like which part I wanted filled in versus which part I wanted left open, the direction and curve of the strips, the forms etc. Finally, I got to the face. I did a few trial and errors for the eyes by just placing the strips before gluing it and did the same for the nose and ears. I was starting to like the outcome. After I completed the piece, I showed it to my husband (which I always do when I am quilling a piece) and shared the image with a couple of my friends to get their thoughts. Sometimes, it’s nice to get a different perspective. I tweaked the art a little based on their feedback. I modified the eyes and tried to differentiate the face from the rest of the body. After I was fully done, I stared at the piece and felt like it was missing something..it felt incomplete..the whiskers! yes, that’s what it was! I cut some extremely thin strips of white paper and delicately placed it on top of the art for the whiskers. This one little addition made the image jump to life! I've been looking at Twistie's photo for the last few days as I was making this piece. Now that I'm done, I think I am going to miss him! :)
Enjoy the photographs of Twistie below including the original photograph and feel free to leave your thoughts and comments. Finally, wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving!