Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Porcupine Quill Fashion Shoes

I had dinner with my art-historian pal, Allan, last night and he told me about researching the use of porcupine quills in American Indian art. 
Googling around, I found the fabulous custom shoe work of contemporary Native fashion artist Jamie Okuma (her site).

She sells them, but this pair of her beaded and quilled shoes is actually in the Mia art museum near me:


Anonymous said...

WWell goodness me, incredible, wouldn't fancy wearing them. I hope the porcupines shed the quills naturally.

Frex said...

I found two ways people get quills---
from road kill, and:
"The majority of porcupines used are raised in captivity, the quills are harvested by throwing a towel over the porcupine, when the towel is removed any quills that stick to the towel are harvested for a wide variety of used. This procedure does no harm to the porcupine... "

But the leather for shoes, I'm afraid there's no way that got shed naturally...

Frex said...

P.S. More on porcupine quills from road kill:

"Porcupines are pigeon toed, somewhat slow and lumbering creatures and they do not move swiftly. They are easily captured by human hunters, and all too easily hit by vehicular traffic on the roads. Although some states restrict picking up animals killed on the road, this is the easiest way for a crafter to obtain the quills.

"The quills should be (carefully) pulled with bare hands. Leather or rubber gloves can be used but they tend to catch on the barbed quills. If pliers are used, the quills can be damaged resulting in problems later on trying to dye the quills. The quills come out more easily if a porcupine carcase is left on it's own for a couple of days (for a shorter time in sweltering heat)."

Bink said...

Love the info in your comments section about how quills are removed. Of course the towel method seems much preferable to the rot.