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Porcupine Quillwork

  • Severson Dells Nature Center 8786 Montague Road Rockford, IL 61102 (map)

Before the advent of Europeans, many of the indigenous people of North America used the quills of the porcupine to decorate their belongings.  In the Northeast, the quills were worked into birch bark, creating many decorative boxes and containers. Further westward, on the plains, where birch trees did not grow, dyed quills were “embroidered” onto leather to decorate clothing, horse gear, bags for pipes, sheaths for knives, and hair pieces.  Once Europeans arrived and offered beads in their trade goods, the use of quills rapidly faded – beads are so much easier to use! Today there are very few artists who still use the old methods to decorate bark or leather. Join us to learn the art of birch bark decoration and create a small medallion to take home.  If you have a small awl at home, please bring it with you. Feel free to bring a snack or lunch. Length of program depends on the pace of the participants, but we will conclude by 2pm at the latest.

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Earlier Event: October 17
Twilight Ramble at Severson Dells
Later Event: October 22
Conservation Crew Restoration Day