Paper Artist Breaths New Life Into an Ancient Craft

Quilling or paper filigree involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. The paper is rolled, looped, curled, twisted and otherwise manipulated to create shapes which make up designs to decorate anything from greetings cards and pictures to boxes and jewelry. This traditional craft is traced back to the Renaissance when French and Italian nuns and monks used quilling to decorate book covers and religious items.

In sheer contrast, lettering and paper artist Alia Bright uses quilling to form uplifting mantras or recreate pop culture icons. Her modern take on the otherwise traditional craft is a breath of fresh air, and one to follow closely on Instagram.

Situated in Portland, Oregon in an old house amongst the trees, Bright’s paper artworks rely on her background in illustration, fine art, and graphic design. Each piece is made from paper and glue, with different weights and stocks often used in combination. Every strip of paper is first cut to fit, shaped individually by hand, and then carefully assembled into intricate shapes and forms.

“I feel a piece is successful when I achieve this, which requires a lot of restraint,” she told Colossal. “I try to maintain the right level of stylistic simplicity while still creating visual interest through color, pattern, and shadows.”

Take a look at some of her designs and notice how they play with perspective, shadow, and light.