The Birth of a Turtle

Turtle Sketches

It’s time to get back to quillworking. May 3 and 4 the Museum of Indian Culture will host the first of its three annual powwows, the Spring Planting Corn Festival. For the past several years I have demonstrated porcupine quillwork at the powwow. The next week will be dedicated to whipping up last minute things for my booth.

One of the volunteers last year requested I make a turtle hair tie. Above are the sketches for different ideas. The frist layer of shell is done in porcupine quills dyed yellow using a line technique. Around that I straight stitched quills dyed black.

Turtle shell 1 TurtleShell2 Turtle 3

Can you see the turtle emerging? Next I’ll outline the shell and add his legs, head and tail in red and white. Red, white, black and yellow tend to be very traditional colors among several different Native American Indian nations. That’s going to be new colors and different stitch, so I need to sleep on it first.

My original plan for the turtle didn’t work out. I tried a complicated technique called a multiquill plait, thinking I could use a several dyed quills and end up with a woven round shape.

MultiQuill Plait1 MultiQuill Plait2 MultiQuill Plait

It didn’t pan out, but I ended up with this neat flower shape. So I’ll add a stem and some other embellishments and maybe turn it into a pendant.

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