collecting: quill embroidery baskets

i've seen these quillworked baskets throughout the years growing up here in canada, and recently had read an article on canadian house and home about collecting them.

quillwork (porcupine and bird) is generally identified with the mi'kmaq and ojibway of eastern canada. glass beads soon replaced the harder to use quills as a means of decoration when they were introduced into north america by the europeans as a trading item resulting in the craft of quilling becoming almost totally lost.

apparantly only a handful of canadian native women keep this unique craft alive which requires many hours to create. just the sweetgrass alone which is used for the rim is collected from late june to mid august and is then prepared for by blanching and drying. the birch bark collected in early spring requires precision and skill to strip the fresh bark and leaving the tree intact.

the baskets still being crafted today start as small as a 3 inch diameter box. older and antique boxes can be found at auctions and antique shops across the country. online link and resource:

Jan Halvarson

1 comment:

Ana said...

They are beautiful. I love them! Congratulations