Institute for American Indian Studies opens new exhibit
The Institute for American Indian Studies opened a new exhibit on the artform of porcupine quillwork, which resembles delicate embroidery.
Porcupine quillwork is a distinctive Native American art form.
Once the quills were carefully removed from the porcupine they were sorted by size then made pliable by soaking. Dyed and flattened, woven, wrapped, tufted or stitched the humble porcupine quill became part of a work of art as well as a means of self-expression.
The quills are folded, twisted, wrapped, plaited and sewn using a wide range of techniques to embellish clothing, accessories and other items, such as bags, knife sheaths, baskets, wooden handles and pipe stems. Tribes frequently used this technique from New England to the Great Plains until European settlers arrived and glass beads were incorporated, according to the news release.
This exhibit features artifacts on loan to the museum from the Meg Buda Collection and has many Native American decorative and useful items that have been embellished with porcupine quill embroidery.
“This type of quillwork was most likely the first purely decorative art practiced by Native Americans,” according to the news release. “It is highly sought after by collectors, each piece representing hundreds of hours of work by the artist.”
The Institute for American Indian Studies is located on 38 Curtis Road and can be reached online or by calling 860-868-0518.