Thousands of Strips of Hand-Colored Paper Form Kaleidoscopic Abstract Sculptures

Paper Quilling Art by Hadieh Shafie

Artist Hadieh Shafie has developed her own twist on the centuries-old craft of paper quilling resulting in striking abstract works. Her most recent sculptures feature hand-painted strips of paper rolled to form slender pyramids and thick coils. The individual shapes are then arranged into larger circles or rectangles for a kaleidoscopic effect.

While many approaches to paper quilling involve rolling solid pieces of unmarked paper, Shafie takes the opportunity to create full paintings on the paper before cutting them into strips. In photographs documenting her progress, she shows the paper in the midst of being painted in bold colors and adorned with calligraphy featuring Farsi text. “Repetition is a big part of my practice and at every step of how I work,” Shafie explains in an Instagram post. “Today, by the end of the day, I will have drawn the same form, thousands of times. I used to count. I no longer do. I just move forward in repetition.”

In addition to painting paper before it is rolled, Shafie will dip the scrolls into pigment creating a repeating fore-edge design when placed in their final arrangements.

Hadieh Shafie has developed her own twist on the centuries-old craft of paper quilling.

Paper Quilling Art by Hadieh ShafiePaper Quilling Art by Hadieh Shafie

Shafie takes the opportunity to create full paintings on the paper before cutting them into the strips.

Paper Quilling Art by Hadieh ShafiePaper Quilling Art by Hadieh ShafiePaper Quilling Art by Hadieh ShafiePaper Quilling Art by Hadieh Shafie

Sometimes, she'll write the same word thousands of times.

Paper Sculpture Art by Hadieh ShafiePaper Quilling Art by Hadieh ShafiePaper Quilling Art by Hadieh ShafiePaper Quilling Art by Hadieh ShafiePaper Quilling Art by Hadieh ShafiePaper Quilling Art by Hadieh ShafiePaper Quilling Art by Hadieh ShafiePaper Sculpture by Hadieh ShafiePaper Quilling Art by Hadieh ShafiePaper Sculpture by Hadieh ShafiePaper Sculpture by Hadieh ShafieHadieh Shafie: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Hadieh Shafie.

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Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met and Manager of My Modern Met Store. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.

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