Category Archives: Fun

Quill Work

At last month’s Tecumseh Lodge meeting in Indy, Larry Kincer taught a class in quill work. I’ve wanted to give quill work a try, so I was glad to have the opportunity. Embroidery with porcupine quills is an old (17th century) method of native american clothing decoration. Dyed quills are wrapped or woven in patterns.

Quillwork, front side

Frontside of my quillwork practice piece.

We used pre-dyed quills Larry brought and worked on wrapping them in simple rows on strips cut from a plastic container. Thin strips of rawhide would be the preferred material once you get the hang of wrapping, but the plastic strips worked OK for practice. After clipping off the barb from the quill, the quill is softened either by soaking in water or holding it in your mouth. Next, the quill is flattened either by running it between your teeth or using the back of spoon or knife blade. The flattened quills are wrapped around the strip, once or twice depending on length. The end of each quill is bend over beginning of the next quill and the wrapping covers the ends so that they hold each other in place as you can see in the picture below.

Quillwork practice, back side

My practice quillwork piece, back side.

Handling the quills requires some care and a tolerance for occasionally being pricked by the sharp barbs. The barbs are shaped so that your own muscle motion pulls the barb deeper into your skin. Larry had a porcupine hide with him with the guard hair and quills still on. The hide is covered with quills! You can readily see why you would not want to go grabbing one of these animals bare handed!

Guardians of the Galaxy

I really enjoyed watching Guardians of the Galaxy this past weekend. What follows is not a review, per se, but more my thoughts on what made this movie entertaining for me. It includes spoilers, so if you have not seen the movie yet and want to avoid seeing a spoiler, stop reading now.

Spoiler Alert Warning Symbol

Spoiler Alert Warning

The first thing that comes to mind are the 80’s references. The movie makes good use of a collection of 70’s and 80’s music to set the mood, help define the character of Peter Quill and break the dramatic tension. Quill’s precious cassette tape Walkman is delightfully retro, forms a critical link to his mother and somehow fits right in. Having lived through that era and knowing the music made the movie connect with me. How he manages to have a pair of those foam-covered head phones with the foam still intact after all these years is beyond me.

The second thing is the connections to the rest of the Marvell universe. Sure, there’s the usual Stan Lee cameo. But we also see Thanos, tying us back to the scene at the end of the credits for “The Avengers”. And perhaps more importantly, the infinity stones are introduced, complete with a visual cue suggesting the glowing blue cube from the Captain American and Avengers university is an infinity stone itself. I like the way Marvell is making is harder to miss any of their movies by sprinkling links to the greater Marvell universe in them. Cleaver marketing guys.

Third, there’s the scene at the end of the credits with Howard to Duck. Wow! Howard the Duck was the first Marvell comic character to be turned into a feature film and it also almost drove it’s producer, George Lucas, into bankruptcy. And it’s an awful movie. Don’t watch it. Unless you like to laugh at b-grade Sci Fi.

Finally, the movie seemed to have this really nice balance of seriousness and humor. Not too dark, not too goofy. In short, fun. Just what a summer movie should be.

So pretty…

One of my long term projects moves forward… New (to me) bustles. Slowly pulling together the missing pieces of a new fancy dance outfit. Now I really need to work on my beaded harness set and a couple of large, beaded rosettes…