An example of quilling (art form using strips of paper)
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quilling (countable and uncountable, plural quillings)

  1. (obsolete) A band of fluted muslin resembling a row of quills.
  2. A form of art that involves the creation of decorative designs from thin strips of curled paper.
  3. Quillwork.
    • 1998, Tressa L. Berman, Chapter 4: The Community as Worksite: American Indian Women's Artistic Production, Ann E. Kingsolver (editor), More Than Class: Studying Power in U.S. Workplaces, page 83,
      In this way, quilling arts were integral to band organization and cooperation, and functioned both within and between households as items of ceremonial exchange (i.e., "crosscutting" private and public domains).
  4. (US and Canada, especially Appalachia and the Prairies) The practice of blowing pepper or snuff through a quill into the nose of a woman who is giving birth, to induce sneezing and diaphragmatic contractions which will induce or hasten labor.
    • 1915, Irving P. Fox (editor), The Spatula, Volume 22, page 466,
      Childbirth seldom was difficult, but when it was the simple process of "quilling" (which consisted in blowing at just the right time tobacco powder through the quill into the nostril) always brought on a huge sneeze, which immediately delivered the child.
    • 2002, Wendy Mitchinson, Giving Birth in Canada, 1900-1950, →ISBN, page 86:
      [...] the midwife kept suggesting quilling.
    • 2003, Anita Price Davis, North Carolina During the Great Depression: A Documentary Portrait of a Decade, page 194,
      To muster the strength for the final push in childbirth, midwives like Granny Lewis of Burlington, North Carolina, quilled the mother-to-be. With quilling the midwife placed the snuff on one end of the straw and blew it into the nostril of the woman at the right time; the great sneeze that resulted from the woman was accompanied by the birth of the child. Granny Lewis and others used quilling well into the 1930s (Kirby, p192).



  1. present participle of quill

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