Quill Embroidery


This week, while visiting the Smithsonian’s national museum of the American Indian, I came across some examples of embroidery using porcupine quills.

Quills are the oldest known form of Native American Embroidery, flourishing until the 18th century when glass beads became widely available through trade. Porcupine quills are folded twisted and wrapped to transform them into an embroidery material used for clothing, accessories, and other objects.

These pieces are unique examples of completely organic decorative objects, derived from animal materials. Unlike plastic or glass beads, with slick surfaces and bold colors, quill embroidery provides a more subtle beauty achieved through the soft color shifts of natural dye.

These works are featured as part of the exhibition, A Song for the Horse Nation, on view at the Museum of the American Indian in Washington D.C. on view through January  7, 2013.

One Comment

  1. This really answered my drawback, thanks

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