Collection Highlight

Quillwork by Melissa Peter-Paul

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Each section of an eight pointed star is made of red, yellow, orange and blue porcupine quills. Pink and white quills fill the remained of a circle on birchbark, within a woven exterior of sweetgrass.

Melissa Peter-Paul

Shining Star for Children, 2021
Collection of the Owens Art Gallery
Purchased with funds from the Blanche Peppard Art Acquisitions Fund

From Abegweit First Nation, located on Epekwitk (PEI), Melissa’s vibrant Mi’kmaw quillworks go beyond traditional utilitarian structures to explore conceptual artistic expression and complex geometric studies.

Growing up, Melissa was immersed in cultural teachings and was surrounded by a family of basket makers. She began her artistic expression at a young age, making regalia and beadwork, and is skilled in both traditional and contemporary styles. Melissa’s exposure to other Mi’kmaq artforms led her to quillwork, a traditional skill which her maternal grandfather’s ancestors excelled at. In 2015 Melissa was accepted into an apprenticeship with Mi’kmaq Quill Art. She is a member of the ‘The Quill Sisters’ a group of skilled Mi’kmaq women from Epekwitk working together to revitalize the traditional artform of porcupine quill work. Melissa is honoured to be passing the art on to her two sons and the broader community.

Within a circle of sweet grass, colourful porcupine quills are embedded in birchbark to make a geometric pattern. A prominent 'X' is made from grey and burgundy quills with a yellow star in the centre. Four pink rectangles are surrounded by blue quills with triangular motifs extending from their tops.

Msit No’kmaq, 2021
Collection of the Owens Art Gallery, Mount Allison University
Purchased with funds from the Blanche Peppard Art Acquisitions Fund