Quilled Great Blue Heron with Golden Cattails

Quilled Great Blue Heron with Golden Cattails

Quilled Great Blue Heron with Golden Cattails

Quilled Great Blue Heron with Golden Cattails

Quilled Great Blue Heron with Golden Cattails

Normally I’d take a bunch of different shots at different angles, but felt as though just one shot was all that was needed for this Quilled Great Blue Heron with Golden Cattails.

One of my first pieces ever was a great blue heron. At the time, I was pretty impressed with that one. Then again, I’d only been quilling for a month of so when I made it. I remember the incredibly long evenings popping down all those curly quills! Check it out below.

Quilled Great Blue Heron
Quilled Great Blue Heron

What a change, huh? All of my birds used to be made with regular teardrop-shaped quills. I’ve since learned about combing and how it nicely represents a bird’s feather texture. I think this is the moment in time where I can see just how far I’ve come in two years. But, as with all art forms, there is so much farther to go!


As always, I spent the first few days thinking about this project. I have to envision them before I can begin work on them. Once I have my “Ahah!” moment, it’s time to get it down on paper.

Someone on Instagram asked me if I used a tempate for the heron. No, I did not. I referenced about 20 heron images on the web, chose the one I liked best and sketched it out (then cut it out). I admit that I did look on the Silhouette store for a heron but they all looked cartoonish and I prefer more realistic shapes.

The project was made in two layers, both using 1/4″ quilling strips. I used Quilled Creations papers for the majority of it, but also tried out the new Little Circles On Edge strips in White on Rice to see how they worked on an interior design.

I didn’t outline this bird, I just began putting down combed pieces and once I’d created each section, would then go around it with a strip to give it some rigidity.

I made the beak first, then put in the eye. Then I worked the white strips around them both. The crest was done with dark grey paper, all on edge. I then just worked in two shade of grey for the neck and body. Once I got midway down, I started varying regular strips with the heavier On Edge strips to create the mane. I used a lot of the On Edge inside the chest area and on the back to give the illusion of long, hair-like feathers that fell over from the back towards the wing.

The woman I made it for wanted the same coral color as I used in the original heron, so I added that in to the shoulder of the wing and again on the thigh.

Here’s a cellphone image of me holding the heron so you can get an idea of it’s true size.

Quilled Great Blue Heron

Quilled Great Blue Heron

The reeds were made by creating wedge shapes out of beige and bending them at the tip. On one side I put in golden yellow and the other a metallic bronze (highlight and shadow). The centers were filled in with on-edge beige.

The two layers were completely separate and it took a while to get them placed so they’d fit on an 8×10 background. Once they were glued together and onto the background, I put in the water puddles. I’m not super happy with them, but have never attempted to make water from paper, so it was a learning experience.

I had bought some beautiful handmade paper that I thought would make great background, but it turns out that the type I bought acts more like a paper towel than paper. Even the smallest amounts of glue caused warping and no matter how much glue I applied, it simply absorbed. There was no way to get it to stay flat or to stick. I will have to get really good at watercolor painting in order to bring my quillings to life in the future. I did try to paint a background but my skills don’t range that far, LOL!

I hope you enjoyed seeing the new heron. Stay tuned for several more interesting projects!

I’ve had a lot of interest in the heron since I posted it. Normally I don’t post prices on my posts, but will make an exception here. The 8×10 heron artwork, by itself, is $150. A frame and mat would be an additional $30.

My art is for sale. If you would like to purchase something you see on my site, or want an entirely unique quilling made just for you, please contact me. I have some listings for original artwork and prints available on my Etsy Shop, and can always create a custom listing for you. Do you have any comments, questions, or suggestions? Please feel free to let me know what's on your mind. Or, you can contact me directly. Please visit Quilled Creations for all your quilling needs. They offer some of the best products on the market including premium quilling paper, high-quality tools, kits, and much, much, more.

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