Beaded Pincushion

Beaded Pincushion - 2019.003.1

A flower-shaped pincushion in the style of Indigenous beadwork created for sale to tourists at Niagara Falls. Front is red velvet, reverse is light blue silk, and edging is white. Beadwork predominantly clear with white background behind each of six "petals" with circular bead design. Centre of each circle contains two velvet and two grey cylinder-shaped beads.

A six-lobed pin cushion with the words "From Niagara Falls" sewn in blue beads is typical of the kind of work that was sold to tourists near Niagara Falls from the mid-1800s to today. These old cushions had graphite inside to help sharpen needles that would be stuck into the red velvet part. Most often, they were simply placed into a Cabinet of Curiosities in a Victorian era parlor for viewing by visitors. Wealthy visitors were in the habit of collecting objects from what were considered "exotic" cultures from around the world and their parlors became mini museums. Sharing these collections with their visitors became a symbol of prestige and class.

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