HowWassWeeWampum

Wampum Jewelry and carvings from Donald Widdiss

48 Sales

HowWassWeeWampum

Wampum Jewelry and carvings from Donald Widdiss

48 Sales On Etsy since 2014

5 out of 5 stars
(18)

Announcement   Donald Widdiss, Aquinnah Wampanoag craftsman, offers original items inspired by The use of local materials and Wampanoag Tribal influences. These materials include Wampum shell (quahog fashioned into beads), bone, horn, stone, and wood.

ABOUT WAMPUM: There is much misinformation about wampum and the use of the term, which refers to the drilled circular disks and tubular council beads. Carved and shaped shell is not wampum, it is better described as quahog or whelk shell carving as a craft. The original use of the beads as ornamentation, tribute, indicator of respect or status, or mnemonic device (treaties or stories to accompany oral tradition) by tribes became supplanted by the use of the beads for trade, and in the later contact period as a substitute "currency" for transactions small and large between the natives and settlers. Wampum jewelry is intended to provide context as to traditional use of beads in the later trade period. The beads are intended to evoke a response, developing an understanding of how Native American bead makers and artisans might impart traditional values through this culturally significant craft. Without this understanding the beads have no value, meaningless in their context and execution.

Wampum beads, the tubular council bead and round bead, are from the quahog shell mercenaria mercenaria. The hard shell clam is found locally in Martha's Vineyard ponds and shoreline waters and gathered as needed for the craft and for chowder and stuffed "hogs". The beads and carved quahog shell ( fishhooks, turtles, fish and other natural and imagined forms) are unique and inspired by natural elements of tribal and Martha's Vineyard influences. These are fashioned into bracelets, necklaces, and pendants for casual or formal wear. The purple shell color is distinctive and emblematic of the Vineyard and Wampanoag culture.

The artist has been creating his locally inspired distinctive craft and carvings for over twenty years and has developed a national client base of people who appreciate the artistically unique offerings and original creations of the Artist.

The original design Carved Shell Pendants from native quahog shell are distinctive and exclusive to Donald Widdiss who produces them. Donald is a Certified Indian Artist (ref:Indian Arts And Crafts Act of 1990) and has been featured in publications such as Smithsonian American Indian Magazine; spring 2000 featured artist, articles in Martha's Vineyard Magazine, Island Arts, Aquinnah Cultural Center, Cape Cod Times, Indian Country Today, Martha's Vineyard Times and the Vineyard Gazette.

COMMISSIONS AND CUSTOM ORDERS

If you have a specific design or idea that can be executed in shell, bone, or stone you can can contact the artist through the ETSY site. The order is initiated by clicking on the custom request button, simple and straightforward. I will personally respond and begin the process. This is the best way to acquire a uniquely personal jewelry creation. I accept commissions on a year round basis and will work with the customer on an original concept or design.

If it can be imagined it can be done.

Announcement

Last updated on Mar 12, 2018

Donald Widdiss, Aquinnah Wampanoag craftsman, offers original items inspired by The use of local materials and Wampanoag Tribal influences. These materials include Wampum shell (quahog fashioned into beads), bone, horn, stone, and wood.

ABOUT WAMPUM: There is much misinformation about wampum and the use of the term, which refers to the drilled circular disks and tubular council beads. Carved and shaped shell is not wampum, it is better described as quahog or whelk shell carving as a craft. The original use of the beads as ornamentation, tribute, indicator of respect or status, or mnemonic device (treaties or stories to accompany oral tradition) by tribes became supplanted by the use of the beads for trade, and in the later contact period as a substitute "currency" for transactions small and large between the natives and settlers. Wampum jewelry is intended to provide context as to traditional use of beads in the later trade period. The beads are intended to evoke a response, developing an understanding of how Native American bead makers and artisans might impart traditional values through this culturally significant craft. Without this understanding the beads have no value, meaningless in their context and execution.

Wampum beads, the tubular council bead and round bead, are from the quahog shell mercenaria mercenaria. The hard shell clam is found locally in Martha's Vineyard ponds and shoreline waters and gathered as needed for the craft and for chowder and stuffed "hogs". The beads and carved quahog shell ( fishhooks, turtles, fish and other natural and imagined forms) are unique and inspired by natural elements of tribal and Martha's Vineyard influences. These are fashioned into bracelets, necklaces, and pendants for casual or formal wear. The purple shell color is distinctive and emblematic of the Vineyard and Wampanoag culture.

The artist has been creating his locally inspired distinctive craft and carvings for over twenty years and has developed a national client base of people who appreciate the artistically unique offerings and original creations of the Artist.

The original design Carved Shell Pendants from native quahog shell are distinctive and exclusive to Donald Widdiss who produces them. Donald is a Certified Indian Artist (ref:Indian Arts And Crafts Act of 1990) and has been featured in publications such as Smithsonian American Indian Magazine; spring 2000 featured artist, articles in Martha's Vineyard Magazine, Island Arts, Aquinnah Cultural Center, Cape Cod Times, Indian Country Today, Martha's Vineyard Times and the Vineyard Gazette.

COMMISSIONS AND CUSTOM ORDERS

If you have a specific design or idea that can be executed in shell, bone, or stone you can can contact the artist through the ETSY site. The order is initiated by clicking on the custom request button, simple and straightforward. I will personally respond and begin the process. This is the best way to acquire a uniquely personal jewelry creation. I accept commissions on a year round basis and will work with the customer on an original concept or design.

If it can be imagined it can be done.

Donald Widdiss

Contact shop owner

Donald Widdiss

Reviews

Average item review
5 out of 5 stars
(18)
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About

Wampum Jewelry. Native Aquinnah Wampanoag inspired crafts and jewelry offered by HowWassWeeWampum and Wampanoag artist Donald Widdiss

In the late 19th century Aquinnah (Gay Head) Wampanoag people created items for sale to the public and tourists as a way to take advantage of the lure of the Gay Head Cliffs and interest in the surviving culture of our people.

Tables were set up along the route that folks who traveled by car, steamship or horse drawn carriage had to take to get to the overlook that offered views of the spectacular multi-colored clay cliffs, an international destination for tourists in the summer. Wampanoag families would fashion items from the clay and shells and trade beads and each artist would take their turn watching the blanket covered tables. Selling the wares to supplement income derived from fishing the cold waters off-season or the farming that became prevalent after the contact period was an integral part of Wampanoag life.

HowWassWee Wampum continues the the artistic tradition with a virtual site that evokes the natural, traditional and cultural pull of Martha's Vineyard and particularly the specific lands of our Wampanoag homeland, Aquinnah. Howwasswee, a famiy surname, is historical, tribal, and from an honored matrilineal ancestor.

WHY WE DO THIS. The integral craft of wampum bead making and the carving of traditional forms in the quahog shell resource is an essential evolution of an ancient craft. An homage to artisans and tribal people who came before us is an integral part of Wampanoag motivation and dedication to the craft. Showing honor and respect to tribal tradition and the physical place where our people are from infuses the craft with authenticity and relevance. We are from this place, this is where we belong, with the ancestors looking on and providing the spiritual support for executing the essential craft of wampum beadmaking, and carving of traditional forms.

Donald Widdiss
Aquinnah Wampanoag Artist, somewhere in the ancestral homeland

Shop members

  • Donald Widdiss

    Owner, Creator

    Aquinnah Wampanoag artist and craftsman with more than twenty years specializing in wampum and quahog shell jewelry. Working with natural materials from the shores of Martha's Vineyard is the essence of the offerings on the Etsy site.

Shop policies

Last updated on September 29, 2015
I am a single source artist and hand craft each item sold in my Etsy store. This ensures that the creative process and artistic integrity are intact. Your purchase is a unique item and it is important that the buyer is confident in the sale of each item as advertised.

Accepted payment methods

  • Visa
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  • Ideal
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  • GiftcardAccepts Etsy Gift Cards and Etsy Credits
Payment
Buyers pay through Etsy at the time of purchase. This ensures that your order is on my workshop list for execution and shipping. I can expedite an order if notified of the need to do so. Extra shipping and handling charges may apply depending on the request.
Shipping
All items are shipped priority mail USPS unless other methods are indicated by the buyer. Lead time depends on the item and whether the specific item is in stock or needs to be made. I will let you know at the time of purchase when you should expect the purchase to be shipped.
Additional policies and FAQs
Custom orders can be initiated through this site by going to a listing and clicking on the custom order button. This notifies the artist that you wish to order your creation with special attention to individual details and special consideration as to the final product. The artist will contact you through the site and get specific information as to the type of jewelry and price. The only limit is your imagination.