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.