Published On: Fri, Feb 27th, 2015

Museum offering workshops on feather capes, traditional fabric twining

 

 

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian will offer three workshops on March 12, 13, and 14 at the Museum, on making feather capes, twining, and recreating an ancient Cherokee skirt.  Each workshop is limited to ten participants and each workshop costs $25.  The instructor will be Deborah Harding from the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh.  Harding has collaborated with the Museum on the feather capes, fingerweaving, and fabric for the past ten years.  Sign up by contacting the Museum Store at 497-3481 x2, or come into the Store.

The workshop on Thursday, March 12 “Feather Capes” will be from 9am – 4pm.  Participants will learn how to sort feathers and attach them to a netted base. Participants can purchase a netted base for the cape for $50 at the time of the workshop.  Bring scissors, artificial sinew, a quilting needle, and your feathers.  Purchase goose satinette feathers in any color from www.smileyme.com.  About one-half pound of feathers makes a cape. Finishing the cape will require additional hours at home.  Traditional colors were those of native songbirds.

Kara Martin, an EBCI tribal member, models a traditional Cherokee feather cape and twined skirt that she wore at the 2014 Miss Indian World pageant.   (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather)

Kara Martin, an EBCI tribal member, models a traditional Cherokee feather cape and twined skirt that she wore at the 2014 Miss Indian World pageant. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather)

The workshop on Friday, March 13 will be “Introduction to Twining,” from 9am – 4pm.  Participants will learn how to “twine” which is the ancient, traditional Cherokee form of weaving.  Participants will make a small bag in the traditional style by twining a rectangle of fabric and sewing edges together to make a bag.  Bring scissors or a knife.  If you have never done twining, you will need to attend this workshop before starting to make a skirt in the Saturday workshop.

The workshop on Saturday, March 14 will be “Making a Cherokee Twined Skirt,” from 9am – 4pm.  Participants will learn how to make the traditional Cherokee twined skirt, which was a knee length wrap-around skirt.  Kara Martin wore a reproduction of this skirt in the Miss Indian World pageant in 2014. This skirt is based on an artifact found in East Tennessee in the original Cherokee territory, now in the collection of the Smithsonian.  If you have never done twining, please attend the Friday workshop first.

Bring the following:  the measurements of the person you are making the skirt for, around the hips and from waist to knee; a wooden dowel ¼ inch in diameter and 48” long; scissors; and the hemp yarn for the skirt.  You can order the yarn from www.hempbasics.com.  You will need Item #4403 three-strand natural yarn for the weft (threads that run horizontally) and Item #4406 six-strand natural yarn for the warp (threads that run vertically.)  You will also need a frame to construct your skirt in.  For the workshop this could be a portable clothes rack, but to finish the skirt at home you will need to make a frame the size that the finished skirt will be.  More information on making a frame will be included in the workshop.

In the workshop, you will start the most complicated part of the skirt, which is the tunnel for the drawstring.  The rest of the skirt involves simple twining and adding decorations, which you will complete at home.

In addition to the workshops, the Museum is sponsoring a panel discussion March 13 with Cecile Ganteaume from the National Museum of the American Indian and Penelope Drooker, an archaeologist who has studied Cherokee textiles including the twined skirt.

Participants must sign up in the Museum Store and pay the $25 fee to be registered for the workshops.  Size is limited to ten people for each workshop.  Info: Barbara Duncan 497-3481 ext. 306 or bduncan@cherokeemuseum.org
– Museum of the Cherokee Indian

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