Hello there, I'm Tracy. Welcome to runnerbean!
I'm a paper artist. I roll long, narrow strips of paper into tight rolls, and then sculpt and combine them to create figurines, miniatures, charms, and art pieces.
The technique I use to create my art is called quilling. It's an old art and not very well known. Quilling is slow, close work; the rolling motion almost meditative. I've always worked really small in my art, and quilling is such an intricate, delicate art form that I've found it suits me entirely.
One of my favorite quilling techniques is rolling the paper strips into a tight, solid roll or ring. The result is a small, paper "coin" which can be manipulated and shaped, almost like clay. It's magical! Combining that tactile experience with a palette of fun color creates such joy — I could drink that in all day.
Throughout my life, I've always enjoyed art. I looked forward to the weekly art classes throughout elementary school and took every art class offered at my high school including a lovely, open-ended independent art class. I minored in art at a university I attended, and then went on to work in education, continuing to draw, and paint, and even sculpt with polymer clay in my spare time. After several years teaching, I went back to school for graphic design (working as a cake decorator and illustrator along the way) and eventually started my own design business — finally working in a creative, art-based field!
My first exposure to quilling was when I was working as a graphic designer and planning my wedding. In a magazine, I saw this beautiful cake topper made of paper, rolled and shaped into flowers and filigree leaves. I was so drawn to the photo; to this intricate art! I purchased a starter quilling kit and was hooked. I did not, however, attempt to make my own paper wedding cake topper back then — I was inspired, but as a beginner, it was completely beyond my skill set.
Since then, I've had original patterns published in two books, have had one of my paper pendants featured in the book, Altered Paper Jewelry: Artful Adornments from Beautiful Papers, and I worked to help develop an accreditation program for the North American Quilling Guild. During that time, I began taking on commissions for framed, quilling-embellished wedding invitations and opened my shop at Etsy to sell original work. When I'm not working in my studio at home in Vermont, I'm a stay-at-home-mom to my two young children, who love to roll, crimp, and glue strips of paper (I keep a big box of scrap paper strips just for them). On my daughter's 3rd birthday, I made a paper girl figure for the top of her cake. It's since become a yearly birthday tradition. She has had a new paper figure on each birthday cake since, and her younger brother is following suit. These special keepsake dolls were the early inspiration for the dolls I make now for the shop.
Please contact me if you have questions or just want to say hello! I'd love to hear from you!