Porcupine quillwork is an art form completely unique to North America. Before the introduction of glass beads, quillwork was a major decorative element used by the peoples who resided in the porcupine's natural habitat, which included indigenous peoples of the Subarctic, Northeastern Woodlands, and Northern Plains. The use of quills in designs spans from Maine to Alaska.Quillworking tools were discovered in Alberta, Canada and date back to the 6th century CE
This art form is very much alive today and will continue to be taught, honored and preserved. Just like oral stories, the langauge, spoken in words, art, dance or song, are carried on through practice and sharing.
Tatanka Zi creates art infusing cultural arts, carrying on his mothers teachings and her mothers and on and on..
Delores Yellow Bull [Blue Legs} “Waluta Win”, a Lakota Quill Work Artisan, carried on the traditional art in her work and in sharing the art with her children and others. Delores was also a Wildland Fire Fighter, Organic Gardener, and loved horses. She was in a documentary video, “Quill Work” a lost Lakota Art. She was a Fancy Shawl Dancer and she had strong love and commitment to her family, and the Lakota People. Through her commitment for Lakota Spirituality, this was her foundation and her compassion. She would help with energy through the winter months; she always wanted to bring her family together. She was encouraging to the young to finish what they started.
Delores shared her love of Quill Work with her children. Her son Wendell “Peji” Yellow Bull creates his own unique pieces using traditional quilling techniques with metals and repurposed leather. From start to finish, each quill is dyed in the traditonal process and weaved by hand.
We carry on the culture of Lakota Quill Work through creating art and sharing the teachings with the youth.