Quilling or the Art of Rolling Paper

August 12, 2022

A type of craftwork

Different types of craftwork, such as embroidery and knitting, have enjoyed a resurgence in recent years. Quilling is no exception! This craft technique involves creating different shapes and patterns by working with thin strips of paper. Whether rolled, folded or juxtaposed, quilling offers infinite creation possibilities.1  

Quilling artwork

History of quilling 

L’origine de cette technique est sujette à débat. Certains experts soutiennent qu’elle apparaît en Égypte The origin of this technique is subject to debate. Some experts say it began in ancient Egypt, while others believe it originated in ancient China.2 However, all agree that quilling gained popularity between the 15th and 18th centuries in Europe, before arriving in America with the settlers.3 

A favourite craft among the Augustinian Sisters  

Because of its low cost and simplicity, quilling was especially popular among religious communities. When gilded or silvered, it is difficult to distinguish it from real gold or silver filigree work.4 Several religious communities, including the Augustinian Sisters, made a number of religious works in quilling, including reliquaries, a decorated frame displaying a relic.  


It is not surprising to find several quilling works in the collection of Le Monastère since the Augustinian Sisters used crafts as a way of expressing their devotion. Some of their creations were done as an affirmation of their faith while others were simply the result of a recreational activity. 

Quilling: An enduring practice 

Requiring patience, meticulousness and precision, quilling offers the possibility to relax while allowing your creativity to run free. In the same way, the repetition of movements and the contact with the paper can foster a flow state, which is defined as a mental state of concentration when an individual is completely immersed in what they are doing. Adding to this practice are the benefits related to creativity. It contributes to our physical, mental and emotional well-being by reducing stress and increasing positive emotions.  

Instruction for quilling

Quilling is an original way to recharge your batteries while creating. Do not hesitate to reuse paper that you already have at home and repurpose it as the Augustinian Sisters did. Quilling is an inexpensive hobby, accessible to all and eco-friendly!

Interested? Stop by our exhibition, Re-Connect, where you will have the chance to continue the collective quilling work started by the Augustinian Sisters at the exhibition’s opening.

Woman quilling

1. OFFICE QUÉBÉCOIS DE LA LANGUE FRANÇAISE, « paperolle », Abécédaire des loisirs créatifs, Gouvernement du Québec, 2002, https://www.oqlf.gouv.qc.ca/ressources/bibliotheque/dictionnaires/terminologie_collimage/paperolle.html (viewed on July 20, 2022). 

2. PAPERPAPERS, « Quilling : the Ancient Papercraft Making A Comeback », PaperPapers,  

3. QUILLING GUILD, « The history of Quilling », Quilling Guild, http://quilling-guild.weebly.com/the-history-of-quilling.html (viewed on July 20, 2022). 

4. Idem