The Magical World of Paper: Creating Beautiful Artworks with Paper Filigree
Known as quilling, this wonderful artform produces unique pieces that are perfect for house décor, souvenirs and gifts for your friends.
With “The Magical World of Paper” (Bota Magjiplotë e Letrës), Dorina Muhaj, a journalist by profession, has turned her passion into a tangible creative enterprise. Muhaj’s wonderful works do more than offer adorable gift alternatives to the Albanian market. They also serve to introduce the relatively unknown art of quilling to Albania and beautifully adapt it to the country’s culture and heritage.
In fact, Muhaj’s mastery is revealed in the impeccable traditional Albanian costumes she renders with her talented and patient hand. Ethnography inspires her and her products reflect this wonderful curiosity about her country’s cultural heritage. The Magical World of Paper is a deeply creative and personal enterprise and Muhaj’s involvement and dedication is evident in the unique array of products she offers. The variety includes not only rendition of traditional costumes, but earrings, postcards, and much more.
Quilling: A bit of background
Quilling is a well-known art form in the world, with its recognized beginnings located in the 15thcentury. It is thought that the Italian and French nuns created this technique in order to make beautiful religious objects without high expenditures. The paper watermarks give the impression of being engraved on the surfaces where they are glued. Afterward, English ladies were instructed in the art of quilling which, for them, represented a pleasant pastime. In the 19thcentury, this art form crossed the ocean, becoming popular in the United States as well. Nowadays, it is known everywhere and, presently, Albania is starting to catch on to its appeal.
More on The Magical World of Paper
Dorina tells IntoAlbania that, since she was a child, she was passionate about art, especially handicrafts. Her first steps into the world of quilling were self-made. She began by watching YouTube tutorials and experimenting by herself at home. “I started with little handmade postcards created to complement my gifts for friends. Now that I’m getting better at it, I see that there is still so much to learn, and I am planning to take a course on advanced techniques in quilling.”
For Muhaj, quilling is not a particularly difficult artform but one that tests one’s patience. Many refer to it as the “artform of the patient” because it takes hours in order to complete one small work. Yet, it is precisely this patient and loving labor that gives each product its own unique identity, making each one a truly special gift.
Inspired by her husband’s stamp collection, which include the country’s intricate traditional costumes, Muhaj began testing her hobby. It was the support of the local artisan boutique “Nji Mar Nji Mrapsht,” that gave Muhaj the push she needed to fully pursue her passion. This store was the first foray of her products into the world, initially in Albania and, then, internationally.
What’s in a name?
You might wonder at the choice to name her store The Magical World of Paper. Muhaj confirms that this is precisely how she feels about her work. “Each time I finish with a work, I take a few minutes to gaze at it for my pleasure. It’s actually difficult for me to leave the particular world of each one of my works behind and sell it.” “The feeling,” she says, “is indescribable but the experience quite magical.”
Give gorgeous gifts and support local artists
Muhaj is only one of the many emerging artisans and masters of handicraft in Albania. This new generation of devoted artisans is responsible for a comeback of originality and creativity among locals and the return of a local production. This move away from mass production has been years in the making around the globe and enterprises like Muhaj’s are some of the best ways to support the movement locally. Beautiful products and support of the local artists and artisans? This is truly a win-win situation. To look over her catalog, purchase or contact Muhaj, please click here.