Horse Hair Coiled Work

Horse hair coiled work is a decorative applied technique used by Athapaskan-speaking people and other Indian tribes who lived to the west of the Great Lakes of North America.

The horse hair was sold to them by the Hudson’s Bay Company. The coiled work consisted of winding dyed horse hair around a thick horse hair or a split bird quill (the latter was used in the northwest of the continent. Sometimes the entire coil was made from bird quill). The coils were sewn down to a ground material (often of leather) with a sinew thread or later a cotton thread.

Horse hair coils were frequently used to outline a pattern or motif. Coils were also used to decorate seams on leather items, particularly around the edge of the vamp of moccasins (the vamp was sometimes made from cloth). Frequently two or more coils of different colours were used, and laid adjacent to each other. Sometimes the colour of a particular coil was deliberately changed to give a chequered effect.

See also: bird quill coiled work

Sources: TURNER, Geoffrey (1955). Hair Embroidery in Siberia and North America, Occasional papers on Technology: 7. Oxford: Pitt Rivers Museum, University of Oxford, pp. 63-65.



Last modified on Tuesday, 24 January 2017 17:09