Paper filigree is a very old craft dating back to possibly the 13th or 14th centuries and was tied to the beginning of papermaking which originated in China. During the 15th century, French and Italian monks and nuns recycled the edges of old documents and books into strips and wound them to resemble scrolls and coils to decorate icons and pilgrimage mementos. Because of the fragile quality of the materials, much early filigree work was lost.
Paper filigree enjoyed extensive popularity in Europe during the 18/19 centuries and was crafted by several important women of the time, Jane Bonte, Queen Elizabeth, and others. Some schools at this time offered classes in paper filigree. This art found it's way to early America and this is where it picked up it's current name of "quilling," probably because they might have used feather quills to wind the paper around to make the coils.
Quilling fell out of favor for several years as the abundance of paper became available and quilling became less exclusive. In recent years it has gained a rise in popularity and is considered a very beautiful and precise craft. Even with the advent of technology, this artform only requires a quilling tool, hand dexterity, creativity, and good eyesight!
The display easels were each made from 4 popsicle sticks and painted to match each art piece.