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Shandong craftsman turns scraps of paper into art

By Zhao Ruixue in Jinan | China Daily | Updated: 2023-12-29 10:06
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Yue Shun displays one of his paper quilling works at his workshop in Heze, Shandong province. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Eight years of studying paper quilling has given Yue Shun the ability to transform scraps of paper into works of art. Through the techniques of rolling, looping, curling and twisting thin paper strips, the 30-year-old craftsman creates intricate components that are then combined to form exquisite handmade crafts.

At his studio in the Luxi new district in Heze, Shandong province, late this month, Yue deftly employed specialized tools to roll slender paper strips into tight or loose rolls, which serve as the fundamental building blocks of his paper creations. The rolls were then glued together to form the delicate petals of flowers.

"Crafting a paper quilling artwork, particularly one depicting peonies, demands significant time and effort," Yue said, adding that patience is the cornerstone of producing exceptional paper works.

"Paper quilling can be used to create designs on their own or to decorate other objects, such as greeting cards, pictures and boxes," he said.

Yue has created numerous designs with paper quilling including earrings, flowers, gourds, dragons and human images. Recently he embarked on a project involving a large flower basket, which required an abundance of quilled paper rolls.

To achieve the desired effect of clustered flowers, multiple layers of paper rolls were glued together. He used techniques such as curling, bending, pinching, spreading and embellishing to create the centers and leaves of the flowers.

Over the years, Yue has devoted all his free time to honing his paper craft techniques.

"My mom used to be unhappy with me spending most of my free time at home, complaining that I had no social activities," Yue said. "But I feel a sense of satisfaction as long as I delve into the world of paper quilling."

Yue has been exploring ways to integrate local elements into his works and employs special techniques to imbue them with a three-dimensional quality.

Among his portfolio is a piece showcasing peonies, the city flower of Heze. The artwork employs 11 different colored papers to achieve a stunning gradient and a three-dimensional effect.

In his efforts to expand the influence of paper quilling art, Yue has been teaching the craft at several primary and junior high schools.

"Paper quilling, as a creative and practical craft, enhances manual dexterity and contributes to the intellectual development of young people," he said.

Looking to the future, Yue will focus on creating more paper quilling artworks that honor Heze's rich cultural heritage.

"My mom now supports me to create some paper quilling artworks that present Chinese cultural elements," he said." Sometimes she gives me some advice on my creations.

"I'd like to blend the art of paper quilling with traditional Chinese culture, preserving and promoting this art form for future generations."

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