Thursday, May 28, 2015

Quilts inspired by Native American history & tradition

Today we are showing some fabulous and intriguing  quilts inspired by Native Americans'  history and traditions. Native Americans are the "first peoples", or the indigenous tribes that already existed in North America when immigrants from other continents arrived. 

Battle of Greasy Grass by Patricia Heacox, Green Valley, Arizona

Patricia notes, " Lakota and Cheyenne Chiefs bravely led countering attacks on [U.S. Army General George Custer] and the 7th Cavalry. Centuries of Indian life patterns evaporated as ancestral land treaties were cancelled. Black Hills,  South Dakota gold mining brought railroads through Lakota holy land." The June 1876 Battle of Greasy Grass is also known as the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where Native Americans fought and temporarily won against  the attempts of the U.S. Army to resettle their tribes onto reservations.

Close up, Battle of Greasy Grass by Patricia Heacox

Patricia does a beautiful job of depicting these dignified and stately faces of the Lakota and Cheyenne tribes, who resided on the Great Plains, in what are now the states of South Dakota, Wyoming, and Nebraska. Patricia's techniques include inking, applique, thread-painting, and  embellishments. The maps and lettering are in calligraphy, with free motion edging.  The quilting pattern includes sacred symbols of the Lakota Sioux tribe.  The quilt was exhibited at the 2014 Road to California.

Cochise - Once They Were Like The Wind by Patricia Heacox, Arizona

Patricia states, "Most-feared Apache (who lived in what is now Arizona), Cochise, a resourceful complex man, left his indelible footprint. Courage, integrity, discipline, intelligence, and generosity earned adoration by "the People", and respect by non-natives. With the Dragoon Mountains at sunrise, Cochise stands in readiness."

Close up, Cochise by Patricia Heacox, Arizona

Patricia's techniques include inked face, hands, and words' raw-edge applique, thread work,  and free-motion work for outlining and quilting.  We really admire Patricia's work in paying tribute to this heroic leader of the native people of the Southwest. 

Close up, Cochise by Patricia Heacox

On this impressive quilt are samples of some of the wise sayings of Cochise. To make this outstanding original design, Patricia used Tsukineko inks, embellishments, hand-dyed fabric, and fifty different shades of threads. The quilting patterns are horses, geckos, horned toads, agaves, and a star pattern. This quilt was exhibited at the 2013 Houston International Quilt Festival.

Hopi Maiden, 65” x 65”, by Karen Watts, Mayhill, New Mexico

This quilt was designed for the Basket themed New Quilts from an Old Favorite context in 2012, and exhibited at the 2014 AQS Quilt Week in Phoenix, Arizona.

Close up, Hopi Maiden by Karen Watts , New Mexico

Karen's work in traditional southwest colors of blue and cinnamon red, is a tribute to the art of the  Hopi tribe of northern Arizona and New Mexico, which produces beautifully made baskets with precise, geometric designs.

Time to Catch a Dream by Claudia Pfeil,  Krefeld, Germany

Claudia explains, " It was about time : the whole lot !  Piecing, quilting, and embellishment. This quilt represents the Native American dream catcher (the circular designs with feathers hanging from them).  [It contains] the rich colors of nature and the relaxing muted colors, much like the sands of the desert."
Claudia's fascinating work won third place in the Innovative Quilts category at the Pacific International Quilt Festival and Best Embellished Surface ($1000 prize) at the 2014 Road to California.

Close up, Time to Catch a Dream by Claudia Pfeil

Claudia continues, "Not only do you see the pieced circle of the dream catcher with more pieced feathers and beads. But you also see the border with real feathers, beads, and jewels,  all the elements you would find in a dream catcher. The intricate quilting gives texture, reminiscent of designs found on Navajo weavings on blankets and rugs. The couching defines the intricate working of the dream catcher."

Close up (back of quilt) by Claudia Pfeil

Here's a close-up of the fantastic long-arm quilting, as shown on the quilt back. Claudia's original design  is hand and machine appliqued and machine pieced.

Image credits:  Photos were taken by Quilt Inspiration.


  1. Those aré just awesome.Great job done!

  2. An impressive collection on a worthy subject.

  3. Having used native art in quilts and wearables myself, I love these depictions.

  4. Patricia Heacox is currently having an exposition at the Rocky Mountain Quiltmuseum in Golden, Colorado. I went their last week. These 2 quilts are hanging there and many more. Beautiful work! Really worth wile going there.


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