Quilled Great Blue Heron | In Reeds

The Quilled Great Blue Heron in Reeds is the second time I’ve created a GBH, and the difference between the two – although only a year or two apart – really make me proud of how far I’ve come with this artform.

This heron was much more detailed than the first, and I was really reluctant to part with it because I love it so much. My customer was very happy as well, so knowing it went to someone who appreciated it was consolation enough.


This piece was created in two separate layers. I made the reeds by putting paper strips on their edges. The cattails were made with made with beehive.

The heron was created by itself, using a combination of combing (most of the body) and edgework (the mane and legs). Once the heron was dried and stable I transferred it onto the reeds and glued it down. The stacking gave it a nice sense of depth.

The only part of this piece that I don’t like is the water ripples. I wasn’t sure how to make them and I feel like they were less successful than they could have been had I done a little more practicing. Unfortunately working full time and quilling on the side means that commissions with deadlines sometimes have to be completed whether or not I want more time!

To give you a sense of what my first Great Blue Heron looked like, here it is:

Quilled Great Blue Heron Archives
Quilled Great Blue Heron Archives

As you can see, he is pretty simply made with teardrop shapes. Before I even knew what edgework was I had attempted to make his crest and mane from it. He looks incomplete because he used to be mounted on a background but I pulled him off to remake it and never got around to it. So now he is jut kind of free floating in a storage bag.