At one time Kenny Agnew expressed his artistry by creating exquisite custom hand-made knives. Today he is applying that same attention to detail, the same skill and detailed inspiration to the creation of Native American style war shirts.
Working approximately six hours a day in his workshop, and working for up to seventy hours on each shirt, Agnew uses a variety of traditional materials to create his authentic look:
The "Four Winds" war shirt was created using six deer hides dyed with natural dyes. A friend of Agnew beaded the elaborate strips of beads which incorporate a Four Winds design; the four strips utilize a total of 61,000 beads.
The Breast Plate is made of hare bone that has been stained. [Note: When the English discovered that Native Americans used eagle leg bone for this purpose, they brought over hare bone as a trade item.]
The hair ties are made of horse hair. [Originally, the ties would have been human hair often from enemies either killed or captured.]
The necklace would traditionally have been made of trade beads. These multi-colored beads are African trade beads: The red and white are called skunk beads; the blue and white are fashioned after millifiores, the striped are chevrons. With replica grizzly bear claws.
The feathers are turkey feathers painted to appear as eagle wing feathers which would traditionally have been used. The large buttons are of shell.
The "medicine pouch", traditionally, may have contained the "Three Sisters": bean, corn ,and squash.