Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Native Art

After showing you my button blanket, and explaining a little about the Order of the Arrow, I thought you might enjoy seeing a bit more quilt-related regalia.

This blue item is a "medicine pouch".
My owl and turtle make up the design and this is quilted without batting.

The silver ornaments commemorate the three stages of membership as I passed through Ordeal, Brotherhood and Vigil. Each bead added to the thong represents events such as fellowships, conclaves, NOAC (National OA Conference) and Jamborees.

As with all OA Lodges, we use Native American regalia for our ceremonies. For many years, our lodge had a hodge-podge of mixed regalia as members came and went from different parts of the States using different native traditions.

Finally, about six years ago, we decided to switch to something more Japanese (after all, we are in Japan) and began creating regalia based on Ainu traditions. With a number of workshops, we made perhaps six or so kimono with Ainu inspired designs. They have turned out more user-friendly. (After all, we are talking about teen-age youth). They fold up nicely for transport and storage and after years of dealing with feather headdresses worn in the rain or too near the fire, I am happy with lower maintenance and the one-size-fits-all aspects.

This short jacket is my own piece. I have been known to wear it for other than OA functions. The applique is in the Ainu style.

If you see something peeking on the inside, it is my owl.

The design is not Ainu but North Western. The Ainu use the owl in their designs as well.

I recently went to an exhibition of Ainu art that had many owl representations.

This is the front of the reverse side.

The applique is a native design from my own Ohio woodland tradition.

Here are a few pictures from around our house. The neighbor has this Pyracantha hanging in front. Won't the birds love that all winter!

In the late summer, a very colorful and spiky caterpillar attacked my Toad lilly. I thought I had seen the end of it for the year but it has bravely come back to hold it's place in my tiny garden.

About ten years ago, I rescued these plants from a lot where the house had been removed and it was about to be turned into an asphalt-covered parking lot. I remembered the plants having come up in the front edge every year. When I saw the machinery at work, I hurried home and got a bag and a trowel and dug up as many of the roots as I could locate. Some went home with my daughter and the rest found places around the garden edges. When I moved back to our little house, I divided the roots again and brought some with me to enjoy here. This is a plant that grows well in shade and these flowers beneath my dining room window will last to the end of December.


  1. I know so little about scouting and I find it fascinating to hear about your traditions. I was in the Brownies and Girl Scouts for just a couple of years. And my children didn't participate either. That means we missed out on a lot! blessings, marlene

  2. oh those flowers are just sooooo beautiful, good for you rescuing them!
    your jacket is wonderful, bet you had fun making it too!

  3. Julie, I look forward to your blog entries everytime as I know I will learn and see something new. Firstly let me say you take such wonderful photos. I love your Toad lily, the speckled colour just jumps out at you. Thank you for showing the wonderful jacket with the symbols on it. I will have to show this to my 11 year old daughter as she is having an "owl phase" at the moment and does a dance everytime she sees one. Your medicine pouch is beautiful and normally if I saw something like this I wouldn't know the meaning of the beads or the emblems.
    Please, please, please keep bringing us such lovely stories and wonderful photos.

  4. What an interesting post again Julie. I had no idea there was so much involved in scouting - having been a brownie and then a guide for only a few years and not in a very lively pack. What great stuff for young people to be part of these days as much as in the past. Love your toad lily, I lost mine a long time ago and it never reappeared sadly.

  5. Thanks for sharing about your traditions, such beautiful applique on your pieces! I read the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon and one of the characters is known for carrying her medicine pouch when she tends the sick. In it she has a feather and opal, among other things.

  6. Beautiful applique work, Julie! I love the way the owl peeks out. Is the owl mainly one piece with a few smaller pieces? I have a northwest pattern that is all one piece. It is a little overwhelming, but someday I want give it a try.
    I love the Toad Lily! It was worth saving! What a beauty!

  7. Your jacket is so gorgeous! And the toad lily! Nature is so wonderful.

  8. Love your jacket! Where did you get a pattern for the original jacket? That sounds like such a neat project!