Friday, 16 December 2016

Quilled Mandalas, by Alli Bartkowski. Review.

By Alli Bartkowski
30 Paper Projects for Creativity and Relaxation
Lark Books 2016
Paperback £16.99 UK/$17.95 US/$20.95 CAN
ISBN 978-1-4547-0901-5

Star rating: ****

You’ve probably clocked that mandalas are a craft trend.  A very big craft trend.  Contemplative circles with whorls, swirls and arabesques – it was only a matter of time before somebody designed quilled mandalas.Yes, the art of paper filigree is a natural for crafting mandalas.This new book of 30 mandala  designs at various skill levels is by Alli Bartkowski, appropriately, a quilling guru. Alli Bartkowski is the mastermind behind Quilled Creations, the very lovely company that brings innovative quilling gadgets to eager crafters (Dome Molds, Quilling Crimper, Border Buddies, combs – all are  cool quilling tools marketed by Quilled Creations).(Despite the tempting gadgets, quilling is a very cost-effective hobby – little is needed to get started besides quilling strips, a quilling tool, a few toothpicks, and glue.)

First of all, full marks to the publisher for making this a large format book – the jumbo pages show off the magnificent mandala creations in full-colour photographic splendour. These are accompanied by same/size line drawings to facilitate placement of the quilled components. 

Surprisingly (expecting ornamentation overload?), there’s plenty of variety in the 30 designs – some are representational, others purely pattern – but all are awe-inspiring crafty achievements. A Rainbow of Fishes is a clever design of interlocking swirling fish (carp?) – very cleverly constructed in a colourful vortex. Golden Circles makes use of crimped quilling and golden gilded quilling strips – it really has an Art Deco ambience. Butterflies – this pretty mandala creates the illusion of movement – butterflies moving outwards from centre to edge.  Mandala designs include Snowflakes (6- or 8-pointers), Tree of Happiness,  the exquisite Henna Design, Lotus Flower – all are bursting off the page, begging to be made. All the designs look very modern – no fusty granny quilling here.

As for the how-tos – well done. At the start of each project there’s a diagram showing the required quilling shapes and the required size of circle templates for precisely-sized coils (if any) – very handy. Step-by-step how-tos follow, accompanied by the previously mentioned full-size charts.

You may ask – what to do with the finished mandalas? They would make fun wall decs – but that is not the point – the joy is in the making as well as in the contemplation.

If you are seeking a crafty gift, this book would make a fab one, especially accompanied by a few packs of quilling strips and maybe a quilling gadget or two. 

Note: I was supplied with a review copy of this book.