Quilling Artist Griffin Carrick Strolls and Scrolls

Griffin Carrick in a black tanktop and blue jeans, standing outside in front of green bushes, holding a large scale white paper quill design.
Quilling artist Griffin Carrick with one of her large scale quill designs

Griffin Carrick is a paper quilling artist born and raised in Illinois. She currently resides in Fayetteville, with her husband, who serves in the Army, and their three children. She studied architecture at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and earned a master’s degree in interior design from the Savannah College of Art and Design, followed by 10 years working in the interior design industry. The demands of motherhood and military life led her to paper quilling as a creative outlet. Quilling is the folding, rolling and configuring of paper strips into decorative motifs. Unlike traditional quilling that attaches strips of paper to a backing, Griffin removes that substrate and relies on the structural potential of the quilled paper to create her wall hangings and quilled collages. Her practice is greatly influenced by textiles and experiments in the three-dimensional potential of paper quilling. 

Carrick’s current work: vintage denim with quilled paper from yearbooks.

3 Things making your life richer & why:

I have always gotten so much inspiration out of visiting antique and thrift stores. Fayetteville and Sanford both have a handful of shops I visit regularly. I particularly love Mid-Century Modern furniture and decor as well as vintage textiles and books.

I love seeing great art in person; the North Carolina Museum of Art is one of my favorites because it has a beautiful art park, which I find is a great spot to wear my kids out before I drag them through the galleries inside. They always put on beautiful special exhibitions and have a great combination of old masters artwork and contemporary artists on display.

Getting out on a walk (by myself) while listening to a good book or podcast is one of the easiest things I do to get inspired, and I’ve made an effort to prioritize it. In the past any free time I had automatically went to making stuff in my studio, and I’m trying to remind myself that this time away from the studio, moving my body, is also part of a strong art practice.

Local artist you admire: I enjoy the work of local artist Katie Crawford and was happy to see she recently wrote a children’s book. I love an excuse to expose my kids to art and it’s even more enriching for them when the person that made those beautiful pictures lives in their hometown.

What is one of your current artistic experiments? I recently started quilling with vintage college yearbook pages and combining it with bits of recycled denim blue jeans to make tapestries and wall hangings, I love the patina of the worn denim, the snippets of text and photos seen in the quilled yearbook pages, and the fact that these materials are recycled. It has been a goal of mine to use second hand materials in my practice and I feel like I have landed on materials that I find aesthetically and personally meaningful, so I am excited by all the possibilities of this combination!

How did your art practice change during the pandemic? During the pandemic I can’t say a lot changed since I make art here in my home, however the dedicated time I had to make art was limited, because my kids were doing online school. While they did their school work in my studio, which helped me squeeze in some art making, I mostly found myself retrieving snacks, distracting my toddler, and trying to keep them focused and motivated. I am definitely grateful to have some dedicated and undistracted time back in the studio these days!

Carrick’s home studio, including pup under desk

Where do you practice your art? Describe your work space. We have an extra room in our home that I use as an art studio, having this space means I pop in there and work throughout the day. I have a nice large table to make work with a large bulletin board where I pin up samples and inspiration and a pair of shelves that holds supplies, including my main materials, paper and glue, as well as stacks (and stacks) of old work.

How do you find your subject (next piece, idea, voice)? Having a background in interior design and architecture I came to my art practice with a pretty strong sense of my own design style and I think about art like an interior designer would, meaning I think art should enhance the space it inhabits. For me that means the artwork sparks conversation/consideration, adds texture and dimension to the wall it sits on and expresses the material(s) it is made of beautifully. So I started quilling paper wall hangings because they embodied the kind of art I wanted to see in a well designed room.

Advice to newer artists in your genre. Just start making stuff and don’t be afraid to experiment and follow ideas/inspiration. Even the bad ideas or pieces I have made taught me new skills, led to better ideas or helped me identify what it was I wanted to do with my art. If it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill then you have to make A LOT of art and it all won’t be pretty.

Adrienne Trego Transfers Skills and Mediums

Adrienne sporting her own resin earrings.

Artistic bio: Adrienne Trego is a visual artist and non-profit professional from Pennsylvania who has called Fayetteville her home since 2013. She currently works with the Autism Society of Cumberland County as the Director of Programs and Outreach. Prior, most of her nearly 15 years of non-profit experience was with arts organizations.

Art has always been at the center of Adrienne’s life. She is incredibly fortunate to come from an arts-loving family and grew up with access to both professional and community theater, dance and music lessons, and art classes. Having access has made much of her arts administration focus on outreach and accessibility for those who have not had the privilege. Holding a degree in Arts Integration, she sees the arts as a powerful tool for emancipatory and experiential education. As a visual artist, Adrienne works in a variety of mediums, but primarily creates wire sculptures, resin jewelry and has more recently discovered her love for fiber arts, specifically embroidery.

I have found truth in the fact that often, the very act of creation is the inspiration.


Favorite Local Third Place: I haven’t utilized too many of my “Third Places” during the pandemic, but Rude Awakening downtown is one of my very favorite places and has been since we made Fayetteville our home.

3 Things you can’t live without: Flavored seltzer water (I used to be loyal only to La Croix but have since branched out), my good pair of pliers, and while they aren’t “things”, I would be remiss if I answered any set of questions without including my love for not just my pets (mutt extraordinaire Ruby and our cat, the Trash Prince Barley) but most everyone else’s pets too. I am known to get lost in a group tracking down a cute dog or a stray cat.

Local artist (any genre) you admire: Oh, there are so many! I have been so lucky to work with so many incredible artists, picking one is so hard. But due in part to my recent obsession with embroidery, I have been really inspired by Nanette Zeller, a mindblowingly talented textile artist (based in Moore County I believe) who I first met in 2014 or 2015. In addition to her amazing talent, she is so humble and incredibly kind and a joy to work with. Her kind words about my beginner embroidery work have been so encouraging.

A practice you’ve started during quarantine that you plan to continue: Artistically, I have learned to be more diligent about time spent on creative work. Early on in the pandemic, I knew that as an extrovert in isolation I needed to check in on my mental health often, and a consistent artistic practice is always essential to my well being. So I learned to work on at least one of my many ongoing art projects every single day, even if I don’t really feel like it. Unless I was under a deadline for someone, I used to only create when I felt inspired – and there is value to that – but there is also something fascinating about creating work without “inspiration”. It may sound like some artsy self-help nonsense, but I have found truth in the fact that often, the very act of creation is the inspiration. Some of my best work has been produced when I really had to push myself to produce it.

What is one of your current artistic experiments? I am currently shrinking down some of my embroidery designs to make them into jewelry. It’s exciting but also feels pretty typical for me, since creating jewelry has always been consistent across any mediums I’ve discovered. But it’s been so interesting to take embroidery – a medium that conjures up very traditional images of samplers and Grandmothers – and do things that turn that idea on its head. In February, I was delighted to participate in “The Vagina Monologues” with the best group of women I could ever imagine, including my sister Devin. As part of this, I also had the opportunity to include some of my visual art, and I chose embroidery as the medium. I ended up primarily embroidering women’s naked bodies (mostly fat ones, too!), as I was inspired by ideas around bodily autonomy and women’s agency. It’s not exactly what one would think of when they think of embroidery, but it’s really a medium that has had a recent rise in popularity, and most of it has been taking a lot of these traditional techniques and using them to create more modern designs.

Who is someone who encouraged or championed your art work? Oh, that’s tough. I am one of those really lucky individuals who is just surrounded by supportive and loving people. I truly can’t pick just one person, my parents, sister, husband, extended family, friends – they have all encouraged my work and most have bought my work, too.

But an early strong influence is my Studio Art teacher in high school, who I am still lucky to be connected with via Facebook. I always was making art, from my earliest memories. But I struggled with a lot of basic drawing, and therefore believed that I was not a good artist. While I have since studied drawing and gotten better, I still gravitate towards other mediums, which I would have never thought of doing if it wasn’t for her encouragement and her introducing me to many materials and techniques that I still lean on today. She had a profound impact on my life and I am so grateful for her early encouragement and to be able to still be connected with her today, some 20 years later.

What advice would you give to new/younger/less experienced artists in your genre? Go to school for art. I’m serious. So many people seem to have this idea that being an artist isn’t a real profession, or that you have to get a degree in something “practical” or else it’s a waste. This is simply untrue: an art degree is surprisingly practical and flexible. There are so many things that you can do with an art degree – my career is a good example of that. And I use the creative skills I learned in school everyday in my day job and in my personal artistic practice.