BULLHEAD CITY — A Fort Mohave artist is planning to open an art gallery this fall in the Tri-state.

Lauri “Sam” Schintzler, of Sam’s Paper Squirrel, focuses on quilling these days.

“Quilling involves the use of strips of paper rolled, shaped and glued together to create decorative designs,” she explained in a short self-explanation posted on the River Valley Artist Guild website. She’s also a member of the group.

A neighbor taught her to quill when she was a teen and home sick from school.

“I still have the first thing I ever quilled,” she said.

She was born in La Jolla, California, and comes from a family of artists.

Some of her works are on display at Black Mountain Bistro and Bar, 1595 Mohave Drive, in Bullhead City. She is the Featured Artist of the Month there.

This intricate and time-consuming art form requires steady hands and good hand-eye coordination.

Schintzler said she does most of the paper shaping while watching television.

She has been working on a U.S. flag quill recently. The blue star box is recognizable and a couple of the stripes representing the 13 colonies are forming.

Unless it’s a commissioned piece, Schintzler said she doesn’t plan ahead.

For example, an extremely colorful picture of the United States started out in her mind as an abstract artwork.

It was created for a shop in Prescott before she relocated to Fort Mohave late last year. Artists were provided different color themes to use every three months.

“I hated those colors,” she said of the mostly vivid shades of pink, blue, green and yellow paper she spent many hours forming into circles. “As I kept working it was becoming that shape.”

And she grew to truly appreciate the color combination in that piece.

Schintzler created a Route 66 sign picture for a Kingman art event that didn’t happen.

So she decided to keep it — until now.

A graceful picture of a cherry tree is based on her memories of an enjoyable family trip to Washington, D.C. She was maybe age 10 or at the most, age 12, she said.

“The cherry blossoms were in bloom,” she remembered.

Schintzler’s mother died late last year from cancer and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s. Recently, the artist had a tattoo drawn of a cherry tree branch on her arm. One might call it a family tree.

There are two birds flying away. The birds represent her parents, both deceased. Other birds perched in the branches of the tattoo are her grandchildren.

These and a few other pieces are on display at Black Mountain. All are for sale.

Schintzler also creates flatter quill designs on two lines of greeting cards. These are sold locally at Roxy’s Quilt and Sew in Fort Mohave as well as the Prescott Art Market in Prescott.

Some of the cards are adorned with women sporting well-done hair. Another is of an evening gown being sewn.

These are niche cards meant to reflect the business of the seller. A couple of the cards feature squirrels — a way to let people know about her own business.

The art gallery will be in a 2,400-square-foot space at Ranch Crossing, in the 4500 block of Highway 95 in Fort Mohave.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a kid,” Schintzler said.

There will be plenty of space for other local artists to display their work along with her own. And she anticipates there will be ample space for art classes, which would help get people interested in the local art scene.

Other artists would be invited to rent work spaces.

Schintzler said she enjoys quilling and also has done quite a bit of drawing. But she also said she feels great joy from being able to view the work of other artists.

She explained that her having the gallery will allow a lot of people to find out how much creativity exists in the community.

“Artists aren’t good at marketing themselves,” she said.

She has sold pieces from time to time but has quite a few works to show.

Also occupying a portion of the gallery space will be a part-time occupant: “I Sharpen Shears.”

The name for her business came from her once being described by someone as “squirrelly” — a person who is restless, perhaps odd.

She said she knew the person was being insulting and admitted that squirrels can be “little stinkers.” But she decided that she liked squirrels — even one that has been showing up around her residence — enough to honor them by including squirrel in the name of her business.

Schintzler has gone even a little further in showing love to the fluffy little rodents: Her other arm tattoo bears the outline of a squirrel.

For details, email her at Samspapersquirrel.net.

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