David Louis - Dakota quillwork

Master: David Louis, Peever
Apprentice: Liz Anderson, Sissteon
Art Form: Dakota quillwork

David Louis grew up in a very traditional family on the Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota reservation and absorbed the stories of his parents about the importance o the old ways. He took up the mission of learning quillwork on his own about 30 years ago when he realized it was in danger of dying out. By studying museum collections and talking with elders, David gained a foundation for teaching himself the techniques of quillwork. Liz Anderson spent many years away from her home reservation, but she always kept up her skills in beadwork. Once she returned, her interest in learning and promoting the crafts and other traditions of the Dakota people blossomed. She learned the three basic techniques of working with quills from David—wrapping, plaiting and sewing—as well as how to clean and prepare them. She says she would love to be a full-time craftsperson, if she could find time away from managing the Dakota Nation Art and Gift Store, which she founded to provide an outlet for the many talented craftspeople on the reservation.

David Louis (man at left) with his apprentice Liz Anderson (woman at right) stadning side by side.
Master quill worker David Louis with his apprentice Liz Anderson.

5 quillwork bracelets (variety of colors) made by David Louis
Quillwork bracelets made by David Louis, featured in the Dakota Nation Art and Gift Store in Sisseton.