Lillian's offers traditional items by First Nation artists and features the hand-crafted quill boxes that have made us famous all over the continent of North America. Please call or email me with any inquiries you may have about the pieces we have to offer.

Group of Ojibwe quill boxes available at Lillian's Crafts in West Bay, Ontario, Canada. West Bay First Nation, also known as M'ichigeeng, is just minutes north of Mindemoya, west of Little Current, and east of Gore Bay on Manitoulin Island, 2nd largest freshwater island in the world.

I began making crafts with my mother-in-law and opened up Lillian's Crafts in my garage. It was so successful a venture that my husband and I closed our restaurant to focus on the crafts business. We regularly attend craft shows, exhibitions, and pow-wows, and were at the Big Spirit in the Sun Festival in Scottsdale, AZ last year.

This close-up photo of a quillbox shows the intricate weaving of the porcupine quills and sweetgrass binding.

Please click on it to see a large version of the photo.
This closeup photo of Lillian's Crafts quillboxes shows the intricate weaving of the porcupine quills and sweetgrass binding. Click here to see a full-sized photo.

The boxes are made from birch bark that has peeled on its own from trees and decorated with porcupine quills. Some of the boxes are completely covered with quills, while other artisans leave the smooth bark showing. The bigger boxes retain the rough bark.

The natural colour of the porcupine quills is white with a black tip, different colours being achieved with dye. They are trimmed with sweetgrass and completely lined inside with birch bark.

Originally, natives made bowls and baskets from birch bark to collect berries and for storage. They were left behind when the tribe moved on. They decorated the ones used for special occasions. It was a very eco-friendly system-- they ate the porcupines and decorated the boxes and baskets with the quills so nothing was wasted.

Today, porcupines are no longer used for food. Their quills are obtained by throwing a blanket over a porcupine-- the quills stick in the blanket, and the artist literally has a sheet of quills with which to work.

Ojibway Indians created this quill box, found at Lillian's in M'Chigeeng (Native American / Canadian for the town and reservation of West Bay on Manitoulin Island in Ontario, Canada).  Click here to see a full-sized photo. This quill box clearly shows the bark construction on the sides, as well as the delicate tint of the dyes used and traditional animal theme favoured by the Ojibwe.

Please click on it to view a full-sized photograph of this box.

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