Culture, Creating and Quilling
So how does the porcupine quill go from the porcupine’s protective shield to art?
It is a long Indigenous tradition to use all the gifts of the animals, to eat, keep you warm and even make beautiful treasures to wear and trade with friends. To begin any porcupine quill designs, quills are collected. This intales throwing a blanket over the porcupine, in which your porcupine friend will most likely feel stressed and put up his shield, his quills. The blanket will catch some quills and this was traditionally done by women. Men also hunted porcupines and then prepared the animal and quills for the next process. The quills would be boiled and then dyed bright colors, before being dried. Many different plants can be used as dye.
There are three basic types of techniques that are used in creating quill work. For fringes and jewelry, quills are softened and flattened, traditionally with a teachnique using the mouth carefully to moisten the quill. They are then wound around strips of buckskin. In the stitching technique, quills are woven through flat fabrics. The third method, typically for men's objects like pipe stems and tampers, is to braid the quills.
Quills are used in regalia, jewerly and creating art.
Art was a part of the language of the culture as much as spoken words. Dance, song, beading, quilling, drum making… these cultural arts are a part of the people.
In a mutually respectful dance,
take only what you need and give the rest. Take care of the ones that take care of you.
The earth is a gift for those who see.