Linda Longtoe Sheehan's speciality is wampum. She is known affectionately as "Wampum Woman." She started making wampum belts over thirty years ago and passed her knowlege onto countless young people.
Linda makes wampum belts and jewelry from glass beads, mother of pearl and quahog. Her beadmaking starts with a quahog shell. She cuts it to size and shapes it. Then she weaves her wampum belts using braintanned leather that she makes herself.
Linda learned brain tanning from Mark Humpel, who hosts an annual braintanning weekend. In the winter Linda scrapes the deer hides; soaks them in the braintan solution; stretches and dries the hides; and works them until they are soft. Then she cuts it into long strips. Each hide takes about 50 hours.
She has done demonstrations at museums and historic sites throughout the Northeast and Mid-Altantic States. Her work was even requested by the Presidents protocal office.
I have been designing and making wampum belts, wrist bands, necklaces, bracelets and earrings for over 30 years;.
I work with real Quahog, glass and mother of pearl wampum beads. My work has been on display at the Institute for American Indian studies and at Johnson Hall (historic site).
During the winter months, I also make my own brain tan leather which I use for to weave my belts.
Although I specialize in wampum, I also do Traditional finger weaving, eastern center seam moccasins, Quillwork and I twine.