You Don’t Have to Be a Prickly Personality to Decorate with Porcupine Quills

In fact, I think you’d be fun! Do you know how many cool things you can do with porcupine quills? There’s so many! More than I thought there was. Here’s a look …

Did you know there are porcupine quill lamp shades? Yep. Like this one made by craftsmen in Cape Town, from Exports from Africa:

Porcupine Quill Lampshade from Exports from Africa

Doesn’t that make an interesting pattern on the wall too?

Beyond the shade, the base can be covered with porcupine quills. These are actually resin faux quills and the lamp is by Arteriors, at Clayton Gray Home:

Faux Resin Porcupine Quill Lamp Base by Arteriors

I am fine with idea of resin quills instead of real ones. Because I do wonder how quills are harvested. Apparently, porcupines shed their quills just like people shed hair. But to serve the market for quills, are people really hunting down all the naturally-shed ones as the only source? I doubt it.

Their patterns can make some cool mirrors. Like this one that Martyn Lawrence-Bullard chose for a bathroom in Cher’s Hollywood penthouse:

Porcupine Quill Mirror in Cher's Hollywood Penthouse

These two mirrors make expert use of the patterns on the quills to make new patterns. They were found in France and are available at Carl Moore Antiques:

Porcupine Quill Covered Mirrors via Carl Moore Antiques

These mirrors are pricey. And if they’re antiques, they’re in very short supply or even one-of-a-kind. But I bet you could do this yourself. Get bulk quills and cut them to size, piece and glue them to a frame. With some careful choices of quill patterns and placement of them – and probably a super-human amount of patience – you could even make a frame like Cher’s bathroom mirror.

There are many examples of round mirrors with the quills radiating out around them like a sunshine. Applewood Furniture + Design on Etsy makes several styles of mirrors like this with resin quills and hand-painted wood quills. Here’s a few so you can see the different effects the patterns make:

Resin Porcupine Quill Mirror by Applewood Furniture + Design

Hand Painted Wood Porcupine Quills Mirror by Applewood Furniture + Design

Someone on Pinterest described these mirrors as dangerous and glamorous all at once and I think they’re right!

But for protection, artists and manufacturers will often cut off or sand the sharp points, or cover them with beads or metal as a decorative element. Like the quills on this gourd art:

Gourd Art with Porcupine Quills and Pearls by Ron King

There are many styles of products made with real or faux porcupine quills. Here’s a modern iron tripod floor lamp, via Snob:

Iron Tripod Porcupine Quill Floor Lamp

And on the safari style end of the design spectrum, here’s a sconce from The Source Collection:

Porcupine Quill and Horn Sconce via The Source Collection

Porcupines live in many areas of the world. I found items made with quills from North America, Africa, India and Sri Lanka. There’s a lot of gorgeous antique boxes. Like this Anglo-Indian box from Ceylon, made in the 1880s, once available on One Kings Lane – for $1200!

Anglo-Indian Porcupine Quill Box via One Kings Lane

Can you imagine how beautiful our world could be, if containers like this were at The Container Store?

This set was sold by Bonhams at auction for $1000:

Anglo-Indian Porcupine Quill and Ebony Boxes via Bonhams

Even though I could not afford $1000 for a set of antique boxes, I like to study what really good things look like, so when looking for less pricey versions, you can find style that’s close to the best things.

You don’t have to make anything from the quills. They can look beautiful standing in a vase or other vessel. Here’s a beautiful show of porcupine quills on display from My Marrakesh:

Porcupine Quill Display from My Marrakesh Blog

Beyond decorating our homes, the quills can also be used in jewelry and clothing to adorn our bodies.

But before looking at those ideas, it’s only fair to learn a bit about the original wearer of these dangerous beauties – the porcupine. A baby porcupine is called a porcupette. How cute a name is that? And their quills are even soft so maybe you could sneak in some petting. But not for long. Their quills start to harden so the babies can protect themselves. Here’s an adorable baby at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo:

Baby Porcupine at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Porcupine Baby Porcupette at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

But before too long, the baby grows up into this, capable of defending itself against lions:

Adult Porcupine and Lion

… and leopards. According to the story at Africa Geographic, this leopard gave up after an hour:

Leopard and Porcupine Photo and Story by Craig Schaibman

You can find a lot of porcupine quill jewelry on Etsy. My preference is for the more minimal, architectural designs. Here’s a simple bar necklace made of an African porcupine quill, from ShopLikeForever on Etsy:

African Porcupine Quill Bar Necklace via ShopLikeForever on EtsyThe quills can be colored, to any color. I love the different shape and bold color of these earrings. By Kyyote at No3:

Hand Dyed Porcupine Quill Earrings by Kyyote

The quills are hollow so you can string them on metal or thread like this.

This is a creative and striking combo of the quills’ patterns mixed with beads. By Inuit artist Caroline Blechert and sold at Beyond Buckskin Boutique:

Porcupine Quill and Bead Earrings by Artist Caroline Blechert

The simple quill shape lends itself to so many different styles. It can even be elegant, like in these earrings by Lulu Frost:

Crystal and Quill Earrings by Lulu Frost

These porcupine quill ebony wood earrings by Brianna Kenyon, I love, really cool. They’re not on Etsy now, but here’s other jewelry by this artist:

Porcupine quill ebony wood earrings by Brianna Kenyon

Finally, I save one of my favorites for last. This is the funniest fascinator! Okay, “hat” in the U.S. but I think all us Americans learned what fascinators are when Fergie’s daughters wore the craziest fascinators to William and Catherine’s wedding last year! I found this hat on Pinterest and it’s not on Etsy anymore, but here’s a link to the seller, couture headware maker Angela Morano:

Porcupine Quill Fascinator Hat by Angela Morano

So would you have ever guessed there was so much that can be made with porcupine quills? Once in awhile I get obsessed with some obscure thing, and go on an adventure to find out more about it. I always learn something new.

Do you have comments? A question? I'm happy to help and give answers!