Minnesota-based quilling company, Iconic Quilling, helps us piece together what the art of quilling in Minnesota is all about
What is quilling? That was our first question when we were introduced to the work of Iconic Quilling.
“Paper quilling is the art of cutting paper into long thin strips, rolling and pinching the pieces into different shapes, and then gluing the shapes together to form decorative art,” said Rita Shehan of The Spruce Crafts. These pieces of art are then handcrafted onto an individual card following a design from Anh.
So, that’s what quilling is. But how did Iconic Quilling come to be?
Aaron and Anh Furuseth met in Woodbury, MN many years ago when Anh was visiting Minnesota with some friends and family. Aaron was from a tiny town in northern Minnesota while Anh was from Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. After marrying, they came to realize that they wanted to start a business of their own that would support people in Anh’s home country.
And Iconic Quilling was born.
“There’s so much talent and so many artisanal crafts that can come out of Vietnam,” said Aaron. “We started as just an importer of quilling cards and after about a year, Anh discovered a talent that she didn’t know she had, which was the design process of quilling cards. Then, we just went from there.”
Anh is the creative genius behind their products' innovative look. She meticulously creates each card’s design before they are sent to women in Vietnam who earn a living quilling the design onto cards.
While creating the designs, she takes inspiration from the world around her. Anh loves spending time in her garden, around her house, fishing on the lake and swimming. She loves to take in the nature around her and thus creates designs by beginning with line drawings, before adding in the colors with colored pencils. After a few rounds of editing to make the design perfect, she then sends the designs to her friend, Nhu, in Vietnam to balance and get all the colors correct before being sent to production.
Nhu helped Iconic Quilling go their own route with the entire process, which included switching sizes from the 6x6 cards to the more standard 5x7, and training artisans to enable them to accomplish all parts of production in-house.
Customers first fell in love with Iconic Quilling at art fairs. “We love it when people look at our cards and can appreciate the level of detail and work that goes into it,” said Aaron. “More often than not, people who work with their hands in knitting or needlepoint are the ones who catch the level of quality and workmanship that goes into each card. Anh’s stuff is extremely popular and she is almost like a minor celebrity in the Twin Cities art scene. People come to just see her and learn about her process.”
With every card being meticulously made with care and consideration from women in Vietnam who are now able to support their families, Aaron and Anh are organizing and designing a beautiful, global business.
To learn more about Iconic Quilling click here.