the 13th century Italian nuns would cut off the gold edges from the
pages of their books; then used a feather to create filigree shapes from
their every day world. In
fact, work of high quality was achieved by the Italian and French nuns of the 13th
and 15th centuries.
As paper became more available, the wealthy nunneries provided paper for
the nuns to create shapes to adorn their precious objects. They
discovered that the exposed edge was sharp and often cut them.
Gold and silver was plentiful so it was melted, and using the feather,
very gently they would paint the gold or silver unto the exposed edge; thus gold filigree was born.
the gold was painted onto the paper the nuns had created Filigree; much as
filigree was, pre dating this period; and as it is made today.
Any material whatsoever that can be manipulated into the Quilled shapes
is called filigree and it is, as it always has been, a craft.
However when the gold or silver was
applied, an art form was born, and to this art they gave the
name QUILLING; which refers to
the tool on which the shapes were made. A
feather or Quill.
Courtesy of the
British Quilling Guild