What Kind of Crafts Do the Nez Perce Make?

The Nez Perce are Native Americans. Their craftwork includes quillwork, basket weaving and painting, according to Native Languages of the Americas. These crafts make use of the items that were readily available to the Nez Perce in the areas where they lived, now known as Idaho, Washington and Oregon.

The Nez Perce used the quills of porcupines to create many different designs. They used natural dyes to color the quills, often weaving them into leather to make designs for clothing or jewelry. Porcupine quillwork is almost a lost art. The quills are difficult to work, and leather embroidered with quills requires specialized care. Many tribes have substituted beadwork to provide the colors once provided by the naturally dyed quills.

The Nez Perce made baskets using natural materials in order to carry items. In the Pacific Northwest, Native Americans pounded splints cut from ash trees to weave baskets. If they did not have access to ash trees, they braided sweetgrass and used it in the weaving process.

Painting among Native Americans was far different from the style of Europeans. While Europeans created paintings on paper or canvas that made the artwork portable, the Nez Perce used painting to decorate their clothing, the outside of their homes or on the faces of cliffs. The Navajo of the Southwest were the only Native Americans who originally produced portable paintings, which were in the form of sand art.