Want to know about Native American Miccosukee Art? Interested in learning about Miccosukee art works? Read our comprehensive overview of Miccosukee arts and crafts…
Native American Miccosukee art is characterized by colorful patchwork that adds an air of vibrancy to their creations. Bright colored cloth cut up in little pieces is a prominent feature on abstract as well as realistic Miccosukee art.
The Miccosukee is a Native American tribe that branched out of the Seminole Indians. In history they have dwelled in swampy lands and were renowned for the production of exotic leathers and the raising of exotic birds for the purpose of obtaining their feathers. Trading was the major economic activity upon which the society functioned.
With the invasion of the colonists however their culture and all the art that was part of it began to get threatened. A forced migration left them scavenging the lands looking for ways to sustain themselves. Now that they could not produce art work of the kind and in the numbers that they used to, they did not have enough items to continue trading.
Miccosukee Patchwork in the 1900s
The introduction of the sewing machine at the hands of a trader in the early 1900s triggered a revolution amongst the Miccosukee people. The year old culture of producing patchwork painstakingly by hand was now transformed into a mechanical process as the sewing machine came into play. The result of this was that the variety of patterns and colors became far more extensive and the time taken to produce each piece was dramatically cut down. While the artists cherished the machine visitors to the lands continued to be intrigued by the impressive patchwork. Trading once again began to flourish.
With fairly limited resources the women of the Miccosukee tribe had to work very hard to produce their art work. They were used to this kind of hard work as they were tasked with the responsibility to weave their tribe’s clothing by hand. For them it was a matter of great joy and pride to make attractive and decorative clothing.
The sewing machine allowed the women to develop far more complex patterns with intricate design work. The number of patches used in each work of art also increased and the over all aesthetic value of the art form was also enhanced by the process.
Popular Miccosukee Art Forms
However patchwork is not the only work of art that the Miccosukee tribe was known for. They were also known to be masters at beadworks. They would particularly design heavy strands of beads meticulously cut from shells that were abundantly found in the area. This was one of the most highly desired tourist items developed by the Miccosukee.
The shells were also used to carve out jewelry by the women and these too gained considerable popularity. Tourists were so intrigued by the art work of the Miccosukee people that they would pay to purchase clothing off the back of a tribe member. Other prominent art work from the tribe includes cornhusk dolls, handbags and other clothing accessories.