Friday, May 20, 2022

CLF 2022 Auction: Micmac Powder Horn by Kathy England and Quilled Strap by Christie Suchora


Engraved powder horns are perennial favorites of blackpowder devotees, and this year’s CLF Live Fundraising Auction is pleased to offer a stellar example by artists Kathy England and Christie Suchora.

England’s powder horn will be an excellent addition to any collection. The horn is adorned with intricate geometric and floral designs characteristic of the Micmac tribe of the northeast woodlands. England found her inspiration for this piece from an original horn found in the book The Engraved Powder Horn by Jim Dresslar.

England’s eye-catching version of the Micmac horn sports a base lobe that accommodates the strap, as well as a poplar base plug and stopper. The aged body of the horn is nicely contrasted with an elegantly faceted neck, which was dyed to a rich dark brown. The horn was finished with a protective coat of Dragon wax. 

 Christie Suchora’s complementary strap is a fine example of historic research paired with artistic creativity. Suchora points out that there are no known surviving examples of Micmac embroidered quillwork, so she drew her inspiration from tribal designs found on Micmac birchbark baskets and decorative panels. “The double curve motif,” she says, “is quite prevalent, as well as the stylized floral design and is similar to other quillwork from the Great Lakes region.”

The body of the strap is made from brain-tanned deerskin. Suchora prepares her own dye baths, and the quills were dyed with madder root, Osage orange sawdust, and indigo. The edge of the strap is also bound with a custom-dyed silk ribbon, and the strap is further decorated with traditional red-dyed deer hair tufts affixed to brass cones. The back of the strap is lined with a vintage remainder Waverly cotton chintz. 

Suchora has been practicing quillwork since the 1980’s and specializes in recreating works from the 18th century Great Lakes region as well as a few stylized contemporary works. England points out that she’s been engraving powder horns for roughly forty years but “this is the first horn I’ve ever built myself.” 

England explains that “I was invited to participate with a number of other women artists of the CLA to highlight women’s contributions to the art of the longrifle culture. Because it’s all about the work of women, I needed to build the horn myself. It’s something I’ve wanted to try for years and this project finally gave me the incentive I needed.” 

For more information on the work of the artists, contact:

Kathy England:

Christie Suchora:

Text by Joshua Shepherd with Photography by David Wright.

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