Home Paper Quilling Versatile Quilling Artist Tracy Balkin

Versatile Quilling Artist Tracy Balkin


One of many causes I take pleasure in running a blog is that I get to satisfy paper artists everywhere in the world… the web makes it really easy. As we speak I am blissful to introduce Tracy Balkin, a proficient quiller in Johannesburg, South Africa. Like many others who’ve an curiosity in working with paper by hand, her unique profession was graphic design, however as soon as she grew to become enamored by quilling, Tracy Balkin Paper Artwork, was born. 

quilled modified heart shaped piece containing quilled letter L and natural sand dollars


of Tracy’s professionally
framed works are commissioned. Each is exclusive and infrequently incorporates issues which are
particular and significant to a person or household. Monograms and household timber are well-liked, in addition to
Judaica artwork, blessings for the house or office, company logos, and
summary artwork. 

quilled monogram with t and b letters


I requested Tracy to inform us in regards to the sand greenback piece. (lead picture)


How magnificent are sand {dollars}? It is unbelievable what nature can create! In South Africa we name
them pansies or pansy shells. Those used on this piece had been
introduced again by my shopper from Mozambique, over time. For her daughter’s
21st birthday, it was becoming to make use of 21 shells to finish the piece.


quilled family tree with multicolor heart-shaped leaves and names inserted on branches

I learn by way of the About web page in your web site that you simply found quilling whereas touring.

I used to be born in Johannesburg, South Africa the place I stay with my husband, our 14 12 months previous son and twin eight 12 months previous daughters. I’ve beloved artwork all my life. I took Artwork and Design all through college and college, and certified as a Graphic Designer 22 years in the past. My husband (a Chartered Accountant) was transferred to Luxembourg for work (2010-2012) so off we went on an journey of a lifetime.


I couldn’t work there and wanted to maintain my arms busy whereas my son was at creche. Whereas visiting a pal in France to talk about our arts and craft pursuits, I commented on an image she had on her wall. I had seen the method earlier than, however by no means knew what it was referred to as. When my pal informed me it was quilling, I needed to attempt it for myself (instantly).


There was no Pinterest or YouTube tutorials like there are at this time, however I had sufficient instruments readily available to have the ability to mess around. I reduce paper into strips with a blade and ruler and used a kebab skewer to roll them. I spent hours, days, weeks, months educating myself. It was not like any artwork type I’d ever tried and I used to be immediately hooked. I’ve at all times beloved something to do with paper (I grew up in my dad’s printing manufacturing unit), so this was new and thrilling!


colorful, circular monogram encircled by Hebrew wording


What appeals to you about quilling and what do you like most about it?

Quilling is so distinctive. It’s unbelievable how easy strips of paper could be reworked into masterpieces. It’s like portray with paper. My favorite facet is the fascination and curiosity it creates. Anybody taking a look at it for the primary time does a double take… “Is that every one comprised of paper? How on earth do you make it appear like that!?”


mixed media paper art of kotel with many figures gathered at the wall


What are your favourite quilling instruments?

While I’ve since graduated from a kebab skewer to the normal quilling device, I’d say my favorite is the crimper. I like the feel it creates which provides an entire new dimension to quilling. I hardly ever use different instruments and discover the best are my fingers – and tweezers, after all! I might stay with out my
crimper, however by no means my tweezers.


abstract quilled ocean composed of quilled tight coils and scrolls

Do you like to chop your individual strips or do you employ pre-cut strips?

I began off chopping my very own strips with a blade and ruler, however I couldn’t sustain with the quantity I wanted. I’ve purchased pre-cut strips, however with expertise I’ve turn out to be fussy in regards to the high quality of the paper. 

I accumulate paper from completely different sources, regionally and overseas, and have it reduce on an industrial guillotine. If I run out of a selected color or want particular colors for a venture, then I do this by hand. When folks journey they have an inclination accumulate souvenirs, meals, garments and equipment, I accumulate paper!


quilled white and purple orchid branch with four blossoms

What width strip do you employ most frequently?

Once I first started quilling, I reduce 5mm strips because it was straightforward to measure. As I’ve progressed, I want to make use of 7mm (not as enjoyable to measure out). It’s simpler to work with in comparison with 10mm, however creates higher depth and shadows than 5mm. Most of my tasks now are a mix of 5/7/10mm. The extra diverse the width, the extra fascinating the completed piece.


circular corporate logo with quilled figure with outstretched arms and legs in center


What’s your favourite quilling method?

I don’t know if I’ve a favorite general method. It most likely depends upon my temper, persistence and creativity on the time. I like on-edge quilling, in addition to conventional coils. Honeycomb isn’t one in all my favourites to work with, however does have probably the most wonderful impact when full.


two quilled lit candles on tall candlesticks surrounded by abstract design of multicolor quilled coils 

Have you ever achieved different sorts of paper artwork?

I do quite a lot of digital paper chopping, typically as a part of a chunk or as stand-alone tasks. I additionally did a collection of miniature 3D pop-up books which was enjoyable. It’s good to experiment with different strategies or embrace completely different components; that approach it by no means will get boring and infrequently finally ends up including an entire new dimension to my work.

quilled multicolor letter B with several figures, a couple and two children, cut from black paper


Is quilling well-liked in South Africa?

Quilling wasn’t broadly identified right here till a couple of
years in the past, which is what makes it extra thrilling for me. I’m one in all two
skilled quilling artists in South Africa. It’s gaining recognition
as a passion, however I’m happy that within the skilled enviornment it’s nonetheless
fairly uncommon. It’s my full-time job, I work at each alternative I get in
between the children and their commitments – which often means working
till 02:00. 


My late dad used to say, “Do what you like and also you’ll by no means
work a day in your life.” It’s true, once I get misplaced in my work, it’s
all love. 

quilled multicolor heart


Go to Tracy Balkin Paper Artwork. She is on Instagram and Fb.

smiling, dark haired young woman wearing white V-neck sweater and blue jeans

Earlier options about South African paper artists embrace paper mache jewellery maker Evangeline Duplessis and quiller Lavanya Naidoo, each of Cape City.



All Issues Paper is an Etsy affiliate. 


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