Lisa Nilsson is an artist who constructs reproductions of anatomical cross sections by rolling and shaping narrow strips of Japanese mulberry paper and the gilded edges of old books. This technique, known as Quilling has been around since the Renaissance when nuns and monks used to produce art works from worn out bibles.
Her works are displayed in carefully constructed, hand made silk covered wooden boxes, with an aim to pull the works away from the world of scientific specimens, and move them into the direction of religious reliquaries.
She says, “I like to emphasize the reverential and the precious; to have a look inside is such a privilege”.
I was out “junking” and came across an antique quilled piece of religious art. It was a very fancy filigreed crucifix-gilt. I later learned that nuns and monks used edges of old bibles to make pieces like this. I incorporated the technique into some assemblages I had been making that contained many different found and made elements. Around this time I encountered a French hand-colored print of an anatomical cross section. I loved the colors and shapes and felt that the way paper behaves when rolled and shaped in quilling could work very well in representing what I saw in the anatomical print.
The picture above represents a cross section of the abdomen at the level of the navel.
Below is a detailed head view showing the work that goes into her art.
You can visit more examples of Lisa’s anatomical quilling over on her site.