Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Jewelry from Porcupine Quills

By on Tuesday, December 06, 2011 7 Comments

Quillwork Necklace by AcidZip
Porcupine quillwork was a major decorative element used in Native American art forms for thousands of years. It's unique to this part of the world. Quills adorned mocassins,clothing, cradleboards, medicine bags, boxes and even furniture as shown below.

It lost popularity when the easier to use beads became readily available. However the craft never disappeared and is still practiced today.  Giving quillwork a modern touch are some inspiring jewelry artisans on Etsy who all used quills in different ways.

Fellow Canadian, Ting, who is now in Germany, has a shop called AcidZip . She created the necklace above as well as the earrings below.

Quillwork earrings by Acidzip
Quillwork earrings by Acidzip

Anna-Marie or Minx as she is called by her friends, used porcupine quills to adorn this avant garde shoulder harness in her shop, Minxshop.

Shoulder harness by Minxshop
Quills go well with beads as beaders have long discovered. They are perfect fringes in earrings as well as in beaded necklaces as shown by JuliAnnsNotions' Blue Tipi medallion necklace below. JuliAnn Harvey is not a Native American but she married into the Oglala Lakota Nation community and has grown to love their traditional style.


JuliAnn uses the quills to form the spokes in her green-pink beaded post earrings :


Museum Exhibits of Native American Quillwork :
A quillwork knife sheathPorcupine quill decorated knife sheath via Wikipedia


Huron quillwork mocassin

Quillwork decor, Natural History Museum, Halifax, Canada
Via

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7 comments:

  1. These are very cool...while it isn't something I would wear, I'm a fan of native art/jewelry and these porcupine quill pieces are great!
    Cheers

    ReplyDelete
  2. what an interesting idea--never knew of it, but the results are beautiful. i'm sure it was more practical in the past....but a wonderful tradition to continue!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I have a ton of porquipine quills from a friend in Africa... I'd love to make jewelry with them but I can't get them hollow. Do you have any tips?

    ReplyDelete
  4. I have a ton of porquipine quills from a friend in Africa... I'd love to make jewelry with them but I can't get them hollow. Do you have any tips?

    ReplyDelete
  5. You may be limited to designs which can use quills with drilled holes. I've never done this so you will have to experiment if this works.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Any idea from where these can be sourced. I have a student whose is working on a garment collection on porcupines. this might be useful to her

    ReplyDelete
  7. You can try eBay. I also googled and found this source.

    http://basketmakers.org/topics/supplies/supquillsindex.htm

    I think only the quills from North America are hollow though.

    ReplyDelete

 

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