Yellowknife students learn Dene porcupine quillwork techniques

A group of Grade 8 girls at Range Lake North school in Yellowknife are learning how to make porcupine quill jewelry.

A group of Grade 8 girls at Range Lake North school in Yellowknife are learning how to make porcupine quill jewelry.

Artist Charissa Alain-Lily is teaching the girls the skill. Their teacher, Robyn Stewart, organized the course.

"I admired her artwork and thought that was something they would enjoy," Stewart said.

In regions with porcupines, quills were used for decorative work by First Nations before the introduction of beads.

Alain-Lily says thicker quills you can pass a needle through are better for jewelry, and the thinner ones "we're going to send . . . to the ladies who do birch bark baskets to dye them and do designs with them."

The artist will join the class for two more sessions so the students can finish their jewelry projects. 

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