Dress Series: Red Sleeve
Machine pieced, hand quilted
48 1/2" x 55 1/2”
Photo by Pearl Yee Wong, all rights reseved by the
Michigan State University Museum
Margaret Wood relates:
This quilt was inspired by a Kiowa woman's dress which was made c1860 and was decorated with elk's teeth. Only two teeth from an elk were suitable for decorative use and a dress covered with elk's teeth reflected a husband's hunting skills. Some men carved "teeth" from bone for their wives.
As manufactured cloth came available, women started substituting it for tanned hide but continued to use the same decorative accents. I used cowry shells in place of elk's teeth. Many early dresses were decorated with shells which were traded with Pacific Coast tribes before Anglos arrives.