An important work by Paul St John (registered Mohawk, his father's tribe & Passamaquoddy/Maliseet/MicMac - his mother's heritage). Here Paul has used two traditional techniques to decorate this oval birch bark box, porcupine quillwork and bark scraping (etching). The box lid features a quillwork rabbit smoking a pipe.
The trilobe pincushion and pillow are traditional shapes for Iroquois beadworkers. The American flag has been a beadwork design by Iroquois and many Plains tribes for about 150 years. There has been a book written about the use of American Flags as decoration for Indian art/craft. A short explanation - as tribes defended their homelands, they were defeated by the firepower of the cavalry.
This is a traditional bandolier bag made of vintage red old Hudson Bay blanket that had a black stripe - it is decorated with traditional Iroquois beadwork designs. The inside of the bag and strap are lined with red cotton material. Paul St John, Mohawk craftsman uses very early Iroquois beadwork designs on this piece.
Hummingbird hovers over a red flower with red hearts/double curves of porcupine quills on each corner of this birch bark and coiled sweetgrass envelope basket by Paul St John, Mohawk craftsman.
Paul St John has made a "Sarah Molasses" doll. Sarah was the daughter of famous (or infamous) Penobscot shaman Molly Molasses. Molly was born in 1775, in 1825 the portrait that appears here was done of her daughter, Sarah.
Neck knife: Bear and Wabanaki double curve motifs of porcupine quill on handmade birchbark sheath with skinning knife by Paul St John, Mohawk craftsman. This birch bark neck knife sheath has a large "cinnamon" bear at the top and Wabanaki double curve designs the front bottom.
This Plains Style Woman doll is wearing a traditional outfit featuring a red trade wool dress decorated with beaded ribbon trim and many cowrie shells which look like elk teeth. For the Crow tribe in the 1870-1900 era the elk tooth dress was the epitome of Crow status and style. (see an 1890 Crow elk tooth dress in photos below).
A stunningly realistic hummingbird of porcupine quill hovers above a purple blossom on this traditional round birch bark box. More purple flowers, connected by a vine with leaves grace the sides of the box. Paul St John, Mohawk craftsman uses variegated purple dyed porcupine quills for the flowers, and variegated green dyed quills for the leaves and vine.
The MicMac couple on the lid of this basket are dressed in typical clothing - 1750-1825 style. The woman is wearing a "peaked cap" which would have been trimmed with beaded designs and silk ribbon. She is caring a small ash basket. The man is wearing a toque, whe has a walking stick and is smoking a pipe.