As the weird form of rheumatoid arthritis ate away at my joints, I slowly became unable to do paintings, pencil sketches, and sculptures. I had taught Quilling classes to the Sisters in Relief Society some 30 years ago. This would be something I could not only physically do, but financially as well. When I taught the Sisters how to quill, the art was a flat, decorative art with wonderful twirls and curls, making amazingly fancy looks.
Quilling is an old world art using narrow paper strips to be twirled around a feather quill. (I use a round tooth pick.) Long ago, rich women gave the upper crust church leaders of the area, large donations. In return, the church leaders would give those wealthy ladies a gold broach with twirled gold filigree inside the small frame. It was a prestige thing to have one of those. One, not so rich gal, decided she desperately wanted one of those gold broaches. She trimmed the gold edge off her bible pages, curled the tiny strips around a feather quill, and made a broach that looked like the gold broaches given to the rich and elite. The art took off, and anyone with a bible with gold trimmed page edges, could have one.
I missed doing sculptures. I developed a way to use the quill shapes in 3-D items, such as gazebos, rocking chairs, and patio tables with fancy umbrellas. As time passed, I could no longer do the twirling of the quilled shapes. I needed to find a new outlet for my talent. I could still use scissors, and glue small pieces of paper together. Paper sculpture was born; still an inexpensive art form. I live in a low income building with 200 people who may or may not have family who care. Holidays are difficult for us. I put out hundreds of paper sculptures on the different holidays for the residents to take home with them (Heavenly Father’s idea). It helps them to feel that someone cares. Wonderful missionary moments have come from those gifts. I am now donating paper sculptures to a woman’s shelter. They too have a hard time with holidays.
For myself, I am kept mentally active, making up new paper sculpt designs, in spite of not being able to leave my apartment. People come to visit and I have gifts for them to take away with them. I am a happy camper. I am busy, and able to share with my brothers and sisters; in the Lord’s Church and otherwise. Paper has turned out to be one of Heavenly Father’s miracles in my life.
by Chris C.