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7th graders learn quillery

Anastasia Boyarkin and Diana Cortez show off their quilling.

Imagine a life without paper. No worksheets, no newsprint, very few books. You’d survive you say? Think again. There would be no tissues, no magazines, no paper money, not even toilet paper! Paper was hard to find in colonial times throughout European colonies. Only wealthy people could buy it, so most people just went without. Now, think about the tons of paper we use at school.

Colonial people saved every scrap of paper so it could be reused for writing notes, lists and labels. When colonists ended up with skinny little paper strips, no one knew what to do with them. That is, until someone invented quillery, also known as paper filigree. Quillery is the colonial art of decorative paper scrolling, made to look like fine metal filigree work. People wound thin strips of paper around a feather quill (writing instrument) to make a tight spiral and then they stuck them onto a background to make a picture. Not even the skinniest strips of paper were wasted! We could learn something about the “three Rs” (reduce, reuse, recycle) from them.

On November 25th, PDMS 7th graders enjoyed an opportunity to come together on the day before the Thanksgiving break for fellowship and fun as each student created their own quillery project. Students were led by Social Studies teachers Mrs. Crossley, Mr Moore and Ms. Sutton in creating a unique colonial craft. With smiles, paper, glue, and a little bit of encouragement, the students were able to learn about a colonial life and enjoy an opportunity to direct their creative energy into this lesser known art form, still practiced throughout the world today.

Written by: Jessica Sutton
Posted: Dec 10, 2014 by Karen Barbee

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