Paper quilling is the historic craft of rolling thin paper strips to create designs and patterns. It is thought that this craft began over 500 hundred years ago. The name “quilling” comes from the feather quills of birds that were used to roll paper strips around.
French and Italian nuns in the 16th and 17th centuries decorated reliquaries and pictures often using silver or gold gilding. When the edges of the paper, vellum or parchment strips were gilded, they could be mistaken for real gold and silver filigree work.
Jane Austen mentions quilling in her novel “Sense and Sensibility” published in 1811.
“Perhaps,” continued Elinor, “if I should happen to cut out , I may be of some use to Miss Lucy Steele, in rolling her papers for her; and there is much still to be done to the basket, that it must be impossible, I think for her labour singly, to finish it this evening.” Chapter 23
More information and pictures can be found on the UK Quilling Guild website.