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MAZINAIGANPAGE8FALL2013QUILLWORKLacduFlambeauReservationWis.ReturningtothetraditionslanguageandartworkthathavealwaysbelongedtotheLacduFlambeauLdFpeopleisapassionforBiskakonealsoknownasGregJohnsonanLdFmember.Knownforhisbrilliantbeadworkandtraditionalsplit-toemoccasinsconstructedfrombrain-tanneddeerhidesandvelvetBiskakonestalentshaveexpandedtoincludebirchbarketchingandquillworkanartformthatpredatesEuropeanarrival.WhatIdoIdontownitbelongstotheOjibwepeopleitsnotmineheexplains.Sittingataworktableclutteredwithtoolsandmaterialshedeftlyscratchesapatternofabirdontoaflattenedpieceofbirchbarkusingamagoosawlinordertodemonstratequillwork.Biskakoneonlyrecentlybeganworkingwithquillshavingtrieditbrieflysometenyearsago.HisinterestwasrenewedbyavisitingfriendFrankYoungPotawatomiwhosharedwithhimquillwrappingtechniques.WhilestillnewtoquillworkBiskakoneagreedtosharesomequillworkbasicsalsoacknowledg-ingmastersoftheartlikeFondduLacsJeffSavageandCassLakesMelLoshwhosetalentswithquillsarewellknown.Sotobeginyoumustobtainquillsusuallyretrievedfromaroad-killedgaagporcupine.Thosequillsneedtobewashedandcleaned.Ifcolorsaredesiredthequillsneedtobeboiledanddyed.TraditionallydyesweretakenfromplantssuchasbloodrootorsprucerootalongprocessBiskakoneexplainsbutheusescom-mercialdyes.Dyedquillscanalsobepurchased.Oncedyedanddriedthequillsaresortedbysizelongonesshortonesfatonesskinnyones.Biggerquillsareusedasspacefillershesayswiththesmallerquillsusedtomakefinerdesigns.ToquillonbirchbarkyoualsoneedbarksummerbirchbarkgenerallyharvestedJunethroughAugustwhenitpopseasilyfromthetree.WhilemanyquillbasketsaretinyBiskakonechosetouseaFlambeau-styleberrybasketforhisquillworksoneededalargerpieceofbark.Nextthedesignmustbeetchedintothebarkusingthemagoos.Smallholesarepuncturedverticallyoppositeeachotherontheetcheddesign.Thequillsareflattenedtheninsertedintotheholesandpulledflatuntiltheentiredesignisfilled.Thebasketisthenlinedoftenwithanotherpieceofbirchbarkpressedfirmlyagainstthebacksideofthedecoratedfrontholdingthequillssecurelyinplace.ForhispartBiskakonedecidedtolinehisbasketswithanicecalicofabric.MuchofwhatBiskakaonecreatesreliesontraditionalharvestingskillsincludinghuntingandgatheringknowledgeoftheplantsandanimalsandwhenandhowtousewhattheyoffer.Itiswithgreatrespectandthanksgivingthatheharvestswhatheneedsbeitadeerforthehideandmeatorgiftsfromtheplants.MuchofthisknowledgeheshareswithyouthastheLanguageandCulturalArtsInstructorattheLacduFlambeauPublicSchool.Biskakonesnextbigprojectisconstructinghisownwiigwaasi-jiimaanbirchbarkcanoe.Findingalargeenoughtreewasachallengeinitself.Healreadyharvestedalargepieceofthickerwinterbarkfortheprojectandhaspreparedatemplateonaworkingbenchinhisbasement.Anxioustogetstartedontheprojectheenvisionsafinishedjiimaanrepletewithbeautifulvine-likeetchingsfrombowtostern.Thisisgoingtobemycanoe.Itwontbeforsale.Thisonewillbeminehesays.VisitBiskakoneGregJohnsononFacebookorwww.biskakone.com.NativeartistworkswithtraditionalartformsOjibwequillworkandetchingpredatebeadsBySueEricksonStaffWriterOff-reservationgatheringThroughanagreementbetweenparticipatingGLIFWCmemberbandsBadRiverBayMillsKeweenawBayLacduFlambeauLacVieuxDesertMilleLacsRedCliffandSokaogonMoleLakeandtheEasternRegionoftheU.S.ForestServicemembersoftheparticipatingBandsexercisingtheirtreatyrightsmaygathernon-timberforestproductsfromtheChequamegon-NicoletOttawaHiawathaandHuron-ManisteeNationalForestsaswellasthefollowingstatepropertiesinWisconsinBigBayStateParkBruleRiverStateForestCopperFallsStateParkCrexMeadowWildlifeAreaEddyCreekFisheryAreaFlambeauRiverStateForestGovernorKnowlesStateForestNorthernHighlandsAmericanLegionStateForestPowellMarshWildlifeAreaWillowFlowageScenicWatersForoff-reservationgatheringyoumust1.BeamemberofabandthathasratifiedtheTribalUSFSMOUAgreement2.ObtainatribalgatheringpermitthroughyourtribalregistrationstationorGLIFWC.OjibweartistBiskakoneJohnsonwithapairofhispointedtoemoccasins.AmanforallseasonsBiskakonefollowsthetraditionalOjibweharvestseasonsmakinguseofthemanygiftsfromnaturethroughouttheyear.Hisartworkstemsfromthelifeofahunter-gatherer.PhotosubmittedOneofBiskakonesbirchbarkbasketswithquillworkinprocess.BiskakonefollowsLacduFlambeautraditionsusingaberrybasketpatternfamiliartothetriberatherthanasmallroundbasketoftenseendecoratedwithquills.PhotobyBiskakoneAfavoriteformofartforBiskakoneisetchingbirchbarkanarthealsosharesattheLacduFlambeauPublicSchoolwhereheteachesOjibweartandculture.PhotobyBiskakone