Ashland residents Huong and Rafe Wolf recently opened the first-ever retail venue for their high-end card and craft business. Quilling Card & Gallery in Holliston features an extensive display of the stunning, unique handmade greeting cards they have been selling online and through retailers worldwide for over a decade. The cards are created by artisans in Vietnam following fair trade practices. And while the roomful of art in the form of cards is reason enough to visit the store, three additional rooms contain exquisite new offerings, from bright sculptures and decorative tables to woven bamboo purses, also handmade in Vietnam.
Huong said that when they founded their quilling card business, “we didn’t know the industry, but we had a passion for the art of quilling and learned the trade. Even before we started, greeting card sales were declining. But ours are a work of art, a reasonably priced gift at $11, so we’ve been able to thrive.”
The novel cards have been sold in local establishments like the Wellness Center on Main Street, but for anyone not familiar with them, they are a wonder to admire. People often frame the cards, as they would a painting. The picture is a three-dimensional design, made from strips of Japanese paper, each of which is rolled up, carefully shaped, and glued to the card stock. Crafters train intensively for six months before achieving the high-quality results needed. While quilling may have originated in ancient Egypt, in more modern times, it’s been adopted in Vietnam, with a culture known for perfecting fine crafts.
A skilled artisan makes a quilled card by rolling up the strips of paper (shown at right), shaping each into part of the design, and precisely gluing them to the card
Rafe described the company’s expansion. “The cards are distributed from our facility in Framingham and make their way to retail stores all over. We had to add more space and wanted to include a store. While we preferred an Ashland location because it’s our community and our children are in school here, it just wasn’t feasible. So we chose nearby Holliston, in the downtown area where people come to shop, plus it’s right along the bike trail.
“Then we took it a step beyond the quilling cards. We’ve spent a lot of time in Vietnam, admiring the unusual handmade items that we know would be valued here. We decided that in addition to the cards, we’d offer that artwork too, for people and decorators.”
For creation of their cards, the company adheres to fair trade practices and the just treatment of employees. “We provide our crafters with a safe work environment and healthcare benefits. They are passionate about their work and we’re glad to help them earn a sustainable living from it,” explained Huong. Rafe added, “The Fair Trade Federation verifies our operations, and some of the largest companies in the greeting card industry regularly audit us for conformance.”
Patrons can appreciate the principled origins as well as the stunning beauty of the items at Quilling Card & Gallery, 326 Woodland Street, Holliston. The store is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. For more information, call (508) 405-2888, or visit QuillingCard.com, where cards are available for purchase.