More than meets the eye in this shell’s soft blue and ochre marbled surface; It holds messages greater than the constant whisper inside its body. The Indigenous people of Eastern Woodlands tribes polished pieces of knobbed whelk’s inner spiral to make beads called wampumpeag, or wampum. Before European contact, strings of wampum were used to tell stories, make exchanges, endow authority, establish peace between families, bestow obligations, and record the details of events. While wampum made from quahog clam shell represent war and suffering; wampum made from whelk stand for peace, friendship, and harmony.
Medium: Print of original work in colored pencil.