Quilling, also known as paper filigree, paper scrolling, or paper rolling, is a paper craft that involves the use of strips of paper that are rolled, shaped, and glued together to create decorative designs. The name is believed to be derived from the feather quill on which the strips of paper were rolled.
The history of quilling is quite difficult to pin down. Although the craft is believed to have been practiced since ancient Egyptian times, it was during the Renaissance that nuns and monks developed the art. They used paper strips to decorate book covers and religious items instead of the original metal wires that their ancestors had used. Some of the earliest pieces of preserved paper filigree date from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
During that period quilling moved beyond its religious origins, but the limited availability of paper and the fact that it is very time-consuming restricted its practice mostly to ladies of leisure.
The popularity of the craft has fluctuated over the centuries, but it is currently enjoying a modern revival. Today, quilling is no longer confined to the "upper classes," though it is still practiced mostly by women and is still regarded as a hobby.