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Corsage made of shells

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ddr-densho-2-4 (Legacy UID: denshopd-p2-00004)

Bain Collection

This corsage pin was made by a Japanese American in camp. The flower petals and leaves are made from various types of shells found at the camp. She used toothbrush bristles dipped in cornmeal for stamens and wound the stems by hand with fine green thread. Wire from screen windows was used to put the pin together. Tule Lake was drained in the early 1900s, and the camp was located on the old lake bed. As a result, shells were available for people to fashion into jewelry to sell to camp personnel. Shells were scarce and digging became competitive. To beat the rush of diggers, some people got up at sunrise and dug holes up to their waists in order to find the shells. Some had homemade wire sieves to sift the sand.

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Densho

Courtesy of the Bain Family Collection

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